MulalaPosted: May 28, 2013
Walking Safari: We were expecting to walk around Arusha National park and see animals in their natural habitat. Right off the bat we saw a herd of buffalo. It was really neat! They were walking around grazing and standing together. We stayed in one spot to look and take pictures while our guide (who was equipped with a gun) was watching to see if the buffalo were going to charge us. The buffalo did not charge us, thank goodness, so we kept on walking through the herd of buffalo. It was really cool to be on the same level as them. Then we started the hiking part of our safari. Now safari in Swahili is any type of journey and did we go on a journey. We walked up the mountain across the mountain and then straight down the mountain on a road that was made of dirt and rocks. Going down the mountain was harder then going up the mountain. Our group was not prepared for the hike so there were a lot of complaints. On the other hand it was good preparation for Wednesdays climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. The views were spectacular. We were (in retrospect of the town) really close to the top of Mt. Maru. The climb up Mt. Maru is harder then Mt. Kili because of its steep incline.
We got to Manna Anna’s house after our walking safari and were happy to sit down. She made the most amazing African dinner. It was the best dinner we had here that was of African taste. After dinner we brought our chairs up to the bonfire. It was a very short-lived bonfire for me because people started telling scary stories. I headed to my tent so early that I was able to start my new book.
The cows and the roosters were our alarm clock an hour before we actually had to wake up. Someone did not tell them the correct time to wake us up. We sat down for breakfast and had rolls and cheese. The cheese was delicious! The day started out cloudy so we ended up learning about their process of honey harvesting. They hollowed out a log about 1 meter long where stingless bees could go in and do their honey making thing. They reopened the log 6 months later and walla honey on honey on honey. It was really neat because you could scoop the honeycombs that held the honey right out of the long. The older man had us taste the honey by dripping some honey on our hand to then lick it off our hand. I was expecting it to be very sweat to the taste, like honey in the states, but I was wrong. At first it tasted tart with fruity after taste.
Dancing and singing! After honey, we danced and sang in a circle. Mamma Anna and some of her other friends came to sing and dance with us. I could listen to them sing all day. Even though I do not know what they are saying, they have really good rhythm and melody with each other to make beautiful music.
Another hiking adventure was next on the schedule. We were all thrilled about walking for hours again. What was really neat about the walk was the stops we made. Our guide was really happy to share with us all of the remedies the plants around their living space does for them. A lot of the plants are used for healing of headaches, sore muscles, sore throats, and more. I just wonder how they learned all of these combinations of plants to “cure” some of their medical needs.
We came back from our hike and sat down for lunch, another great meal from Mamma Anna. From what I gather, eating meals in Tanzania is a relaxing time. We usually sit around wait for food for a very long time, eat really quick because we are starving, and then sit for another very long time. It is a nice change from the states.
Coffee Time! We already knew how coffee grew so now all we needed to do was see the process from plant to coffee in a cup. The coffee bean is nestled in two shells. One machine split the first shell from the bean. Then they took the beans over to (what looked like) an elongated bowl and then used a long mallet to crush the second layer off of the bean. To separate the shell from the raw bean, the mixture was put in a large round bowl to be thrown up in the air. The wind would blow the shell casings from the raw beans. A worker would repeat this process until just the raw beans were left. Roasting time! The raw beans were put into a cast iron cooking bowl over a hot fire. We had the job of constantly stirring the beans so that they would not burn. About 15 minutes later the beans were dark brown and ready to be crushed into coffee grinds. Our guide gave us all a bean to taste and it was out of this world delicious! If it were covered in chocolate it would have been even better! To grind the beans we put them back in the long bowl to crush the beans. It was very hands on and a great way to see how people use the resources by them. Mama Anna’s group sells and drinks their own coffee made from their own hands.
Our coffee was our last adventure of the weekend at Mamma Anna’s. Before we left Kristen and I went to give Mamma Anna a hug goodbye. As she was hugging us she was blessing our family, country, and ourselves. She was very thankful that we would come and see her. It really amazes me because a lot of people that live in Tanzania are very thankful to people who come and help them out. In the US, most people are thinking about themselves and what comes next on their list of things to do. People in Tanzania have a “Hakuna Matata” (no worries/ no problem) way of life.