Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
92Trip End Aug 27, 2010
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Abbi led us through some very lush and healthy agricultural areas in his village to the local primary school for children from Ilkadinga village and many other surrounding villages. Mary the headmistress welcomed us to her school and seemed happy to give us a tour. The school has three fairly small buildings, ten teachers and… get this … approximately 1500 students – you do the math on teacher:student ratios! Admittedly, there are two sessions per day so only half of the children are at school at any one time, but the numbers are still staggering
With lots of smiling faces and waving hands, we left the school and Abbi led us through the fields being tended by the villagers, showing us some of the many crops that they grow and their irrigation systems. The land is surprizingly fertile and they are able to grow a huge array of produce; cabbage, potatoes, beans, maize, sunflowers, etc. Their water comes straight from Mount Meru and what we saw trickling through their irrigation systems looked like beautiful, crystal clear water. Interestingly, although they have quite intricate irrigation systems for their crops, their homes have no water and we passed several standpipes where women were collecting water by the bucket.
Despite a rather overcast beginning, the weather was beautiful and in the warm sunshine we hiked up the mountain to where the village meets the forest
It was a much easier stroll back down the mountain and we soon arrived at the traditional healers house where he showed us the various remedies he makes and explained their uses. The powders all looked a remarkably similar beige colour to us and despite having exported a little tummy trouble from India Derek declined to enquire about a natural remedy from the healer and decided that he was feeling better all of a sudden
Our final stop in the village was back at the house we had arrived at where we were served a traditional meal consisting of rice, maize and beans, potato soup and a spinach-like vegetable all washed down with tea made from one of the plants we had seen earlier in the day. The food was delicious and Lauren particularly enjoyed it (likely due to the lack of spices!) Our cultural experience with Ilkadinga was a very positive one and we'd highly recommend anyone going to Arusha make time to pay a visit there.
Tomorrow we’ll be flying from Arusha to Zanzibar; we have no plans as to what we’ll do once we get there, but we’re looking forward to spending a little time on the alluring spice island….