Saturday, June 8, 2013

Feeling like a Local

After breakfast, a Maasai set up a shop of locally made carvings and jewelry. I got a Maasai necklace, a beaded talking stick, and a fly whisk made from a zebra tail-very cool! Then we took off for the school through the bush. Again, we got lost twice but finally made it. It is a 2 room school, of only Kindergarten and grade 1 and 2. They are building more rooms for when the children move to the next grade. Before this, children had to go many miles to school or stay home. It is still hard to get the children at school, as they help their families herd the cattle and goats. There are only 2 teachers with 40-50 students in a class. There are few materials. Students have 2 books of lined paper to do all of their work. They showed me their books. I left my supplies, and they were very excited.

After this, we were back to Tarangire Park. We saw more of the same, as well as warthogs, ostriches, zebras, and many new birds. (Hornbills, rollers, pigeons, starlings, guinea fowl, storks, vultures) we stopped at an overlook of the river and saw a giraffe drinking. Water is so important in this ecosystem. The great baobab trees and acacias are fascinating and beautiful. After a picnic lunch, where the monkeys drove the tourists crazy, we headed out of the park.

We passed through the town of Mto wa Mbu,  into Karatu, where we leave most of the Maasai behind and see more of the Iraqw people. We found that they were holding a huge market which is held the 7th of each month. People come from Arusha and beyond. It was so big! Again, as I wandered, a couple of guys in their 20s latched on and guided me around. At this market, in addition to the livestock area, and beer making, there were goods displayed like a flea market in the states. They showed me the BBQ area over open fires, and I bought some local cloth for gifts. They helped me haggle, as the local tried to take advantage of the muzungu (white person). Again, I bought an item from each to thank them, then as I was getting swarmed by sellers, seeing my money, we took our leave. We arrived at Country Lodge in Karatu. It is very beautiful and fancy, with a large room and stone bathroom, and 5 course meal. It actually seemed a bit awkward to have this level of luxury when I was used to the camp, the park and the market all day. I decided that I prefer tented camps to feel more a part of the culture and the area. Plus there is no interaction with the guide here, which is a change from last night having dinner together.

Just a side note, I have been having fun trying out my greetings and phrases in Swahili. My guide says that my pronunciation is very good. Using the Swahili gets surprised reactions from the people you meet, and a different level of respect and acceptance.

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