This past Saturday we headed to Arusha National Park to go on a walking safari, which ended up being more of a hike than we expected, but it was still real fun. Seeing another waterfall was unexpected and was definitely a pleasant surprise for us all. I have a feeling we would have been swimming in that one if we had seen it more towards the end of our hike uphill. After the long hike we went to go on another mini safari through the park, which was so nice, since I had no idea we would be seeing any more safari animals after our trip to the Serengeti. After leaving the park we did not have a clue where our camping site was going to be, so the ride there became a little interesting.
Our trip uphill to Mama Anna’s home was bumpy to say the least. I live on a dirt road in Michigan and I can say from now on I will never complain about a pothole ever again. The “road” we were driving on was so uneven and full of cliffs that I was not going to be surprised if our truck got stuck. But, of course those safari trucks can handle anything and we made it up safely. We made jokes along the way and asked why do people ride rollercoasters when they could just ride up this road to Mama Anna’s? When we arrived to Mama Anna’s I jumped out of the truck to see a short lady in blue dancing, singing, and walking towards us with her arms wide open ready for a hug. She wrapped her arms around me as if I were some sort of relative of hers that she hasn’t seen in years. The hugs and smiles she gave everyone was all we needed to fall in love with her. Abbi’s first words about Mama Anna were, “We need to figure out a way to bring her back to America! I’m taking her home to America!”
Mama Anna and the other women had prepared dinner for us, and by the time Mama Anna had finished singing and hugging each one of us it became pretty dark. After claiming our tents we got our delicious dinner and had eaten it outside under the stars, using any light we could find to see the food we were eating. After dinner we headed up to the campfire, which turned into story time. One of the safari drivers had told us the story about his first trip to the Serengeti, which he had lied to his company and told them he knew the Serengeti well, but in actually he had never been there. So, his story was about how he got lost and had to lie many times in order to get his clients to their destination and to keep his job. While listening to his story Baba had been walking around the fire picking up the fallen wood that was still burning, with his bare hands and throwing it back into the fire. Many of us were in shock seeing him touch something so hot, and as we screamed and screeched he would just laugh and keep throwing the burning wood back into the fire. After the fire we headed to our tents for some much needed sleep. That was my first time camping so having the chance to sleep in a tent, in Africa, with wild animals, was certainly an experience.
The morning began much sooner than I thought it would, the rooster alarm went off at 5am and the cow alarm went off at 6am. After breakfast we had spent a while singing and dancing with Mama Anna. She is one of a kind, and someone with that personality can really change your tired cranky mood fast. Seeing her so excited and happy to be with us makes you feel so loved. She had definitely given us each memories that will never be forgotten.


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