A Travellerspoint blog

Matheluni Waterfall and Chemka Natural Springs

and other such things with Routes Kilimanjaro

sunny 25 °C

Friday night we went out to this music festival in Arusha..called Fiesta. There were some sweet artists a lot of good African music.. near the end it was mostly hip-hop. It was fun though...and it was our first time being out at night...it's safe if you're with people who know the city..I did not feel scared at all but I know if I was alone it might be a tad frightening. Anyhow...we stayed out entirely too late...mostly because they don't start until entirely too late... we didn't get to the fiesta until about 12am. Given that we had ample time to kill before the show(s) started we went out for dinner at this great little bbq on the street, in Arusha, called Khan's BBQ....they brought us beef/chicken/lamb along with fries and naan-like bread and then you went up to pick out certain sauces and such...it had a bit of a middle eastern flare..it was delish. Then we went to this pub of sorts...the name has since passed my mind (although I don't think I ever knew what it was called...I was more focused on the look of it). We walked into the main room and it was almost like we were in a tent...there were pillows all around and tables were low to the floor... we had a drink or two and there was sheisha as well - it was a very cool place! After that we headed to the festival... SO given that we didn't get there until 12 (as I mentioned above) we stayed out quite late...(about 4am) we had plans to hit up a waterfall hike in Moshi the following morning but when 8:45am rolled around we were both far too tired to have enjoyed ourselves...so we slept and ended up leaving later in the day. It all worked in our favour as we ended up going to Moshi in a land cruiser (versus a Dala Dala) with Leesha and Lau. We met up with the rest of the volunteers and some locals after they had done the waterfall adventure and went out for dinner/watched the world cup play for third/went to fiesta round two in Moshi town. (Additional note: Moshi is significantly hotter than Arusha which was a nice change!) We didn't stay out nearly as late so we could wake up and see the waterfall we had missed the day before...turns our we went to a different waterfall altogether but it was AMAZING! The whole hike there so much happened - we were so glad we missed it the day before... (everything happens for a reason, right?)

The walk started out at the base of Kilimanjaro where we met some local people and drank some banana brew (given to us in a big yellow pail)...I'm not 100% sure how banana brew is made but I presume it is a little something like - mashing banana and letting them sit in the sun until they ferment? It was Sunday so everyone was outside relaxing, listening to music, and enjoying their well-deserved banana brew. We said our goodbyes and started on our hike... along the way we stopped at numerous places. Our first stop was to see the coffee beans ...a local farmer showed us the beans at each stage - it was super cool. I had no idea they were white and I don't remember if I said this already but it's amazing how little you know when you grow up with a million supermarkets at your disposal (it's quite sickening actually). We carried on our route and our guide, Alex, pointed out a Chameleon...he grabbed it from the tree and let us hold it..it was SO COOL! I really would love to own one... her feet were so cool and she felt so crazy walking on our hands...her eyes were also amazing...apparently it only takes them 15seconds to change colour but I'm highly skeptical of this! After taking many a photo we continued on. (btw I am calling the Chameleon a she because Ben says boys have antennae). Our surroundings were so lush and amazing...we walked on some pretty steep ledges but it was hard to gauge how steep and narrow it was because there was shrubbery all around (this was probably better than knowing) although I was not scared at all..there was to much beauty to take in to waste time being fearful.

Coffee

Coffee

This little girl joined us for a bit - she was on her way to meet her grandma! She was adorable and in the cutest dress. We ran into some more locals and sat in their place that was just on the side of the mountain...they offered us avocado to welcome us and also some more banana brew... The avocado was amazing! The banana brew... I believe it's perhaps an acquired taste but it was fun just the same! There was some chill African music playing and it was most enjoyable! They had a little girl too and she was soo shy but every now and then she would come peek her head around the wall ...she did come in and we talked to her for a bit (by we I mean...Leesha did, in Swahili) but she was very shy and didn't say much. After saying our Asante Sana's we were on our way. We finally made it to the waterfall and it was amazing. It was very hard to walk up to it though because the ground was wet, muddy and rocky.

At the waterfall

At the waterfall

As we walked back the sun was in full force and it made everything around us that much more vibrant. It was so peaceful being out there... birds chirping, butterflies flying in and around us, and fresh green scents. When we got back to the village we enjoyed some green bananas with beef and a pork dish for lunch - very tasty! Also, I tried some banana wine which is brewed in Tanzania (it's a bit more refined than the previously mentioned banana brew and actually comes in a bottle).

