This weekend was a busy and exhausting one. It never seemed like we were doing that much at the time we were doing it but when you look back we did a whole lot. We were only gone from 8 am on Saturday to 6 pm Sunday but we packed so much in it felt way longer.
We started our Saturday morning with a drive to Arusha National Park where we met with guides and did a walking safari. This was a very cool experience and being on foot makes every encounter that much more exciting and nerve-racking. We saw multiple giraffes extremely close to us right away. Then, we continued walking and saw buffalo, which we learned are extremely dangerous. They kill three park rangers a year. They were standing right in our path so our ranger, gun over shoulder, was throwing sticks at them from a distance to scare them off. We also saw baboons, hornbills, and Columbus monkeys, which are beautiful animals.
After that we drove a bit more and saw more giraffes and water barks. I had never heard of these animals but they are very different and unique looking, I liked them. We stopped and ate lunch at the top of a hill overlooking a lake, it was beautiful just like everything else in Africa.
Next, we continued on to Mama Anna’s. Mama Anna is part of Meru tribe and we got the amazing opportunity to stay the night in her yard and see some of the things she does and makes on her property. The ride to Mama Anna’s was nuts. The road was up hill and treacherous but our driver, Maluta, got us there safely. The six of us in my vehicle were cracking up and trying to keep from peeing our pants or losing our lunch from the extreme laughter. It was that type of laugh that happens when something is funny but also really scary. We were holding on, literally, for our lives. At one point I grabbed Emily P’s hand because I was terrified since we were slipping sideways going uphill with one set of tires in a trench. I thought for sure we were going to roll over. Then we happened upon a random gate on the side of the road and drove right in. Mama Anna is the kindest sweetest person anyone could imagine. Her and her family welcomed us with song and dance in the Meru language. Of course we all joined in and did our best to keep up.
That day we also learned how to make coffee from start to finish and participated in each step. We got to drink it when it was finished and it was so so delicious. We ate a meal cooked by Mama Anna and her family and retired to the campfire for the night. Earlier in the day our safari drivers and some of us helped pop about 15 small tents where we would stay the night. We just enjoyed each other’s company until we went to bed, which was early.
The next morning we were up before the sun on a mission to climb a hill to see the sun rise over Mt. Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the actual sunrise but the view of Kili was the best we’ve had so the climb, which was really hard, was worth it. The fact that 26 20ish year olds were up at 5 am and at the top of a large hill at 6 is quite impressive if you ask me. Today we also walked around the village, tasted fresh honey from a hive that we watched be opened, and tasted cheese made right there on the property. We ate lunch and said our goodbyes to Mama Anna and the family.
But the day wasn’t over yet. We had an hour or so break before we left to play soccer against our safari drivers and there friends. It was a true riot and amazing amounts of fun. We weren’t very good in comparison but we managed to score one goal fairly and one goal with all 24 of us on the field. So we’re called the game a tie 🙂
This weekend we had so much fun just spending more time with each other and I’ve realized how truly amazing this group of people is. I am sure as soon as I am home I will be missing everyone’s company. We’re one happy Wazungu family.
Hard to believe we only have 4 days left in Arusha. I’ll be doing everything possible to savor every single detail of it, especially my kiddos at school.