Tanzania Adventures

What may appear as clouds over a cornfield at first glance is actually the snow covered top of Mt Kilimanjaro, known as the roof top of Africa and touted as one of the world’s most accessible high summits. Most climbers can reach the crater rim with no more than proper clothing, walking sticks and more determination than we had.

We had only one day designated to mountain climbing and that could possibly get us to the first base camp, which sounded like enough climbing for me.  Here is where it all begins.

The first base camp is supposed to take you 3 hours to climb and 20 more minutes beyond that you would get your first look out onto the land below.  We didn’t get that far. Then you had a 2 and 1/2 hour hike down the same path you took up.

It starts out to be a walk in the park with a slight incline and a good path.  Trouble is, it gets steeper and rockier as you ascend to heights you may not be used to.

The walking sticks came in really handy to dig into the climbing and holding you back to keep your balance while coming down.

It was a lovely walk through tangled old trees and dripping rain forest.  I wanted so badly to take more pictures but unfortunately we were on a time schedule and so far Dick and I and our guide are way behind.

Mark and Ranee went on ahead with their guide.  They made it to the first base camp in a little more than 3 hours, but Ranee was spent and did not have the energy or desire to go 20 minutes more to see the sights below.

Dick and I climbed our little hearts out, passing the picnic area before lunch and made it to the sign that said one more hour to the first base camp.  We found a stump to rest on, and as I looked to the left and saw the degree of the rocky hill going up, I said “I’m done.”  Dick was done also and our guide, who had been behind Dick for the most of the climb, sat down beside me and said in a quiet voice,”His foot, no good.”  Indeed his foot is no good for climbing but he did a great job and was glad to be able to go as far as he did.  We headed back down to the picnic area, had 15 minutes for lunch, and continued on to the bottom.  All tolled, up and back, we traveled 6 and 1/2 miles in 6 hours. Our only wild life sightings were a couple of monkeys and a kangaroo mouse right in my path.  EEEKK!!!!!

Our next unique adventure was to visit a Masai community Lutheran Church on our last Sunday in Tanzania. We were greeted by many children singing and dancing as we got out of our cars.  The picture below is after the service where we formed a semi circle as we came out and shook hands all around.  Some of the offering items of corn, eggs, milk and flour were auctioned off and the money then went to the church and was counted toward the donors tithe.

The mountains in the background of the above picture are where the last of the Tanzanite gemstones are located.  The young American girls in the picture were visiting the Faraja School for Disabled Children the same time we were.  I will tell you more about them in next weeks blog.

The picture above is of the choir.  They led all of the singing and did a lot of dancing and shoulder movement to bounce their necklaces up and down in time to the music.  The sermon was translated for us but the liturgical portions of the service were done in Swahili.  I recognized the reciting of The Lord’s Prayer and the Nicene Creed by the rhythm of the words.  A wonderfully different worship experience.
Next we visited a Masia family homestead, where a man lived with his three wives and many, many children.  The wives each had a separate rondoval where they slept with their children.  The father had a larger square house, where I am assuming the wives came in turn to visit.  Not sure, we didn’t get into how all this culture works.  His cattle, sheep and goats were housed mostly on the outside of the compound along with his fields and gardens.  The ladies greeted us with song and dance and much welcoming and cheering, with the high pitched yodel sound, when we distributed our gifts of groceries and supplies to them.

When visitors come it is traditional to share a meal or if time is short, a drink before you leave.  We were prepared by bringing our own case of soda to share.  The children were served last, and the soda, being warm, tickled them with overflowing bubbles as they tried to drink from the bottles.

Here is a peak into the rondoval of the first wife.  The circular home is squared off on the inside to make sleep rooms for the family.  They sleep on animal skins and cook outside on a small charcoal stove made of bricks. They do have fires inside to keep warm at times.  July is their winter and it gets cool in the mornings and evenings.  Cool enough in those higher elevations, near Kilimanjara, to have a sweater on in the daytime.

It was a nice place to visit——–you know the rest.  See you next week.

If you enjoy looking at these blogs please join and/or leave a comment.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for improvement. Wanda

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