At lunch after the waterfall

At lunch after the waterfall

After lunch we headed to Chemka Natural Springs. The drive there consists of a very desert-esque landscape so one would not assume there was an oasis hidden away in the middle of it...but yes, it is there and it was beautiful. The spring was surrounded by many trees, the water was crystal clear and it was just the right temperature. It was just what we needed after hiking around in the sun. After the swim we took a little walk with a local man who showed us some tomato plants and maise crops. The lighting was amazing and I snapped many a photo, too (but I suppose that's nothing new). While we were walking back from the walk with our guide these two Maasai men were washing their hair/face in this collection of water a ways off and later we saw them walking by. I wish I had taken a photo but I felt it was impolite to do so..so I tried to mental note it. a) I am intrigued by Maasai people so I would love to take a photo no matter what but this particular situation with the lighting was just so perfect. They walked by one in front of the other, the one in the back had a bike and the other a walking stick of sorts...I waved and they waved back and I am not sure I can really explain it but the lighting behind them consisted of a grayish blue sky and the ground was a vibrant yellow and it contrasted so nicely with their Maasai blankets which were deep blue and red ...ahh I wish I had just taken a photo. We are planning out what we are going to be doing as far as Safaris and explorations of Tanzania go and some of them consist of more Maasai culture learning so I will be sure to take some photos so long as they are okay with it!

Anyways I could go on and on and on ...and on...but those are the highlights! And, MARC...if you are reading this I must say thank you, yet again, for putting me in contact with Leesha...it has worked out perfectly! Even more so that her fiance has Routes Kilimanjaro! If anyone is going to Tanzania and wishes to see the place I highly recommend Leesha and Lau!

Kwaheri for now!

Posted by Jocelynn.R 10:12 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Good Hope Orphanage

Getting to know the kids...

15 °C

I wish writing on this thing didn't always feel so rushed...I suppose I should have brought the mini laptop but alas, I did not.

So, Monday we went to the Orphanage and met the kids and everyone else who works there. It was a bit unorganized in the sense that one person was telling us to do one thing and another, something else...but it all worked out and now we have a good routine...we wake up, have breakfast, walk to the place to catch the Dala Dala (a van that fits an unlimited amount of people, and I am not even kidding when I say unlimited ...they seem to have a "leave no person behind" philosophy") the ride on the Dala Dala is about 25 minutes (maybe less..I don't time it) and then we walk a bit more to the school. We water the plants/garden until the well runs out then we have tea with the teachers while the kids are on break...I have been teaching the kids both Science and English..it's kind of a toss up, you don't really know when you will teach or what subject, or even what grade...the school consists of baby class, middle class, then level 1, 2, 3. The kids make my day, every second of every day. Today one of the classes had to run two laps around the school and Jen and I were on a bench outside... it was the best. We also teach the teachers to use computers...mostly teaching them how to use excel and word, so they can have exams and such saved on the computer.

The second day (I think?) Jen and I were waiting for our water buckets to fill up when a truck pulled up across the street with "Meat Van" written on the side of it...a man jumped out from the side with a white coat that was covered in blood, I'm not sure I could even call it white anymore....and he opened the back and pulled out a cow...or what looked to be a cow. He gave it to the butcher, who then hung it up and proceeded to cut it into smaller pieces.. I looked to Jen and said "TIA?" ...TIA is something some people seems to say, it means This Is Africa...I'm still unsure if I'm allowed to say it or not ... or if it's only for locals? Either way...it made me laugh.

I'm learning a lot of Swahilli too... "Unaitwa Nani" means "What is your name" and "unaweza kukusaidia" means "Can I help you" (I may have spelled that wrong but I'm too lazy to find my rendition of coles notes...Swahili styles). When you walk around the you hear a lot of people saying "Mambo" which means "What's up" to which you reply, "Poa", meaning "cool" .... also you hear "Jambo" which means "Hi" or "Habari" to which you reply "Nzuri" meaning "How are you" and "Good", respectively. "Karibu" is welcome and "Karibuni" is "You're welcome". It's cool, everyone is so friendly on the streets I can't get over it ...and if you don't reply back someone usually says "they just said Mambo to you!!!".

