Twins Travel #1

Our Adventures in Africa Part 1

Hey guys! 
Recently we visited Africa on a volunteering trip, and I really wanted to write about our experience because it was honestly incredible! I’m going to have a go at travel blogging for the first time and I hope you enjoying reading!

Rewind to six months ago and Ayesha and I realised we had absolutely no plans for summer. We decided to confront our bucket list and make something on that list become a reality. We decided to choose “Volunteering in Africa” and that same day we searched the internet for some projects. After some time we stumbled upon African Impact and their project in Moshi Tanzania. It sounded perfect and less than 24 hours later, the whole trip was booked!

Fast forward to the 19th June 2017 and our parents were waving us off from Heathrow Airport. I remember feeling pretty scared as it was the first time Ayesha and I were travelling alone and our first time ever visiting the continent of Africa. Not to mention our nurse had scared us with stories of rabies and hundreds of other diseases that I hadn’t heard of before… 

Over 12 hours later and we had landed in Kilimanjaro Airport- the tiniest and most unorganised airport I have ever encountered. Our first couple of hours in Moshi were not that great.. We had problems going through immigration, and we had one suitcase full of donations for the school we were volunteering in, and for some reason airport security wanted to confiscate it. It was so scary because airport security were shouting at us in Swahili and we had absolutely no idea what was going on. Much to our relief, Elieza, a worker at African Impact came to rescue us (thank you Elieza, we will never forget you)!

We were in Moshi for 2 weeks, so as much as I would love to tell you everything in detail, my blog post would be a mile long, so I’m going to cut it into Part 1 and Part 2. 

Today, I’m just going to focus on the actual volunteering side of our trip! One of the main reasons we picked the Moshi Project was because it enabled us to help every aspect of the community including children, adults and the elderly. We had a schedule every day (except for weekends which was our free time) and each day we participated in around 3 projects.

In the morning, Ayesha and I both taught English to adults in the community. Ayesha was in the foundation class where she covered topics such as shopping and the past tense, and I was in the intermediate class and covered topics such as road safety, types of illnesses and feminism. This project was particularly challenging because we were expected to plan our own lessons and lead the class basically right from the word go. Planning lessons was a stressful experience, but it made teaching all the more worthwhile as it was so rewarding witnessing improvements in the students with the tasks you had planned yourself. 
The second half of the morning, Ayesha and I were both in the nursery. This was probably one of our favourite projects because the children were absolutely adorable. They were always so smiley, and such a pleasure to teach and play with. I will never forget the memories of walking into the nursery and the children running up to me shouting “Teacher! Teacher!” It was my favourite part of the day and it will be a memory I will cherish forever. We sang songs with the children and taught them basic English as well as helping them with arts and crafts. Volunteering in the nursery was such an amazing experience, one that I will never forget. 

In the afternoon, Ayesha volunteered in either the Old People’s Home or on a project teaching children about health. In the Old People’s Home she would help with the gardening and generally keeping the elderly company by talking to them and playing games with them. I also went to the old people’s home once, and it was quite difficult because the conditions were not the ones we were used to. Nevertheless, the residents there were so lovely and they acted like a little community, it was adorable! During the health project, Ayesha took part in various activities teaching primary school children about food groups, the importance of daily activities such as washing hands and playing ball games and frisbee to promote the importance of sport. Ayesha loved this project because the children were always so welcoming and enthusiastic!

Finally, I spent my afternoon with the lovely girls from NAFGEM, which was a project that worked with girls who ran away from home due to female genital mutilation. This was probably my favourite programme because we focussed on teaching the girls about feminism. In a culture that wasn’t easy on women, we tried to encourage those girls to have goals for their lives. Even though the girls had been through so much, they were always so happy and we had the best time together. I remember the first time I went to this particular project, Mr Francis, the man who took in these girls, told us the girls’ story and how he came about to help them. I remember bursting into tears at his and the girls’ story as I was so overwhelmed with what he was telling me. 

There were many more projects that were available, but these were the ones that we participated in, and we honestly had the best time! The evenings and weekends did not consist of projects, and you will find out what we got up to in part 2! This was my first time trying to travel blog, so let me know if you guys have any tips and tricks for me!

Thank you for reading!

Stay beautiful,
Monisah xo

Where We’ve Been

Hi everyone,

As promised in our last post, we are writing to explain WHERE ON EARTH WE HAVE BEEN this past year or so.

Throwing back to August 2016 Results Day, we found out we both got into different universities. It was a huge shock. We had always planned to go to the same university, so in a heartbeat a couple of words had ruined our plans for the future. Adjusting to this new idea of living 111 miles apart took some time. We spent a couple of days shutting the doors on the outside world, trying to come to terms with this huge change in our lives.

I (Ayesha) got a place to do History and French at Exeter University, and Monisah got a place to do the same degree at Cardiff University. Although the universities are only 2 hours apart by car, it seemed like such a challenge as we had never spend more than 24 hours apart from each other before.

I am going to be completely honest and admit that it was very difficult at first. I missed Monisah more than anything and we spent most of our time on Skype or on FaceTime (we still do!). I was always used to making two cups of tea, or washing two sets of dishes so little daily tasks took some time to get used to.

However, now with the wonderful help of hindsight we can both see that this was a blessing in disguise! I now feel confident on my own, when previously I only ever felt confident with Monisah nearby. This was a decision we would never have voluntarily put our hearts through, but I'm glad we did decide to choose this path! Both our first years at university have been filled with exciting people and experiences and we wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

Going to the same university would probably have been easier for our hearts, but being apart has brought us closer and made us more sure of our plans for the future of living together, owning many cats and owning a mile long bookshelf! (Bonus if you know where I stole this line from hehe!!)

We have both decided to write more personal blog post in the future! I hope you enjoyed reading! What is the biggest challenge you have had to face this year?

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha xx

Just a little side note…. This blog post has been such a problem to upload!!! For some reason WordPress kept deleting my drafts so I'VE HAD TO REWRITE THIS POST ABOUT A MILLION TIMES. Pls WordPress sort yourself out!!!