Marangu, Tanzania

Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Mt. Kilimanjaro

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, June 15, 2012

    Got up around 6:00 and broke camp.  Thought breakfast was at 7:00 but Godfrey was the only one around.  The bus was still locked and breakfast wasn't until about 7:20.  I had cereral with warm milk, a piece of toast, and a piece of an orange.  We did the dishes, when waited for the local guide. We started the day with a 4 hour village walk of Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito river). We started by walking down the main road but then we went off into the fields.  First we saw the sodum apple.  The fruit is used for tooth aches and to stop bleeding. The leaves are used for doing dishes and the roots are boiled for stomach aches.  Then we saw the wandering jew which is a blue flower and you can squeeze it into your eyes or ears for infections.  Chickens eat this to help their egg production.  Then we saw bananas.  Apparently they grow 30 varieties of bananas: eating, cooking, and beer.  Once you plant one then more trees will pop up from the roots underground.  There were lady finger bananas and then some arrow bananas.  The people eat a lot of ugali and macandi with is beans/rice with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, etc.  Then we saw the mango and avocado  trees and pumpkin.  There we saw the sour soap fruit which is similar to jackfruit.  
     At this point there was a guy that came out of his hut.  He was part of a different tribe than our guide which sparked information about the people of the area.  There are 120 peaceful tribes all working together.  For example, Maasai trade their cow maneur to the Mto wa Mbu people and tehy give fresh water for the Maasai.  Next we saw an almond tree and our first little kids.  The moms were trying to cook maize over a campfire and we played with the little kids who wanted to see their face when you took their picture.  They were from the Sangoni tribe.  Then we saw the henna plant which is used to make dye. We passed several houses made by the Makonde people which had coconut leaf roofs.  Wood sticks with mud filled in between. We got to go inside a house, and it is a very humbling experience.  I can't imagine living like that.  We saw some guinea fowl in cages so I asked about them.  The people are allowed to get a permit allowing them to keep two guinea fowl.  Then we went to a woodcarving place where all the pieces are made.  They used several types of wood, but one type was ebony which is a very heavy black wood.  When the tree is young it is lighter colored and gets darker over time, so depending on how it is carved, sometimes you can see the light color.  People gathering ebony can only use the dead branches or pieces elephants have knocked over.  They have to pay some sort of fee for what they are taking.  The also use teak, mahogany, and rosewood.  
     The we saw a Protestant church.  There were tons of school kids who let out for the lunch break so they all came running for us.  The school is sponsored by the Lutheran Church.  Then we saw millet, sweet potatoes, and custard apple growing.  Then we went to an art collective where people can go to learn how to paint.  We learned that there are two stypes of painting, one which uses a brush and is called Tinga Tinga and the other which used a knife called kisu.  Then we went to a local style lunch.  I took pictures so I could remember what everything looked like.  Then was a salad, an eggplant dish with some other vegetables , chipati, pili pili hot sauce, cooked bananas, local spinach, beans, ugali, stewed rice mixed with different seasonings.  Our desert was red bananas.  
   After lunch we had a pretty long walk back to the truck and headed towards a short stop in Arusha.  We had a 30 minute break at the supermarket.  We headed to the gas station, filled up, said goodbye to this driver and got a new driver.  Miles read the paper that Ernie bought off the streets of Arusha.  We were told that it was about 3.5 hours to Marangu and it is already 4:20 in the afternoon so it appears that dinner is going to be late.  We could see Mt. Kilamanjaro after about an hour driving.  It is the largest free standing mountain in the world, and the highest point of Africa.  It looks so our of place because the land around it is flat and then there it is sticking up way above the clouds.  Victor pointed out the direction of the three routes to the top but said really only two routes are used, one of which is from Marangu where we are camping and many people camp here before they start their climb.  You have to have a porter and a guide, but you only have to have one cook per group.  We stopped for a bush stop. Then Victor let us buy time for his cell phone.  Each time you want to buy time for your phone you buy a little scratch off card with however much time you want then you enter a code into the phone. When time is almost up, they it beeps and you get about 5 seconds to finish the call before it hangs up on you.  I got ahold of dad to tell him Happy Birthday!  He seemed suprised and appreciative to hear from me.  Then I still had enough time to leave a message for mom and for Renee Howell for her birthday too.  We stopped at another weigh station and we were 7.7 tons.  What a heavy truck for only 8 people.  Then we were only 10 km from the campground.  Ernie and Marlene paid $30 for an upgrade  and we decided to keep our tent, thus having to set it up in the dark.  Then we were asked to chop vegetables.  We helped with peppers and carrots.  Then we had 40 minutes in which to shower.  The how water was created by a man who added wood to a fire that was under a water holding container.  Considering, the water was pleasantly hot. DInner was rice with chopped up beef in a broth, local spinach, and the vegetables we had cut stewed up peppers, onions, carrots, and tomatoes.  We helped do the dishes and went to bed. 
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Claudia Overpeck on

Just wanted to tell you and Miles that I have been following your blog faithfully ! Really enjoying living vicariously through you two! Been sharing your adventure with the family! Claire wanted you to know she loved the animal pics!

Mom on

Love all of the things you did in this leg of your journey! Seeing all of the tribes living/trading peacefully is really cool. Watching the wood carvers was probably a lot of fun! Love the fact that you bought a giraffe mask! Being able to see all of the plants and learn of their medicinal purposes is awesome. Banana beer does not sound very appealing! Yuck :-S Your meal sounds pretty good, though.

Love the fact that you got to spend some time with the school children and were able to leave them some supplies and some toys! I bet you made their day....and many days to come! :) Good job, you guys!

Thank you for the call; sorry I missed it! You do not have to buy airtime to call home, unless you just want to! I anxiously await each blog!

Thank you for taking time to update us regularly! Miss you....continue having a blast!


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