The Foothills of Mt. Meru

This is a bit out of order-but Saturday was so spectacular that I must write about it.

Saturday morning, Joe from Ireland (who I met on a bus from Uganda), but now staying in Moshi, arrived for the weekend. We decided to go to the foothills of Mt. Meru to see where Elly grew up and to meet his parents. After taking a dala dala, we arrived at the bottom of the hill where we jumped in the back of the truck and rode as far as the road could take us. We walked on a dirt path, with banana trees surrounding us and came to Elly’s farm.

Farms here are absolutely different. They are so colourful, so many different types of fruit. I’d have to say my top three favorite fruit are passion fruit, mangos and avacado. So we sat and talked with Elly’s parents and sister, walked around the farm, saw how they cook with no electricity and how they survive on what they have. We went to see his coffee plantation and fruit trees and then came back to eat with his parents. The food was spectacular as food always is… We had milk from his cow […read more…]

Stars from this side of the world

I suppose I should start talking about what happened in my last entry-the blackout. The computers stayed on for a few minutes after the blackout, long enough for me to send the last line. Then the batteries died and there was pure darkness.

Pitch black. Not just one “block,” as we would experience in the U.S., but the entire city was out. The only light in our path was the African night sky and a half moon, that looked like an eclipse. Brian and I walked two French grrrls to the Kilimanjaro hotel and then we moved toward our building. The neon signs that lit up the hotel next to ours were no longer our marker. I could barely make out the outline of my hand and I heard voices around me from time to time. A few more meters and I stopped, “I want a taxi.” I suddenly felt very unsafe and although we only had to cross the park to get to our destination, I wouldn’t move. It’s not safe for muzungus to walk around at night-the words spoken by Africans and other Internationals echoed in my head. Something could really happen right now. My stupidity of walking […read more…]

My African Home

Perhaps it is because my family moved around so much that I never mind being away. Or perhaps I’ve become older and I know that I have to find my own life now. Or maybe it is the fact that I have found good times, good friends and exciting new traditions that causes my mood to shift every time I think that eventually I’ll have to leave.

I have returned. Before I left on this trip, my parents explained to their friends that I was not going to Africa, but instead, I was returning.

Electric outage. Will write more later.

Massai Traditions and Food Galore!

My objectives in this blog are to write about two things that occured last night. It all focuses on dinner with a Massai and other friends of ours.

Brian and I went to several different places last night. Jambo Cafe, the Police Mess, and Troopers with Marcus, his girlfriend(I haven’t figured out how to spell her name yet), and Philimon. Philimon is a Massai. I was so excited when I found this out because this tradition is so unfamiliar, but so fascinating to me.

I asked many questions and found many things out. One of the most interesting is the circumcision that occurs when a Massai turns 18. Philimon is now a Lutheran, but his father has many wives and he still follows many of the traditions. He, of course, made it clear to me that if he married a Mezungu, he would not force the kids to follow Massai tradition. I reaffirmed his idea and told him that I doubted that a Mezungu would ever allow half of the things that Massai have to go through, happen to her child. For example, the circumcision. Three days before the circumcision, a cow’s artery is punctured so that 3 liters of […read more…]

Pole, Pole

I think the most common phrase I hear is “In Africa everything is pole, pole.” (slow, slow) I like this very much, but only when I’m not in a hurry. :)

If I am looking at a menu and can’t decide, I hear: Pole, pole. I don’t have to rush through my food and I can stay there for hours after and still I hear, pole, pole.

You can decide on things pole pole. At the market, in the library, on the street.

Today, I had coffee with the sisters in the morning before I headed off to the ICTR. When I asked them how many nuns there are in the house, they asked, “in this house?” I said, “yes, here.” Sister Emily Siana replied, “with you, there would be 15.” I laughed. In fact, I laughed harder than I’ve laughed this whole trip with them this morning. They were so much fun.

