Believe it or not, I will be leaving for Tanzania in just 8 days. It’s kind of hard for me to believe I am about to embark on another exciting, life-changing adventure. I can hardly believe it myself. I just doesn’t quite feel real. I had to wait for such a long time just find out where I would be going and when I might leave, it still feels a little strange that the time has finally come. It’s about to get very real, though. I haven’t started packing yet, but I guess I will need to start very soon!
Last week, I received the last of my vaccinations–Yellow Fever, Hep A #2, and Polio booster. You don’t need the yellow fever vaccine to enter into Tanzania unless you are coming from a country in which it is endemic. Technically, I probably could have gotten by without it. However, if I leave TZ and go to Kenya for any reason, I wouldn’t be able to get back into the country without it. Some of you may be curious about the polio booster as well. Here in the US, we are vaccinated against polio as children, but we don’t get the booster because the US does not have polio anymore. Well, the immunity from the childhood vaccination is long gone, but polio is present in many parts of the developing world, including TZ. Since I will be there for an extended time and be working with locals, the PA suggested I go ahead and get the polio booster. I trust her judgement.
Tomorrow, I’ll start my anti-malarial medication. I will be taking it weekly–I start a week before I leave, the while time I am in TZ, and four weeks after I return. One of the possible side effects is nightmares. However, I have heard from multiple people they had a vivid dream life, not nightmares. So, I’m hoping for the vivid, technicolor option. I’ll be sure to let you know if I have any crazy (anti) malaria dreams!
I have a pretty crazy, non-stop schedule right up until I get on the plane. I’ve been helping my mom with some Girl Scout troops she has been visiting and doing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities with. Today is the last day with one of the troops of third and fourth graders. We’ll be making cars out of life savers, straws, paper cups, paper clips, tape, and paper. The girls won’t get any instructions other than they need to make a car. They will have to figure out how to put it together. Tomorrow night is an art show opening at Vanderbilt. If you are in Nashville and want to attend, let me know and I can send you the details. I’ve seen some of the pieces, and it should be pretty fabulous. Friday night is a concert at 12th and Porter with some of Nashville’s greatest–The Evinrudes, Sherry Cothran, Bulb, The Rosy Gears, and Max Perkins (woot woot!). It should be a great show. My youngest brother should be coming up to visit this weekend, as well. If not, I may need to make an impromptu drive to Georgia to see him one more time before I leave the country. If he does come to town, I’m sure we will have a family lunch or dinner with the entire clan. On Tuesday, I’ll head up to DC. I was able to get better flight options if I flew out of DC, and it costs the same to book a flight to DC and then the flight from DC to TZ. On Thursday, I will fly to TZ. I’ll arrive in Dar es Salaam on Friday, spend the night, and then drive to Dodoma (6-8 hr drive) on Saturday. While it won’t be the same as a long car ride in the US, I have many, many 13+ hr drives from Nashville to MD with a driver who would only stop for emergencies or gas. It will certainly be interesting, nonetheless!