Things I Never Want to Forget About Tanzania

Shanga--Kindness is a language which blind people see and deaf people hear.

Salum--Deo--Joseph, our fearless drivers

A bathroom is a choo. If you want to go, you need to visit The Happy Place. Men go out to "kick a bush" while drivers go out to "check the tire pressure." Once, we really had a flat tire!

The lodges were elegant and luxurious, with laundry service, beautiful swimming pools, wi-fi. We were escorted to and from our rooms by Maasi. At Tlomo Lodge they have an extensive organic vegetable garden and a coffee farm.

Getting an "African Massage" on the long, bumpy, dusty roads.

The average life expectancy is 54 years old.

"I had an farm in Africa"--Jane

The glass door to the bathroom in my mom and Ceil's room.

Baobab trees are "The Upside-down Tree" because their branches look like roots in the dry season.

The main crops are corn, sesame, sunflower, and cotton.

Baboons attacked Georgie 2, they wanted her food.

It was quite cold there, most of the time. It only sprinkled a bit.

Tanzanite is a rare gem of beautiful shades of blue and violet. It is only found in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.

Maasi can walk 20-30 miles a day. They aren't going anywhere, just walking.

The goat boys--4 or 5 years old--no defense against hyenas or lions, except a stick.

Male ostriches necks turn red when they are ready to mate. They share egg sitting duties, the brown female sits on them during the day, while the black males sit during the night.

Waiting in bed to hear "Jambo-Jambo" wake up call at 5:30AM, when they brought hot water for washing.

50% of Maasi are Christian and 50% are Muslim.

They really walk with amazing things piled on their heads.

Listening to the guides speaking Swahili over the radio and trying to guess what they are talking about.

Dik-dik are smaller and faster than you think.

Watching a bull elephant charge the vehicle that my mom was riding in.

Termite mounds are the same size under the ground as above. The queen can live for 80 years. They grow fungus for food.

A Maasi family lives in a boma, a small group of huts within a fenced area. The first and biggest hut is for the first wife. She chooses the second and subsequent wives. The man rotates through the wives' huts. The women do all the work. They are trying to eliminate female circumcision. The chief we visited had four wives and 24 children.

The government mandates that all children must go to school at age 7. They take a national exam at age 15. If they pass, they can continue their education. If not, they go to work for the family or go to a trade school.

The Maasi believe that all the cattle in the world were given to them by God. Every once in awhile they go out to collect "their" cattle from other people.

A pretty girl can be worth 50 cattle dowry.

While visiting the Maasi, we did a wild dance that involved using your shoulders to make your collar bounce and jumping up and down. Then you sort of shimmy over to a person of the opposite sex and bump shoulders. This causes lots of blushing and laughing.

Four nights at a tent camp in the Serengeti. Brad and I could share one bucket of warm water for a shower. A toilet inside a wooden box. They move every 2-3 months for sanitary reasons. They are not allowed to grade the land, so all the beds are on a slant. The kitchen was surrounded by thorn branches to keep the hyenas out.

They burn the grasslands every year at this time to rejuvenate the nutrients in the grass. Also, they can flush out the poachers.

The Serengeti National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, funded to preserve the natural setting. They can never pave the roads. It cost us $1400 to get 3 Land Rovers, 17 guests, and 3 drivers into the park for 4 days.

Nothing will eat a dead hyena, except another hyena. A lion will kill a hyena to eliminate the competition, but they won't eat it.

"Prepare your machine." -- Deo (meaning "get your camera ready, there's something ahead").

There are 124 tribes in Tanzania. They each have their own mother language, which all the children learned. The government has deemed Swahili the national language, so they can communicate throughout the whole country. Every child learns Swahili in school. Then they learn English. Our drivers could also speak Spanish, French and Italian. They are encouraged to marry outside of their own tribe, so at home they speak Swahili and their children's first language is Swahili, not a mother language.

Improved Bull Washing Bar (????)

Hillary Clinton Shop

Promised....not guaranteed.

Elephants eat up to 500 lbs a day.

Honey badgers smell bad! The work in tandem with a Honey Guide bird, which lead them to the bees' nest. The badger sprays the nest and kills the bees and the badger and the bird share the honey.

Thompson Gazelles are abundant. They are called "The Flower of the Serengeti."

"I saw that gazelle yesterday."--Bobbie

We were in the middle of a mini zebra stampede.

We also visited the Iraqw tribe. They are farmers, but in the dry season, they make bricks. Each family is responsible for making its own bricks. They only have one wife and they don't have divorce. They sang a traditional song for us and fed us corn on the cob.

We saw a lioness attacking a hippo. That hippo ran fast! The lioness gave up, so we didn't see a kill. We also watched a cheetah chasing a gazelle, but it didn't catch that either. There was a zebra stuck in the mud. It was still struggling but the guides said that he wouldn't make it. If a crocodile didn't eat him, a hyena surely would.

The open air market was a fascinating experience. They were butchering cows, cooking on open fires, selling all kinds of fruits, vegetables, sardines. A cow sells for about $300 and a goat about $50.

Final count:
Cerval cats--2
Varieties of Birds--over 50
zebra, wildebeest, cape buffalo, gazelle, elephant--endless
Flat Tires--3


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed viewing your photos and reading your stories. ~Wayne

Karen said...

Very interesting Cathy - love hearing your take on things.