Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today was a really fun day because we got to use our cameras for most, if not all, of the day. We started out with a lovely breakfast and then got dressed to go to the Internet café. I know that that post has already been passed all around the family by now (1:32 PM Central on Wednesday June 16th). The Internet at this café thing was probably the slowest, most frustrating, thing, ever. Despite the glitches and lagging connection, I managed to update my blog. I think the most amusing part of the trip was when one of our group leaders, Erin, had to drive us into town. Erin had very little experience driving a stick shift, but it made our trip to town much more exciting. The highlight of the misadventure was when Erin mistakenly turned on the car horn for 30 seconds, and we had no idea how to stop it. Probably one of the funniest moments of my life. Then we returned home and waited for Mkala to take us to the Leprosy Centre. When we arrived we were greeted by a German Nun who had devoted her life to helping these people. We then met and greeted most of the members of the centre. They were probably the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met. They were absolutely thrilled to see their pictures. Then we bought some trade goods and handy crafts, which I know everyone will be thrilled to have. Then we returned home to have lunch. After lunch we just chilled out and waited for our friends from UACC(the charter school) to come over and hang out. When they came over we went out to take pictures again, I got some really good ones of children and animals. When it was time to go home we took a “shortcut” which seemed to be the longest “shortcut” in the history of mankind. We went through all sorts of really interesting neighborhoods. When we got home we had another great dinner. After dinner our friends left and we went about our business as usual. Everything went as usual for the rest of the night…(Except for one thing, but I’ll save that until I get home)

I awoke slightly early and did my laundry, by HAND. It was probably one of the lesser experiences of my 17 years. Not to mention one of the hardest. After breakfast we met up with our friends from UACC and headed out to take pictures. We headed around the village and further than we could’ve ever gotten just by ourselves. They helped us to meet new people and to talk to them as well. At noon we rendezvoused back at the house and ate a light lunch before saying goodbye to our friends. After lunch we boarded the bus and headed to Arusha to go to the market. Arusha is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been, it’s hectic, it’s unorganized, and it’s just overall an insane place to be. The moment we stepped out of our bus, a throng of salesman and beggers mobbed us. They all had “Unique” and “Individual” works of art, which looked exactly like the ones that I had just been presented. Another thing that I found amusing was how these salesman tried to build a mediocre friendship with you before trying to sell you stuff. To me this was a golden opportunity to unleash my creativity. By the end of the day my adopted name was Esteban, I lived in Spain and vacationed often in Montana, I was married to Veronica (Kylee), and we had 2 beautiful children named Stephanie and Harmonica. Yes, Harmonica. The best part was that they believed every word of it. After passing through the streets of Arusha we got back onto the bus and went to the Maasi Market. The Maasi Market was another absolutely amazing experience. I thoroughly enjoyed bargaining for little bracelets and other small objects. The market was probably 5 or 6 rows of shops with about 10 shops on either side of each row. Every single shop owner greeted us with “Karibu” or “Welcome to my shop”. I was assured several times that I was the best possible product, even if it was somewhat dilapidated or broken. In all I probably bought $30 worth of goodies. At 6:30 the market closed so we loaded up onto the bus and headed to dinner. We ate at an Italian Restaurant who had their TV’s turned on to FIFA. I got to watch a small bit of a couple games that made me quite happy. Our food was pretty good, and it definitely filled me up to the brim. After dinner we returned home and everyone crashed as soon as we walked into the door. This was by far my favorite day so far, it was absolutely AMAZING.

