On Saturday we left for Mt. Kilimanjaro to do a weekend tour. We were driving to the mountain and on the way we stopped on the side of the road for a picture. We could see the mountain peaking through the clouds and it was so big! It looked almost fake in the clouds but it was just so cool. Then we reached the entrance gate to the park where we got out and we were able to walk around. We didn’t know that we weren’t hiking because there was a miscommunication with the tour guides and our teacher. It was still cool to see where you start hiking on the mountain, but I was really looking forward to hiking. We stayed there for only a short time and then we headed to see a Chagga hut. The Chagga hut was really cool; it was made out of grass. This was the first Chagga hut built in the 17th century. We were able to go inside and see what it looked like. It was really small inside because there was a cow, a calf, a cooking area, and 2 sleeping areas. I can’t believe that there was a whole family that lived in such a little space. As we were all waiting to go inside the hut, a lot of kids came around us to take pictures! They loved using our cameras and taking pictures of us and themselves!! Following our little hike to the Chagga hut, we went to the first Roman Catholic Church that was built in the Kilimanjaro area. It was a beautiful church on the outside and more beautiful on the inside. It had huge ceilings, stained glass windows, a balcony, and different worship corners. The funny part about the church was that there were 2 weddings going on! It was like we were crashing a wedding because we walked right in and were able to take pictures! There were a lot of beautiful gowns and people taking pictures of us! Right outside of the church, there is a few coffee plants that were the first ones around that area. We were able to try the coffee…YUM! I really enjoyed it. After that, we went to our hotel and relaxed for the night.

On Sunday, we had a 3 hour hike ahead of us! First, we hiked to another view point to see the mountain. I got really beautiful pictures of it because the sky was so clear! We then hiked through banana tree fields to see the grave of the first man who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and his two wives. It was really interesting to hear his story. He lived until he was 126 years old. He climbed the mountain over 100 times. This man did his last climb when he was in his upper 70’s. This man was so inspirational to many and I am definitely jealous of how many times he has climbed it! After this, we hiked to the Marangu Falls Kinukamori which was a beautiful waterfall. There was a huge statue of a woman at the top of the waterfall and the waterfall is named after her. The story behind this woman is that she was pregnant before marriage and in the Chagga tribe, that is something you will get killed for. So this woman went to the waterfall to commit suicide. She didn’t end up doing it but as she was talking back to her tribe to ask for forgiveness, a leopard was running after her and she fell down the waterfall. We were able to walk down to the waterfall and go swimming in our clothes! It was super cold but we did it. It was my first time ever swimming in a waterfall and it was just so much fun! After this we then headed for the blacksmith. This was really awesome because they were making heads of weapons. We were able to keep the fire going by pumping bags with our hands to push air into the fire. After doing this we were able to purchase some items that were made from these men. We then walked a little way to another Chagga hut that was an underground tunnel. It was so cool because we were able to go inside the cave and crawl a little ways. It was moist and I got mud all over my back because I was way too tall for this cave! The guide that took us down there said that 60+ people could live down there at a time. The Chagga used these caves to hide from the Maasai. There were wars between these two tribes a long time ago and that is why these caves came in handy. We then headed for lunch and to try banana beer. It was a traditional African lunch, which was so good! The banana beer was not that good; it was really grainy and bitter. But I can say that I tried it!

Overall, this trip was a great one but we all felt like tourists. We did so many things in a short amount of time. It was great to see all of these features around Kilimanjaro but it was so hard to see the mountain in our reach and not be able to hike. My favorite part about the whole weekend was the waterfall because of how much fun I had. I really like learning about the history of the Chagga tribes and seeing how they lived.


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