Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Safari Njema

Yesterday Mike, Clint and I went on a safari.  In Swahili the word safari means "journey" and we had to go out of town to buy some sleeping mat for the men that are coming to town for the Leadership Study.

We left early and picked up Brother Msuya on the way.  Msuya knew where we could get these mat at a reasonable price (in town they were very expensive).  So with his local knowledge we were on our way.

Our destination was a village about 2 hours drive east of Arusha.  On the way we were able to show our guests a bit more of the country side here in Tanzania.  Our trip took us down Mount Meru, through the banana groves and coffee plantations to the flat volcanic plain between Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.  We then started ascending again as we climbed the foot hills of Africa's largest mountain and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.  Kilimanjaro was hiding this morning behind its veil of clouds, as it often does this time of year.

        Baoba Tree
As we left Kilimanjaro behind we started heading towards the Pare Mountains - a rugged volcanic range and quite beautiful.  The landscape is dry and arid and we started seeing the wonderful Baoba trees.  Msuya told us these trees are planted up-side-down! And with their bear branches this time of year it sure looks like it.  These trees look a lot like what we call Boab trees in Australia.  The MUST be the same tree!

Just a little further on and we came to the markets Msuya had told us about.  Now, when a white person - a Mazungu - comes along you can be sure the price will go up a lot. So we left Msuya to do the purchasing and Mike and I went looking at the rest of the market.

They sell all sorts of things there from fruits and vegetable to fish, both fresh and dried.  Mike and Clint were approached by an enterprising youngster to purchase a small fish for 100 Shillings - the brothers declined!
Anyone for fish?
After a while Msuya phoned me up and we joined him in the section of the market where they sold the mats, baskets and other woven goods.  He had managed to buy 3 mats - we needed 20!

He had met a man who told him he knew where he could get more at the next village down the road, so with this guy we jumped into the car once more and headed off.  I have to say there was a pronounced odour of fish that was now accompanying us!

The next village was not far down the road and our new friend told me to stop at the side of the road and he and Msuya disappeared.  So, there we were, Mike, Clint and myself sitting in the car in this village not knowing quite what was happening and if we were going to be able to get the sleeping mats we needed - after all 3 out of 20 is pretty awful!

These kids thought we we so funny!
While we were waiting there were a group of children that started to gather and they were fascinated in Clint.  He was making the laugh so much as we sat in the car.  When we called them over the dashed off in hysterics.

After a while the got really brave and came a little bit closer and were playing around us.  Clint had the bright idea of teaching them the song "Jesus Love You".  I had my swahili song book in the car so the 3 of us Mazugus entertained the kids with a couple of verses of this song in Swahili.  They thought this was wonderful - laughing at us and dancing too, what they obviously thought was a good rendition of the old song in their language.

After some time Msuya started arriving back with more mat.  First 4 more then they were able to locate more and more.  Finally they arrived with a large bundle of these mats and Msuya announce that we now had the all!  20 out of 20 is really great!  Just as we were about to put them in the back of the truck, Msuya noticed something in the middle of the rolled up mats.  There was as kitten hiding in there!  Lucky he saw it.  I sure would not want a cat in the car on our long trip back.

Brothers on a safari
So, now with our mission accomplished, all we had to do was head back home.  It was a great trip, very enjoyable - good friends and a lot of laughs. We stopped on the way hope and assessed our day with the help of a cold Coke and Clint entertained the people at the Cafe with his renditions of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Dr. Clint and Dr. Mike at rest

Msuya enjoying a rest

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