Friday, June 29, 2012

Mnambe Waterfall and Coffee Roasting

 Hey y’all. On Wednesday we got to go see some of the Africa Volunteer Corps volunteers in their placements. It was great to hear from them as to how things are going. One kept saying how proud he is to be helping the kids in his school. Another showed us the booklet of AIDS patients he goes to see. It was amazing to see the kids in class and one class sang us a song. I’m so proud of Caitlin and what these volunteers are doing.

Yesterday Julia and I went on a day trip into the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. After taking it easy for a while I was so ready to explore. Our guides Alfred and Ibrahim picked us up and we drove north slowly climbing up the mountain. We passed the Chagga people (the tribe that inhabits the foothills) going about their business farming, carrying bananas to town in baskets on their heads, or standing to watch us go by. Kids waved and smiled among fields of banana and mango trees. We reached a windy road with amazing views of Moshi town below. Unfortunately, Momma Kili (as Ibrahim called the Mt) was shy and hiding in the clouds.

View of Kili from Caitlin's house

We met up with our Chagga guide who led us from his house to the waterfall. Our hour-long hike through the forest and farmland was amazing. The land is rich and fertile and grows all kinds of produce. Just on our hike we saw mango trees, papaya, apricot, passion fruit, coffee, tree tomato, banana, stone potato (which grows on a vine in the air) and yam plants. I recognized the eucalyptus tree, jasmine, hibiscus and even a houseplant I have back home that I now know where it comes from. We saw a huge colorful grasshopper that the guides said has good protein (didn’t try it), beautiful butterflies and even a fresh water crab. But the coolest were the chameleons! They are so cute you guys! When we were done looking at them closely on a stick, our guide said, “ok, lets put him back to nature”.

 View of Moshi below


We followed the pristine river formed of glacial runoff and reached the towering and majestic 245 ft waterfall. The force of it’s own drop created such a wind blowing the mist towards us and soaking us head to foot. Our guides scoffed at us for not swimming, but we were already wet! We ate our lunch in a little hut with a view of the falls and heard its legend. Apparently as early ago as 170 years, the Chagga, believing the water is God’s tears, would sacrifice their firstborn son by dropping him off the falls.

After a steep hike back we stopped at our guide’s house to roast coffee. We took beans that had dried in the sun for a few days and de-shelled them before roasting them in a pot over the fire. The smell was amazing. We then ground them in a huge mortar and pestle before adding hot water and sugar. It was the freshest coffee I’ve ever had and was delicious.

 'Winding' the coffee beans

It was such a fun day. I really enjoyed our guides who were very informative, the sweet people we met on the trail and the connection to nature I’d been craving. Mt Kili really reminds me of Mt Rainier and has the same comforting feeling of watching over us.

Tomorrow we go on Safari!!! As our guide said, “Are you ready for the animals?” Yes, yes I am.

No comments:

Post a Comment