The End of Our Trek
9 July 2018
Truth be told, I was in it for the safari. When Emma told me that Mr. Chisnell’s ROHS International trip was to Tanzania, I was excited to tag along as a chaperone, mainly because of the safari. It’s been on my bucket list for years. Who doesn’t want to see the Big 5 animals in the wild?
Ten days into our travels, and we have yet to enter the safari portion of the trip. But, I’m blown away by all I have learned and seen so far. It’s been challenging; we hiked up to 10 miles in the pouring rain for 3 days. This is not like hiking in Michigan, we were walking up and down steep trails in the Usambara mountains. I slipped and fell 3 times one day, but got up, laughed at myself, and continued trekking.
“This is not like hiking in Michigan.”
As we trek through small villages, we are amazed by the friendliness of the people. Especially the children. They love to yell down to us “mambo” (“What’s up”), and “How are you!” as we walk the paths. One day when we had a group children following us down the path; Lani and I turned around and started playing a version of Simon Says, teaching them to dance the macarena, the twist, and any other silly dance that we could invent. We were able to communicate without language.
This country is beautiful. I expected to see savannas, but I’ve seen mountains, lakes, pine trees, eucalyptus trees, trees with roots like walls above the ground. I’ve also seen flowers that grow in Michigan– geraniums, impatiens, daisies, begonias. We’ve seen chameleons hanging out in branches, cows, goats, dogs and cats. We’ve seen women in beautiful colorful shukas (wraps like saris).
Tomorrow we move on from the hiking phase of our trip to the next phase, where we’ll live and work in a small village. We are also saying goodbye to our trekking leaders, Chaz, Richie and Queenie, who have been an integral part of our trip thus far. They encouraged us through 3 days of hiking through steady rain (yes it does rain in Africa). They built bridges for us to cross over streams, held out a helping hand when we slipped and fell in the mud. They answered what I’m sure seemed like a thousand questions about the Swahili language and Tanzanian culture. They connected with each of us individually on this trip, and made all of us feel welcome and safe. We will miss them.
“We were able to communicate without language.”
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