Anyways, that's all I have for now..I could go on and on and what I have said here does not do this amazing place justice, but alas...I can't type for my whole stay here.

Until next time.

Raya

Raya

Kids at Good Hope School

Kids at Good Hope School

Class III

Class III

playground with the kids

playground with the kids

Posted by Jocelynn.R 08:38 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

I think I just ate goat ...part II

TIA?

semi-overcast 14 °C

We’ll, I’ve been experiencing the Tanzanian culture for about four days now and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling right at home here. It feels like we’ve been here for way longer considering how comfortable and at ease everything is. I feel acquainted with my surroundings and everyone is extremely nice (I still can’t get over how nice). This city is crazy and, I love it -crazy in the sense of people everywhere, minimal personal space, traffic coming from every which way and smells I can’t even begin to describe.
To say that arriving into Dar Es Salaam was overwhelming would be an understatement. It didn’t help that we were, both, severely malnourished (having ate only plane food four or five hours prior), running on minimal, to no, sleep (plane sleep no less), and as dehydrated as one of those dinner packets you might buy at Mountain Equipment Co-Op to bring with you on a camping excursion, the West Coast Trail, say, to conserve weight. We disembarked the plane (via the stairs at the back exit), it was warm, sunny, and our adventure was just beginning! We walked to the airport entrance and began to fill out our admittance cards, or whatever one wishes to call them. As we filled them out Jen and I both started to feel extremely nauseous and light headed…things seemed to spiral downhill from there. We filled out our cards – just barely, and proceeded through customs. I was just hoping the man at the booth would hurry up because I feared I may either pass out or need to run to a bathroom. He stamped my passport and allowed me through, phew. I figured that was the end of it but no, no…things were just begging! We found our bags (we were sure glad they all arrived safely and intact) and then we had to wait in line to pass, yet again, even though we had no goods to declare, we still had to wait. The lady let us go through which was good – having them search all our bags would have taken way too long and we needed to find bottled water, STAT. Once we got out to the main area two Tanzanian men approached Jen and I. They (David and a man who’s name we didn’t catch) immediately grabbed our cart and started pushing out bags saying “what are you looking for, how can we help you…” we were afraid to let them take over but also relieved since we were both in rough shape. First things first – WATER. So, they took us to get bottled water and showed us where a bathroom was. (I was expecting a squat toilette but was pleasantly surprised to see a debatably clean washroom with a toilette instead!) We couldn’t pay for the water in US$ so David’s friend (who’s name we never got) went and exchanged my ten dollar bill for Tanzanian shillings. I was pretty confident he had just walked away with my money because few words were exchanged to us about what was going on – I figured, ah well, ten bucks – not too bad of a loss at this point (must have been my dehydration talking). He did return though! But, I was correct in not trusting him because he tried to keep some of it – luckily our friend, David, was a trustworthy individual and got mad at the man in Swahili.
Anyways – from there we had to change our ticket because we were told by the travel agent that if we extended our stay it would be free in Dar Es Salaam. There was a lot of back and forth in Swahili, and confusion on Jen and I’s part – we were mostly following David’s every move and did what he told us to do – still trying to be cautious that we did not get robbed or taken advantage of. He told me we needed to leave a piece of ID at this random counter so I could get a “visitor” badge and go through security to the Qatar office to change the flight. So, I had to leave Jen’s passport with this lady (so sketchy) and I had to leave Jen too, with all our luggage. I walked with David to security then he said I had to go alone from that point. He asked a random woman who was inside security to show me the way. She briefly pointed to some stairs and told me to go up them. I finally did find the office, a tiny tiny office with three desks jammed, and lady inside said I must wait for her colleague. So I sat there, waiting, feeling so confused and vulnerable. I was SO thankful that room was air-conditioned because I was honestly thinking I may pass out. My mouth was so dry and I felt like I was dreaming. People came and went from that office, all talking in Swahili, laughing and going about their daily business – I felt so out of place and confused – it was a pretty surreal experience. I noticed the time, I can’t remember it exactly now but it was somewhere between 2:45 and 3:30. Knowing that we had a flight to catch (to complete our journey, to Arusha) at 4:00 pm, I got a little worried. My brain also decided to think of the fact that Jen was alone, down in the main area of the airport (with David, but still), and I was alone – and we were both SO exposed, I realized anything could happen to us. All I could do was have faith that David was a legit man and that everything would work out – and, it did. The lady finally came, but the system was down so all that waiting and all I got was a number to call later. I left and met with Jen and David and Jen says “we have 5 minutes before it’s too late to get on that flight” so we ran and David got us a ride in a taxi (I think it was his friend) and we drove over to the departures (apparently they are not within walking distance…especially when one has 5 minutes) we showed up and the place is pretty dead and everyone who works there is just chilling outside, relaxing…with some people in the “air excel” room. We booked our ticket and everything was a-ok. We were getting on that flight! However, I still felt awful and all I wanted to do was lie in my bed and sleep. I had to power through that though. We went through security – I was SO happy they don’t make you discard your liquids because we had two big bottles of Dasani water and we needed it, in the