A Travellerspoint blog

Just a little update...

View Where in the world is Ashley Churchill on AshleyC's travel map.

Hey guys. So far I've climbed Kilimanjaro, gone on safari, taught a girl to read (in a language that I don't exactly understand myself), took a weekend trip to Zanzibar, learned a tiny bit of swahili and thus far I've only had one really bad sunburn. So everything is going swimmingly.

Before coming to Tanzania, I didn't have any plans to go to South Africa. Its really far away and I thought I'd put it off until later. However, it turns out that I cannot get to Victoria Falls without a stop in SA. So it looks like I'm going there anyway. Should be awesome. I can't wait to start enjoying the perks of modernized life again; washer/dryers, decent coffee, air con. I can't wait. I'm really starting to feel Amish here in the African bush. I'll keep you all informed of my plans as I finalize them.

As an athiest, I never really do anything for easter. But this weekend we all went to our driver's house for lunch. He has an absolutely adorable family and the food was delish! Hasn't restored my faith in anything, but it was a nice afternoon out.

Peace out.


Posted by AshleyC 05:19 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

A weekend in Zanzibar

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So I just got back from my weekend away at the small island community of Zanzibar. I don't know how they get away with it to the point that they even bother at all, but people are constantly trying rip travellers off. We arrive at Mercury's, a tribute to Freddy Mercury in restaurant form, and they guy trys to charge me extra for my drink. One little slice of awesomeness is the drink itself. Its called the 'Toronto Tumbler'. How cool is that?

After our drinks, we all pile into the van and take off for our hotel. An hour and half later, we arrive. We literally spent more time in the van than on the plane. Then the hotel staff try to get us to pay them for our rooms that were already paid for. But we eventually smoothed things out.

Zanzibar is roughly 90% muslim. So it really isn't to any surprise that our hotel turned out to be muslim. You know what that means? NO BOOZE! But I survived, like I always do. The beach and the hotel were absolutely gorgeous.

Our first full day was mainly spent on the beach. After breifly walking in the Zanzibar Channel, I did not reapply sunblock fast enough and before I knew it, my little feet became a lovely shade of crimson.


The rest of the day was spent searching out any sliver of shade to keep my poor tootsies safe. But I was far from the worst of the burn victims. That award goes to Megan, with her full body burns. But everyone came back atleast a little peachy, so we weren't alone.

Next day, we went to the Island of Pemba to try our hands at snorkelling.

About to go snorkelling

After taking the usual precautionary Gravol, I jump on board the boat. Once we reach our desired spot, we all jump in. The waves were REALLY choppy. I really started to tire myself out just trying to stay close to the boat. After a while, I got back on board for a break. Not too much later, everyone else followed suit. And not too long after that, I was reminded of what I had for lunch...twice. I immediately went into the fetal position and stayed there until we were on dry land. And in this case, I wasn't alone either. All but one of us was sick. That is how choppy it was. Another huge annoyance was the jellyfish. Everyone was stung atleast once. But most of them were really small. So lucklily, none of us had to squat on another. Once on land again, I went straight to my room and hid under the covers for a good two hours.

We had dinner that night at Cinemon. A very posh seaside establishment catering to Russian mobsters, their trophy wives, and the ever so swanky backpackers. I had the pumpkin and feta salad . Seriously, I've never had so much pumpkin in my life since coming to Tanzania. And I don't see any pumpkin patches anywhere. I'm deffinately googling pumpkin recipes when I return home.

The next day we went on a spice tour, city tour, and I went on a monky tour. I really liked the spice tour. We saw various spices in their initial state. Didn't care for the city tour too much. The monkies were adorable, as they should be.


While I was checking out the monkies, the rest of the group were still in town. That is when the driver decides to drive away with all of their stuff in the van. They found him eventually. I'm not entirely clear on what went on with that.

Until next time...


Posted by AshleyC 04:14 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

One more person will read and write because of me!

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As many of you know, I'm currently teaching a special ed class in Moshi, Tanzania. And if you know me at all, you're probably just as shocked as I am that I was appointed such a postition. I have very limited experiece with children and NO experience with people with disabilities. The abilities of the students vary widely. Some have profound problems such as downs syndrome and some have more mild issues like ADD and dyslexia. One student was stood out to me was Bahati.

I'm not even sure why she is in this class. She's the one that has her assignment done before I'm finished passing them out. And she's the one that always has her hand up when I ask them a question. I thought there is no way she is being challenged enough in this school. So when I handed out today's assignment, I handed her a different one. I drew pictures of family members and animals and asked her to trace the corresponding word, and then write it again. Both in swahili and english. It was a bit tough for her at first, but she understood it after a while.

