Hakuna Matata

Abari ja mchana (Good afternoon)

500 million years ago, volcanoes erupted, creating the Rift Wall. This is one of the many incredible sites that I saw this weekend. Along with the Rift Wall, I saw the Rift valley. The fact that God created such spectacular wonders is just outside of the grasp of my reality. Every morning, I woke up and questioned myself. Did I really see what I saw? But, the memories remained and the rolls of film had been used up and there was my evidence of having been to these places.

On Friday, I went to Lake Manyara. On Saturday, Ngorongoro. After deliberation, I decided that I wanted to see Ngorongoro more than the Serengeti. Well, technically, I saw part of the Serengeti, when I went to Oldupai Gorge and the Shifting Sands, but not like a Safari tourist would.

Ngorongoro is the Garden of Eden. I say this, not just because the Tanzanian’s gave it this nickname, but because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I don’t think I could even imagine a place more beautiful than this. Try to think Jurrasic Park X 1000. That’s just a glimpse of it. So many different types of terrains-ah, my words lose all meaning.

I saw animals in their natural habitat, lions mating, cubs fighting each other, giraffes eating accacia leaves, hippos playing in the water. I still can’t believe that I saw animals in their natural habitat-so much more exciting than a zoo! I asked so many questions. One thing that is really interesting is that Zebras have 28 species of worms inside their bodies that help them digest and if you see zebras dying during the dry season, it must mean that all other animals are dead. Apparently, the zebra is the last animal that will die during that time.

Something else that I saw that was one of the more spiritual parts of my weekend is the shifting sand. A volcano blew out this metalic sand and it sits in the middle of this enormous plain and moves 17 meters a year. It was so amazing. I sat on the top of it and leaned my arm against the sand to see how it moved and almost started crying. Could this be added to the wonders of the world?

While driving along, standing on my seat with half my body outside the top of a green ranger, I observed farmers and Massai in their daily lives. Cutting up wood with their sharp knives, killing a goat, walking on the side of the road with their cattle-it was good to watch. I think watching people in their daily lives is more interesting than anything else. I could do it for hours. Simple (for lack of a better word right now) people are amazing. Their lives revolve around feeding their families. They are happy when they see a car come by and wave at them. Their smiles are genuine and they wave back, shaking their arm so that it looks like it will fall off. Children are the most fun! They run after the cattle and hug each other, dirt covering their whole bodies.

I think one difference that is prevelant with the American/European life and the African life is that children are given responsibility at a younger age here, whereas Americans emphasize a good childhood. Everything revolves around whether you had a good childhood or not. I mean, you could be thrown into a mental institution if a psychiatrist convinces you that your anger stems from your terrible childhood! (that one’s for my nurse mom) Ok-I’m exaggerating a bit, but you look at this 7 year old child carrying her 1 year old sister in a sack on her back and you know that she’s walking for miles to get to wherever she’s walking and you think-wow, I never had to do that and my children probably won’t either.

I think I really enjoy that people here (of course excluding the upper class who is very similar to us) or perhaps I should say that people in general who have had trying lives find happiness in the simple things. I wish that I could remember that the next time I complain and just be happy with what I’ve got.

Until next time…

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