worst way. We sat down and waited for our plane to leave. My body could not handle anything at that point, I was taking a turn for the worse… having intense stomach pains, feeling like the room was spinning, cold and hot at the same time, and a general feeling of confusion and worry. I realize those feelings were all completely unnecessary but I think my body assumed it was in a situation that required these reactions. I passed out on the bench and eventually it was time to fly. The plane was a little, 10 passenger (give or take) plane and seemed a tad sketchy but we needed to get to Arusha, so, it was what it was. We sat in first class – aka right near the pilot and watched his every move…it was cool because you fly at a lower altitude so you can see a lot more...I had just enough energy to take some pictures and then I passed out. I woke up forgetting completely where I was feeling so relaxed… we landed and it was SUCH a relief. Ah, we are here! Finally! What I thought was Mt. Killimanjaro ended up being Mt. Meru – but a beautiful mountain just the same. Landing in Arusha was SO beautiful. It was peaceful and such a change from the hustle and bustle of Dar Es Salaam. The sun was setting, the mountain was in clear view, and the only people inhabiting the airport was Jen and myself, along with two other passengers, and about four airport workers who helped carry our bags to the front where we were to await Nelson. He wasn’t there and we got a bit worried but soon after Rama showed up with an ABV sign and we were good to go. I’m still a bit unclear about who Rama is to Nelson in terms of business partner, friend, or what (it seems those lines blur quite a lot here) but either way, he was very nice and spoke good English. Nelsons house was about a 30 minute drive from the airport and I can’t even begin to describe the drive. I didn’t think I’d actually experience culture shock but looking back on everything that happened after landing in Dar, I am confident when I say – I experienced culture shock in the worst way. But hey, I’d rather t he beginning be crazy and have it get better from there on in – and so far, that’s how it’s gone! I can try to explain it but I know I won’t do the scene justice…. But for those who are curious – here goes… the roads, bumpy with speed bumps very often to slow the crazy drivers down, people everywhere. One of the many saying’s in Tanzania is “pole pole” (pronounced polay polay) which is to mean slow slow, yet when I look around it seems everyone is doing something. I really have no idea if it’s business or pleasure but either way – it seems like everyone has got a role to play, and a task to complete and they get it done. Every few meters there is a woman sitting by a mini fire on the side of the road with a grill that has corn on the cob roasting – these are for sale. The smells are so unfamiliar to me and like I said in the beginning – I can’t even, honestly, begin to describe them. I should take this opportunity to clear up that I don’t mean they are bad, they are just smells I am not used to. The car ride to nelsons I was pretty mute, I didn’t know what to say and I couldn’t quite communicate my feelings at all, so I remained quiet. We got to Nelsons and met him and Selfa, we were showed our room and I basically collapsed. Jen visited and I wish I could have, I really wanted to but I felt horrible – I just really needed sleep. I had some crazy dreams which I will blame on the malaria meds but who knows – I dreamt I was back in Calgary and that my Aunt and Parents were confused as to why I came back after one day and I regretted coming home and told them I was going to go back the next day…I woke up missing home, a lot (even though I regretted coming home in my dream and missing out on Africa). Eventually after what felt like hours of sleep (45minutes maybe?) I mustered up some energy to come out and have some tea with Nelson, Selfa and Jen. That was a hard night and morning…everything was so different and I was questioning why I wanted to do this in the first place. But, since then, I’ve felt very at home and comfortable and I don’t regret any minute of it. And, while I was experiencing culture shock and homesickness all at the same time, the rational side of me knew that this would turn into a funny store later on. I’m surprised, but also grateful, for how quickly those feelings left me. I must say – email helped – being able to email my parents and sister was a highlight on my “stop-feeling-homesick” check list. 
We woke up and had friend bananas (mmm so good!) with an egg, white bread with peanut butter and some more tea! (I think I’ll have to buy some of the tea – it’s just basic black tea but wow, it’s so good!) Then, Nelson brought his …friend/business partner, Ben, (again the boundaries blur between who’s who and I feel it may have something to do with the amazing culture that consists of friendliness, and a welcoming attitude) to come take Jen and I on a “town tour” so we could get acquainted with our surroundings. I was grateful for this because it allowed me to gain a perspective on where I was. When I was sitting in the family room in the morning, eating breakfast, I shared with Jen that I felt like someone placed me in a random area in the middle of my sleep and I woke up not understanding where I was. Walking around, I was able to ground myself and become more familiar with the area. Witnessing, first hand, how welcoming everyone is! We walked everywhere! He showed us where the best internet cafes were, where to get money, where to buy food (at the SHOPRITE…which we heard from more than one person that it was a volunteer eden, and that white people love the place), we also bought a cell phone (we’re so local!) and water! It was great getting water, we were running low – and there is nothing like thinking you’re running out of clean water (which is why we can’t make it a commodity people!) [yes, I went there]. We ended up at this cute outside pub/bar thing where there is a stage (we are going back someday to watch live music there when it happens) and we tried Killimanjaro beer (I approve) and then got a pizza to share (we’ll save the African food for when our stomachs are a bit stronger). Besides almost getting hit whilst trying to cross the street, it was a fantastic day. I like, very much, Arusha. I could spend a lot of time here, I know this is true.

