Thursday, June 16, 2011

ARUSHA DAYS

Michael helps his mother Amina to set the table for dinner. He lays down the table mats, utensils and plates, every time when he’s not drawing water from the well outside or playing football in school. Michael is a striker. A good one. One day he wants to be an engineer.

 

Little sister Miriam’s favourite subjects in school are Civics and Geography. Now she knows where Malaysia is on the world map. She’s excited to learn that there’s actually a place called Miri. When she grows up she wants to be an accountant. ‘I must do well in Maths,’ she says, matter of fact. She’s determined. She never tires of making origami cranes.

 

Michael and Miriam say ‘Thank you, mother’ after each meal, without fail. Amina then says ‘You’re welcome’, and smiles proudly. She laughs approvingly that I finally reply ‘Poa’ when she greets me ‘Mambo’.

 

Baby Naomi giggles playfully in her makeshift play-pen that doubles up as her bathtub. She gives a delightful squeal as she swiftly puts the tiny piece of squishy avocado in her mouth.

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We maximized our short stay in Arusha as much as we could, experiencing Arusha’s hospitality at its best. The overwhelming kindness offered, sometimes under less than convenient circumstances, was very humbling. Maggie hosted us and drove us from her house, 8km from town and back, even when she didn’t have to. Amina sat with me all evening until I was ready to go to bed (she probably gave up her bedroom for us but she wouldn’t say) and every morning she’d prepare a bucket of hot water for our baths. The safari trip with Alec and Naomi to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater would probably be our last in this journey; starry nights in the wilderness now parked in our memories until the time comes to revisit the details again and share our tales. 

 

Our Arusha days.

 

Willy with Michael, baby Naomi, Amina and Miriam.

William and his family at his family home in Arusha. This is where we stayed for a few days before leaving for Nairobi.

 

Saying goodbye to Willy and Co.

Just before getting on the shuttle to Nairobi.

 

Camping in Manyara.

Lake Manyara is a massive plain with an eclectic mix of African wildlife roaming around freely. 

 

Ngorongoro Crater.

Born free. The crater lions of Ngorongoro.

 

The company.

On our safari: Driver and guide Robert, with travellers Naomi and Alec. It’s always a good idea to come prepared with a face mask or hanky to cover your nose and mouth as it gets quite dusty with the number of vehicles around; and take binoculars!

 

Carey and Maggie.

   Dinner with Carey and Maggie at AfriCafe. Carey volunteers at the St. Jude’s School while Maggie graciously hosted us for the first couple of days at her house. Every morning we woke up to Mt. Meru just outside our door.

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