The arrival time itself was quite ambiguous, but we ended up waiting around 4 hours until our train rolled in at around midnight. Not too bad given our expectations. After waiting for them to attach the car that contained our actual train cabin, we were finally settled in around 2am. The cabins had 6 fold-out padded benches for beds stacked in 2 columns 3-high. In between was a fold-down table and above was a good amount of storage space for luggage. Even though it was only four of us travelling, we bought out the whole cabin to ensure our privacy.
When we woke up the next morning, we were a good ways farther north into some much hotter weather, but there was plenty of breeze in the cabin - another major plus over the buses. We entertained ourselves by playing some card games, including the Ticket to Ride Card Game, which, being played while travelling on a train, could only be likened to playing Settlers of Catan on the Old Settler's Trail in the Smokey Mountains. At various stops along the way, children would come playing around the train tracks (right in line with typical Tanzanian children's standards of safety). We gave them paper cranes and airplanes made of colored post-it notes, which they got really excited for.
Since finishing our COS Conference, I have been staying in Dar for our Shika na Mikono (Hands-on Science Group) handover meeting to the new class of volunteers. We have been helping them to plan the upcoming trainings for the Education volunteers coming in July, as well as handing off all of our training resources and brainstorming new ideas for the future of the group. We are hoping to put more of an emphasis on science competitions along with doing more practice "practical" lab exams similar to those given for the national exams, to help the PCVs get a feel for what preparation duties they may have at their schools. Of course if I end up extending, I will still remain a part of the group and hopefully be able to help push the competitions and confereces aspect myself. Woo science!
I am now on my way back home, where I will be for one night before taking a handful of students to Wino (the nearby volunteer's school) for another mini science weekend. One of the original students that I took to Njombe in March came up to me and asked if we could do another competition there to get more students involved, so we will do that Saturday and Sunday. This time we may try out some new ideas like building gliders, paper helicopters and probably more JEOPARDY games. More on that to come!
Meanwhile, using the magical powers of Dar internet, I've been able to upload my video from the science weekend at my school in April. One of the teachers at my school was able to take some great video footage, which was a great help in putting this together. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt-ZGmLOfKQ&feature=youtu.be