Posted by Jocelynn.R 04:44 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

I think I just ate goat.

And, I now know the meaning of culture shock.

sunny 21 °C

Ideally I would have written more updates so I could have explained everything bit by bit on what was happening...but, internet is a bit tricky here...it was perfect the day we arrived but since then it's been slow and finicky and we have opted to hit up the internet cafe every now and again.

What to say except I am loving this place more and more each day! Besides the fact that arriving in Dar Es Salaam was a complete gong show...it's been a great experience (even the insanity in Dar will become a memory I will cherish). There is honestly so much to discuss and I can't even begin to talk about it - I know I won't do this place justice. I started typing just to remember some stuff and it ended up being about five pages in word, and that only covered about four or five days! Even though I've only been here for less than a week, I feel right at home. And, I still can't get over how kind and welcoming everyone is - it's absolutely amazing!

The sights, the smells, the everything is so new to me. I'm going to just put what I wrote in word instead of typing out again and again what I'm doing... it's long so read if you are interested, if not then mambo anyhow.

Posted by Jocelynn.R 14:31 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Deepak Chopra’s travelling tips on the Qatar Air website?

...this is going to be a mighty fine flight.

sunny 21 °C

In preparing for take-off, a mere 33.5 hours away, I decide to search the airline websites to make sure we will not be over the limit with our bags (given that we have two duffel bags filled with supplies for the kids!). Qatar Airways has, without a doubt, wooed me. I think I'm in love and I have only been on the site for two minutes. Here are just a few of the things I found:

-5-star dining, and I quote "you will be served a broad array of signature delicatessen such as foie gras, caviar, and smoked salmon" (I'm not even sure I understand what the first item is, and I'm somewhat afraid to find out; but count me in! As Neda and I always say - "if it's free, it's for me." I'm aware this statement counteracts the prestigious nature of the airline, but such is how I roll. I digress...)
-Complimentary fine wine and cuisine (don't mind if I do)
-"Fly Healthy, Fly Fit" - a guide from Deepak Chopra himself

...Yes, I know I will get along perfectly with this airline. This is already infinitely better than any North American airline I've been on.

Economy class looks prestig, in and of itself, so I decide to woo myself even more and check out business class, and dare venture into the lands of first class? Wow! I have never seen such a stunning room inside a metal cabin that is to be 35,000 feet in the air. You get your own area (cubical or cubby - if you will), and I'm pretty sure, judging by the photos, your own personal mini bar. And, I'm not talking about the mini bars you get in hotels that have mini-everythings for a not-so-miny-prices, I'm talking full on mini-BAR. Yes please!

A340-600-F..-lounge.jpg

I could get used to this!

Posted by Jocelynn.R 12:21 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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