Arusha National Park & Mulala
Saturday morning, we headed to the Arusha National Park. It rained all morning, which sucked, but it cleared up a little bit when we got there for our walking safari – which turned out to be us climbing the base of Mount Meru. On the way to the mountain, we got super close to baboons, warthogs (ngiri), and a bunch of cape buffalo. We also saw giraffe poop, which our guide picked up like it was no big deal, as we all stared at him and watched him play with the turd. The view from the top of the mountain was mrembo! On the way down, we stopped by a waterfall and ran under it a couple of times. SO awesome. On the way to Mama Ana’s, our safari vehicle got stuck going up a super muddy hill. I think the whole village was outside helping us haha. It was exciting though and we got to hand out stickers and suckers to kids until we eventually made it up, with lots of man power. Mama Ana cooked us a delicious dinner and had a big camp fire. They had a toilet they made out of concrete, which was weird, but kind of cool (Kelly thought so). It also rained all night. I swear, that always happens when you go camping. For breakfast we had chai tea and mandazis. It was again, still rainy, but we went on a walk/hike to a viewpoint thing and around the village – although we couldn’t see anything from the viewpoint since it was so rainy. We learned a ton about how they use different plants and such. I smelled more plants today than I have in my life. We got to go see the secondary school, which was different. The classrooms had dirt floors and tons of scattered chairs, which outnumbered the desks. It was built on a hill so some classrooms were up on the hill and some were down below. It was a huge school because they only have one secondary school for all the villages around, as opposed to one primary for each village. We went back to Mama Ana’s, learned about making cheese, had a good lunch, I finally got to try ugali, got wrapped in kangas, and danced. Mama Ana’s husband and son showed us how they get honey from the no stinger bee hives in giant logs they hang around the outside of the house/yard. It was so cool and we got to try honey straight out of the log. For once, I wasn’t completely terrified of bees (who would have thought?) Why have I never heard of these no sting bees before? They looked like little flies. Then, we got to take the coffee beans they picked, pull off the shells, grind off the second shells with huge wood poles, roast the beans over a fire, grind the coffee with the wood poles, and they made the coffee over the fire! We will never have such fresh coffee again. I don’t even like black coffee, but this coffee was exquisite. I don’t think any coffee will ever compare. We also got to balance these big banana bushels on our head. That was pretty up there on my highlights of the day. It was deceivingly heavy. These women can carry so much on their heads without ever dropping anything, and they can even dance with it on their heads with no problem. Awesome.