Its really and awesome feeling when you see the transformation you are making in another person's life. I don't feel the school is the best fit for her. She really should be in a regular primary school. She was a bit angry at me at first. This was all happening while the other kids were colouring. But I told her (in english, I'm only human people!) how well she was doing and how proud I am of her. I'm developing more worksheets for the coming weeks for her. She will be reading whole sentances by the time I'm done! Next, its spelling of numbers and verbs.

Bahati and I

Posted by AshleyC 04:07 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Walking on the wild side...

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So I got back from my safari a few days ago. The safari included tours of Lake Minyara, Ngorongoro (aka, 'The Crater'), and Tarangerie. So we left in the late after noon of Friday and arrived at Lake Minyara (including a pit stop at the Shoprite in Arusha and dropping by the camp site) in the late afternoon. We stopped off in Arusha for a few minutes to load up on your traditional car ride fare. I don't care too much for Arusha, too many tourists.


Upon arrival at Lake Minyara, my 'rechargable' batteries died. So no pictures from this particular park. We saw elephants, hippos, and girraffs a plenty. It was all pretty cool. After about three hours, we went back to the camp site for dinner. One staple for camping, as many of you are aware of, is s'mores. With that in mind, I purchased plenty of s'mores ingredients while in Arusha. So imagine my dissapointment when I arrive back at the site and there is no fire pit. GRRRRRRR. Did you know that people outside of North America have no clue of what they are? So our resident Australian is still in the dark about the marshmellowy goodness.
The safari was in a minibus over very rocky and windy roads, so its no surprise that a few people felt the effects of that. And as per usual, its the Canadian to the rescue with her Gravol.

Megan, Joe, John, Elise, Allen, and I at 'The Crater'

The next day, we took off in the early hours in the morning for The Crator in Ngorongoro. Basically, the whole park is this massive crator. There, we saw a mosaic zebras, wildebeasts, hipppos and ONE lion.


And the damn thing wouldn't even turn around for us. At one point, two wildebeasts starting fighting. By the time we all got our cameras out, they stopped. It was at this point that I yelled 'Are you going to take that from him?!?!' and he growls in reply. It is apparent that I speak fluent wildebeast. For when one of the others yelled something at him, he stayed in silence. I forget how high the crator is, but its deffinately at a high altitude, bring the temp down to the mid 20's. Which was kind of nice, it being 35*C every single day and all. One more thing that I didn't enjoy too much, but one of the other girls' found great fulfillment in, was squatting. We thought that they would have western toilets throughout. But when we arrive at our lunch site, it's not the case. I walk into the stall and see a commode similar to this....


Yeah, not fun. But you gotta do what you gotta do. So after lunch, we went in search for more animals. Wasn't as much as there were in the morning. Maybe the African wildlife are just early risers. So we head back to camp to enjoy another delicious meal prepared by our cook who is aptly named 'Goodluck'.

The next morning, we head off for our third and final national park of Tarangerie. The park was deffiantely more vibrant and pictureque than the previous two. I just wish I could say the same for the animals. We saw one Cheetah under a tree from a few kilometres away. And from that point on, it was pretty much all elephants.


Although, it was really cool when two elephants started sparring. You wouldn't beleive how loud it gets when they bang their tusks against each other! So at the end of the day, we pile back into the minibus and head back to our homebase. The ride was pretty uneventful. I fell asleep pretty quickly.


Peace out homies


Posted by AshleyC 03:05 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Just another day at the UN

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So we went to Arusha last week to sit in on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rewanda at the UN. It was actually really interesting. They are still trying the Rewanda genocides from 1994 and we 'saw' them question one person. Most of it was regaurding someone trying to coerce them into giving false testimony against someone by the name of Prosper Mugiraneza, who was arrested in 1999 for crimes against humanity. I have more experience with how 'judical' systems work than any civilian should. The person being questioned was coached to say exactly what her lawyers wanted to say. Its weird to see that kind of thing from the outside looking in. But going to the trials, it was sort of like witnessing history.

After the UN, we went to the Massai Market. I'm not a huge fan. People in Arusha are 10 times as agressive as the people in Moshi and the stuff is the same. There is tones of stuff I'd like to buy, but is too big to bring home. Who wouldn't want a life-size giraff statue? I would, but I doubt it will fit in my carry on.

On the weekend, I'll be visiting the bithplace of Freddie Mercury, Zanzibar.


Posted by AshleyC 04:16 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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