Our day started with a trip to a local orphanage. The orphanage was a wonderful, as well as humbling experience. When we arrived, we were greeted by the director, a man from The Netherlands named Walter. Walter gave us a brief synopsis of the mission of the orphanage as well as a small tour. As soon as we walked outside, countless children ran towards us requesting countless pictures. I took a ton of pictures for them just so they could see themselves; the joy on their faces is truly indescribable. After about half and hour at the orphanage a pick up soccer game began to develop in the field directly behind the complex. As an athlete I felt it was my duty to join. During this game I scored my first career goal in international play, we have pictures to prove it! Soon after the game it was time to head out. Leaving was really a hard thing to do, you could definitely see that these kids did not want us to leave whatsoever. From the orphanage we traveled to yet another market, except this one was with cows and goats and chickens and every other farm animal you could imagine. This was yet another absolutely unforgettable experience. There were animals everywhere and really crabby people who demanded money if you took their picture, which I found to be hilarious. In the end I took a couple pictures and I also figured out how to take videos. After walking around the market for 30 minutes we met up at a restaurant and had a lovely lunch of beef and white rice. I probably ate like a pound of rice. After finishing lunch, Peter and Erin headed out with our teacher, Mkala, and our guards Dominic and Munisi to get us 2 goats for our party tomorrow night. Yes, we got 2 live goats for dinner. They arrived back at the bus with our 2 goats and shoved them into the trunk to transport them back home. I basically fell over laughing when I saw Appy and Trey being shoved into the trunk. We named them Appy for Appetizer and Trey for Entrée, yet another hilarious moment. We then loaded up on our bus and headed home to drop off Appy and Trey. After dropping them off we headed down the highway to our next destination, a scenic waterfall up in a remote valley. I will never, ever, ever, forget the journey to get to the waterfall. It was probably the weirdest most dangerous bus ride that I will ever go on. The road was extremely bumpy and hilly as it winded through banana trees and forest. The best part was pushing, yes pushing. We actually had to disembark from the bus to get out and PUSH it up steep hills and embankments. Well it was more like the 5 guys got out and pushed, while the girls stood there and watched. That wasn’t my favorite experience so far, but I’ll definitely always remember it and laugh as I tell the story. I would say we had to get out to push 6 or 7 times. It seemed like a ton. One time after pushing, the driver just took off and headed well ahead of us on the road, I thought he was going to just take off with out thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment. So Peter and I went sprinting after the bus in an effort to catch it. It rounded a corner and vanished from sight. When we rounded the corner we were relieved to see the bus sitting a few steps away. I immediately climbed to the top of the bus and sat there to prevent any conspicuous ideas from entering the driver’s head. Eventually we reached a point where we could go no further in the bus, not because of natural barriers, but because it was spinning out and not moving an inch forward. So we got off the bus and headed up the hill on foot. The hike to the waterfall was both awing, and extremely painful. My butt was just about to fall off from pushing this several thousand pound bus up the mountain. We traveled uphill for what seemed like forever, through a foresting project as they made more room for development. But this was possibly the most amazing view I have ever seen. You could see everything, and I mean everything. The pictures that I took really do not provide due justice to how incredible and unbelievable this place was. After finishing our walk uphill we began a short trek downhill to reach the waterfall. Just because it was downhill doesn’t mean that I was easy… I slipped and fell on my butt, it was quite embarrassing, and the camera may have hit the ground ever so slightly, but everything was okay (Including the camera, Dad). Once we got passed the slippery rocks we heard the sound of crashing water. I quickened my pace to see what was ahead. What was before me was one of the most amazing waterfalls I had ever see. It probably cascaded down 200 feet or so before smashing into the small pool located below. When you stood near to it you could feel the air rushing past you in a fashion that is completely indescribable and truly lacks words that justify it’s majesty. After taking several pictures we began to head back to our bus. The trip down was also physically demanding it definitely tested just how strong your quads were, I discovered that mine needed some work. I’m pretty sure that after this trip ends I will be in phenomenal shape. The bus ride down turned out to be just as exciting as the ride up the mountain. We were heading up a small incline to the crest of a small hill, when we hit a patch of mud. Our driver first tried to veer slightly out of the way then overcorrected his path which lead to us flying into a ditch! Thankfully everyone was okay and no one was hanging out the window, or else they would’ve been crushed between the bus and an embankment on the opposite side of the ditch. Several villagers began to gather infront of the “beached” bus. Eventually after several tries we freed the bus. I have the freeing of the bus on video so I’m sure everyone will want to see that. Following that we proceeded on our way home as if nothing had happened. We arrived home and had a wonderful spagetti dinner. After that we just hung out and went to sleep.

