We are in the middle of nowhere. I thought our other bus rides were crazy but our transport from Dodoma to Kondoa was unlike anything I have experienced. We boarded the bus and sat down. More people boarded, and then more and then more and more and more and just when I thought noone else could possibly fit they boarded one more. We sat squished like this for 2 hours. About half way through Zoe’s stomach was hurting and she had to go to the toilet REALLY badly so Moshi asked the bus driver, who was a friend of his, to stop the bus. Moshi and Zoe climbed out over the driver and got off in a small village to ask someone to use their squatter. Zoe was with Moshi and as they left the entire bus watched her go into the house. I sat at the front ready to hop off, which I knew it wouldn’t do, but just in case. She was happy when she got back on. We basically stopped the entire bus bus for Zoe.

The land is so dusty and it fills my pours, I always need a shower. We finally arrived in Kondoa and, as usual, the station was Chaos. We headed to our hotel for a much needed shower. After that Yasenta came by, another friend who works with Moshi, to take us around the town. It is predominately muslim here and the culture is so foreign that I can’t even begin to understand. Women wear the head covering (and less often a hijab) and you sometimes see girls as young as zoe with babies in their arms. These things I can’t allow myself to think too much about because they make me so angry.

We ended up at Moshi’s home and Yasenta and his wife made dinner for us. It was nice to see Moshi’s home and meet his 2 beautiful children and wife. The dinner was simple but good.

I have always been a very independent person and able to hold my own in most situations but here I feel a little lost, both culturally and physically. I don’t speak the language, everything is different and knowone really knows english and I am so remote. It’s the first time I have ever felt really dependant on someone to guide me through the day, even eating is confusing. The truth of the matter is that Zoe and I are both tired and living around poverty like this 24/7 is hard. Everyone needs something to survive and whatever you give will never be enough. I am missing home and friends and family and sipping beer over a long conversation that doesn’t involve money. I think when you are so poor money, which is the means for survival, is the only thing that you can think about.

Zoe is living an experience so bizarre and she is able to just watch and take it all in. Even when things happen, like at the market today when people kept trying to get us to spend money and unzip our backpacks, she understands that it’s about poverty. I think she has seen things that has shaken her world: poverty, school and the treatment of girls. I imagine at some point when she returns home she’ll have to sift through all of that. I have to say that Zoe is my favourite traveller, because we are able to laugh at ourselves and each other. She is a trooper and and hardly ever complains. Pretty amazing for a 15 year old!