At the ICTR, I read Akayesu’s case-what a blast. Ok-not really. I actually was so horrified at the things that he participated in that I had to put the book down several times, go look at something else, and come back to it. I see that my […read more…]

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 […read more…]

Dala Dalas/Kifodis and Mt. Kilimanjaro

Hi! My trip is wrapping up and it’s going to go much quicker starting tomorrow because I’ll be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I am so excited about this! The mountain is 5885 meters and it is absolutely freezing at the summit. I’ll be taking the harder route, Machame, a.k.a whiskey route. Please pray for my safety and that I can make it!

Another thing-so, we often take rides in these dala dalas, in Arusha they are also known as Kifodis. These are bus rides packed with as many people as they can possibly fit in. Imagine over 30 people packed into a minivan. Everyone is on top of everyone else. It’s wonderful! Especially when you get to sit on the lap of a very handsome Irish boy! :) Anyway, so Brian has been writing this list of names on the Kifodis. They decorate them with phrases I give you a list of them:

Super Baby Go FBI in Action Go Sox Don’t Spy My Life Baby Face Just Do Them Snow Style I love Spiders Pop in Bob Blood Eagle Lionel Richie Fittest of the Fittest

Simba Attack

Ah, another day in Tanzania. First a moment of silence for the person who was attacked by the Simba (lion) yesterday.

I don’t have very much time, so this entry will be as long as my time permits. This morning, I had an interview with Stephen Rapp. He gave me two hours of time and it was absolutely amazing. This media trial is so amazing and I can’t believe that I am one of the few people working on writing about it. Why no one cares about Africa is beyond my grasp. This continent has so much on it and so much history to tell.

The genocide is awful and I’m looking forward to going to Rwanda less and less…I would rather avoid the massacre sites, but I know that this project would be incomplete without my understanding of that country and the regimented mentality there. Something many people don’t know is that Rwanda is actually very organized -prefects. Everyone had identity cards, the government knew exactly where to find you and whether you were a hutu or a tutsi. The military was exceptionally trained and machetes were distributed to the Hutu Power and sympathizers to it. When people think […read more…]

Karibou Tanzania

Jambo! (hello)

I am here and it is fabulous. The funny thing is that it’s different, but yet I feel at home. Perhaps it is because I see every country in this one country. When crossing from Kenya to Tanzania, I saw the mountains of Poland, the donkeys of Spain, and even the land of Wisconsin. People are just like people everywhere. Everyone eats, sleeps and tries to maintain their life in between. There are the poor and the extremely wealthy. I suppose the only difference is that I am in a place many are afraid of, many pretend or forget of its existence.

People here are extremely friendly. Yesterday, I met a babu, a grandfather, who took me out for drinks and a discussion about religion. It was a fascinating conversation. He made some Ugali, a traditional African dish that you eat with your hands. It wasn’t as spicy as I’d hoped, but delicious nonetheless. His son will teach me how to make it this week. I participated in a procession with him, honoring the Body of Christ which was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced in my life. The music, the dancing, the adoration […read more…]

Packing for Africa

So I started making a list of things NOT to bring to Africa:

An American Flag A “Shell Oil” Baseball Hat A Deep Clipboard, compliments of S. Andy Schneider* DeBeers Diamond Rings An Elephant Gun My bag for Ivory

Now-things I hope not to bring back from Africa:

Rabid Monkey Typhoid Scabies Leopard Skin Malaria Carrying Mosquitos

And Finally, things I hope not to cause in Africa:

Death of Traveling Companion Overthrow of President (_______) Draining of Lake Tanganyika End of Tanzania/Zanzibar Union Hunger Embarassment to George W. Bush

*Side story: So, some people have pocket protectors, but Andy Schneider has a deep clipboard, that he likes to call his “portable desk.” When shopping with him, he would invariably take out his clipboard, pull out various mysterious sheets and write. You can imagine what that looked like in Victories Secret, as he was mysteriously taking notes. The best part of it was the fact that he was wearing gym shorts with an Old Navy T-Shirt (of course with a picture of the American flag) and looked like a gym teacher. Quote of the day: Andy enthusiastically stated, “Now I can carry around all my notebooks, pens, swiss army knife in […read more…]

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