We awoke to a pleasant surprise, a day for us to just chill! We were supposed to hike up a mountain, but everyone just wanted to chillax and work on their blogs and pictures. So far today the only really exciting things that have happened were slaughtering Appy and Trey for dinner tonight, and this huge jeep-like this came which is driving us to our safari tomorrow. It’s probably 14 feet tall and like 30 feet long, it’s a man sized truck for sure. I’m really excited for our drive tomorrow. Other than that today has been pretty chill, I’ve typed this blog for literally 3 hours. 7 whole pages of goop. Dinner was great too, we had acrobats come and do flips for us while we munched on Appy and Trey. They were quite tasty. We then finished packing and headed to bed.

Today was a travel day. So around 9 we loaded up in our WWII-era German bus/tank thing. It was actually used in North Africa when the Germans tried to invade, and now it’s used to transport tourists. Let me tell you what, that thing is a feat of engineering genius. It absolutely eats the road. It’s quite amazing to watch. So we traveled most of the day on dirt roads that seemed to stretch on endlessly. We then began to see wildlife! First we saw a lone wildabeast(sp?), and then they seemed to come in flocks. We saw giraffes, impalas, zebras, gazelles, and ostriches. As we traveled we also came across a Puff Adder, which I’m told is an extremely poisonous snake. Thankfully this one was dead and poised no threat to us. I have pictures with it. The freaky thing was that it was still warm when we picked it up. We also found a wildabeast that had been killed that morning by a cheetah, so we SCAVENGED meat from it’s leg and ate it for dinner. And the funny thing was that it was absolutely delish. Soon darkness fell upon us and we turned on this massive spotlight thing at the front of the bus. But we made it to camp just in time. It was pitch black by the time we arrived at our campsite. We ate a delish dinner and headed to bed, and I slept like a baby.

We awoke at 7:00 to an extremely chilly morning. We had a lovely breakfast of toast and cinnamon twist kinda things. We then got dressed and headed out to climb a nearby mountain. Yes, a mountain. The hike up was really picture-esk. We actually had to do some climbing, not just walking. Like at one point we had to climb up a near 90° angle. Following that we actually had to hold ourselves up by putting our hands and feet on the different sides of a cave-type thing and moving forward, I felt like Bear Grylls. It was so legit. Then we came out onto a peak kind of thing, but to reach the summit we had to go down and across this depression area. When we reached the summit you truly felt like you were on top of the world. This was yet another experience that words cannot fully describe, it was so amazing to look out over the savanna. It was kinda of one of those moments where you just cant find the words to say. Then we began our trek down, which was just as hard if not harder than the trek up. But fortunately we were picked up by a land rover which drove us the last mile or so back to our campsite. Then we had lunch, and as of now I’m just about to head out to hunt for scorpions…..Unfortunately the hunt was unsuccessful. After that we headed out to a water hole to see if we could find any animals, but we only saw a few gazelles and nothing too exciting. I got a few nice pictures of the landscape. Following that we returned home and headed to bed.

So firstly, I haven’t updated my blog in like 4 days, it’s the 25th right now so my memories may be a little obscured.
We woke up early to head out for a hike. So we packed up all our stuff and headed out to hike. What they didn’t tell us was that the hike was 16 miles, thankfully we didn’t go the full 16 miles. We ended up going just about 8 though. What was really bad about the hike was the fact that I was pretty severely dehydrated. So I spent most of the hike in the back of the pack sipping on water and having other people carry my stuff. After a few hours I felt much much better. Pretty soon after we saw a couple zebras and wildabeast. But overall it was a great hike. After the hike we headed out to drive to a Maasi boma. A boma is basically a giant homestand where a huge family lives with their cows and other animals. It was absolutely insaneee. I have a couple pictures but it was pretty dark. And I bought something really legit. After that we headed back to camp to eat dinner and ask questions to the head guy in charge of the boma. It was really a great learning experience. After dinner we had a bit of a dance off with the Maasi and it was absolutely hilarious. I had a great time watching their traditional dances, and an even better time trying to make up one’s on the fly to counteract theirs. After that we headed off to bed.

okay so this is all I have for the moment, but I thought that everyone would enjoy reading it and i'm working on the days that I haven't done so far as we speak. Oh and I'll try to upload some pictures so that everyone can see what's going on in TANZANIA

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