I’ve discovered that while I love traveling, sometimes all you need is some structure in your life. A routine, something that keeps you grounded and helps give you some stability. That’s what this Workaway experience has done for me. I wake up in the morning, do some exercise and then help prepare and clean up after breakfast for the guests. Then for the next 5 hours I have time for myself. I walk to the main road and back, a half hour trip that allows me to get out of the hostel so I don’t go crazy staying in one place. The walk is less peaceful than I hoped though, with every kid yelling out ‘hi’ and ‘how are you’ to me, excited that they can test their English out on a real Mzungu (what white people are called within Southern and Eastern Africa, unsure if it spreads further). I wave or say hi back and the kids explode, smiles erupting on their faces as they turn to their friends or family to share with them their excitement.
With the rest of my free time I’ve been researching, putting some more effort into my plans for South America; booking flights and setting the ideas in stone. By late afternoon I start working again, helping the chefs with what I can and serving evening snacks to the guests in the garden area outside before setting the table and joining them all for dinner. Washing up is my last and least enjoyed job of the day, making me miss the benefits of a dishwasher that I took for granted in Australia. When the job is done I head to bed and fall asleep to the sound of the cows, monkeys, dogs and who knows what else.
Despite the amount I’ve been fed through various meals – banana stew, banana soup, sweet desserts such as banana pie; banana fritters; and banana pan-cake (a cake cooked in a pan, not the type of pancake I was expecting) – I haven’t grown sick of bananas. I still eat them as my snacks throughout the day and when I go on day trips they’re the first thing I pack in my bag as sustenance.
I spent my days off with Sarah, Emily and Jordan who had arrived at the hostel early that week. On Wednesday we headed to Lake Duluti. It was quite beautiful, and very peaceful being located so far from the main road. It was nice to be somewhere so quiet in a city so busy, and nice for me to have a change of scenery with some new company.
We also had a day exploring the town and did the classic tourism experiences. The Shanga Foundation was our starting point, an organisation that employs disabled people to create various home decor items out of donated recycled materials. It was a beautiful place, decorated with their hand-made creations and I really enjoyed our visit.
The Cultural Heritage Museum was next and turned out to be more of a mass souvenir store than a museum which still provided some entertainment for us. Walking back to the centre of town we stopped on the side of the road for an egg and chips omelette, referred to as chips mayai and some ‘afcake’ – still unsure if this is the real name or the simple name they told us – which was a mix between mandazi and bread, but a bit more stale, and surprisingly delicious. The walk back ended at the centre of town for me, getting on a daladala to take me back to the hostel while the others went their separate ways.