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As my flight left in the 20th in Eastern Standard Time, I began my journey in the summer.
Even though it has been 10 days, I can still remember the day when I left Claremont McKenna College (CMC). That day was indeed emotional, with all my friends leaving. I cannot believe how much I hate CMC now. The flight stopped by Swiss airport and had a layover of 21 hours. Although the layover was long, it was fun staying in the dayroom in Swiss airport. I literally spent the night looking at the planes moving in front of me.
I landed in Nairobi, Kenya in 22nd. In the next day, I went through the bus ride across the border. Even now I cannot believe I went through that bus ride. I had never gone into a country on bus, though with all the international travelling experience I have. One detail particularly strikes me. I was told to buy my visa at a bank right next door. When I looked around, I found the band was actually a car with two windows open. And it does not accept anything other than cash. To clarify, the banks in Tanzania are not like that. I mentioned for the purpose of showing the chaos in the border.
Immigration Center in the Border
However, the scenery on the road is simply unbelievale. The pictures are just not doing justice (I will share more when I come back).
Anyway, the bus ride officially ended in 3pm May 23rd (a time needs to be marked on) and thus started my work in Arusha, Tanzania. At the night, we went on and met all the teaching partners and volunteers. The next day, our entire team went on a waterfall hike as a team bonding exercise. I will share more about that experience later.
We then moved to Babati town near Arusha. In Babati, we went through a series of training in Swahili, HIV knowledge, and teaching etc. I was indeed very inspired by the training. A big emphasis in our training is the discussion around sex. As a Chinese, I was very inspired by it. Chinese cultures traditionally view sex as a taboo. I usually said, “Chinese don’t talk about sex and death.”Even though I stayed in U.S. for over a year, it really made me reflect back on Chinese culture.
The training in HIV/AIDS also breaks many of the stigmas I had. For example, HIV is the virus and AIDS are symptoms developed at the last stage of HIV transmission. I learned that there are only 3 ways HIV can transmit: mother to child, blood to blood, and sex. With correct knowledge on prevention, we can always reduce the rate of HIV transmission. Before I actually thought that if I use, say a towel, that is used by a HIV-positive person and have a cut on my hand, I am going to have HIV. HIV transmits when the five fluids (blood, cement, vaginal fluids, pre-ejaculation, and breastmilk) enters the four doors in our body (vagina, tip of the penis, anus, and opening wound) from an HIV-positive person to another HIV-negative person. And HIV transmits every time the fluids enter the doors. But rather a chance factor plays a role in it.