On the Way…but first..

IMGP3752We are currently about 40 minutes out of Dubai, the first leg of our journey to Tanzania.  We have spent over 11 hours on this flight.  Just getting to Tanzania takes about 24 hours.  There is still a lot more travel to get to Kasulu, our final destination after we arrive.  But preparation for this trip began months before we packed our suitcases (or duffels) and headed for the airport.

As you might expect, we had to have passports in hand to even board our flight.  Different countries have different entrance requirements and Tanzania requires that you have a visa (not the credit card).  Although you can get a visa when you arrive in Tanzania, it is best to get it before you leave the U.S.  For us, because we are not traveling on a pre-arranged tour, we have to provide a letter of invitation from the Anglican Diocese we are working with, provide our planned itinerary and proof of financial resources.  All this along with our passports, additional passport pictures and a fee and sent to the Tanzanian Embassy in New York.  We usually pay an additional fee for quick processing and have our passports back in hand in just a few days.  This time, in the confusion of a holiday weekend and an unexpected mailing address, our passports were initially misplaced.  They were found and returned to us in good time, but the lesson here is to apply for our visas early enough to allow time for slip-ups.

Traveling to Tanzania also requires health preparations:  If you are entering the country from certain other countries, proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required.  Because water and food can be somewhat “iffy”, hepatitis and typhoid vaccinations are recommended.  Tanzania is also an area where malaria is endemic.   While a vaccination is in the works, it is still experimental, not available to the general public and not completely effective.  So you take pills.  Every day.  And the best pills (Malarone) are very expensive if your health insurance does not pay for them.  Bill has been going to Tanzania every year, so his vaccinations were pretty much up to date.  Cathy has not been there for 5 years, so she needed to get a couple of booster vaccinations.  Prescriptions filled, we are now ready to start packing for our trip.

We interrupt this blog entry to announce that we have arrived in Dubai, purchased one final Starbuck’s coffee (yes, there is Starbucks in Dubai) and are now waiting to board our next flight, which will take us to Dar es Salam, Tanzania.

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