Day Two started with a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, warm biscuits, homemade jam, scrambled eggs and bacon, fresh juice and coffee – all locally grown or made. A-Leah and Moosah (phonetic spellings) greeted us with big smiles even though they they had worked late into the night serving dinner and drinks to the New Zealand group that left during the night.
Today was our day to go to Mount Kilimanjaro. We hoped to see the mountain that had been covered in cloud since we arrived. Spoiler alert – still haven’t seen it. The 60 kms to the gate where the climbers begin their journey up took us about two hours. Small towns, large, slow vehicles, people moving cattle and goats to market, and poor roads all result in this small trip being a journey in itself. We arrived at the gate of Kilimanjaro Park, watched the porters load up their packs, took a picture and headed off to our prime purpose – we were meeting with Stella, a woman who has set up a Homestay in order to empower the women in her community. After greeting us with a traditional Chagga song and dance, she served us some deep fried banana chips and some tea – both delicious. She told us a bit about her organization, the different programs that she is implementing in the community – everything from growing gardens to running a small souvenir shop. She has a little museum of tribal tools and weapons and a traditional Chagga House which is round and not only housed the family but the cow, goat and chickens as well!!
After this visit, she took us on a walk through the banana and coffee plantations, and the gardens which stretched for a couple miles and were growing tomatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, and beans. She also took us down to the river – quite a challenging walk- to show us the caves where the Chagga tribe would hide when the Massai would come to steal the cattle and women and children. We were quite happy for our walking sticks on this day even though Stella moved up and down the hills like a mountain goat with no stick in sight.
Once back at her lodge, we met a young man from Uganda who is studying tourism on an exchange program in Tanzania. We enjoyed talking to Emmanuel as he gave us pretty good insight into the politics of Uganda and how he sees things for the future. He is very positive about his future and that of his country.
We headed back to Dashir Lodge, met a group of Manitobans that had just returned from safari, had our dinner and hunkered down for the night. We are off on safari ourselves tomorrow for the next 5 days so not exactly sure what we will have for wifi along the way. Thank you all for continuing to read my posts.
Note from Richard. Before Stella took us to the cave she guided us down into a valley to view a small waterfall. That is it. Thank you.
NB – I will continue to post as I can even though Richard is having some problems uploading photos and video (wifi issues). He will catch up eventually.