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Kilimanjaro Day Hike & Chagga Village Visit (Day 1)

Today Karen at Access2Tanzania has us going on a hike around the base of Kilimanjaro where we will hike past three villages.
On the Drive we got a glimps of Mount Kilimanjaro through the clouds. We are told we are lucky to get this view as the mountain is usually thickly covered in clouds.

Our hike begins at a church and a school.
(Sorry about the exposure on these ones, new camera. I think I have figured it out for the rest of the trip. It was very sunny)
I think it was at the first village (I didn't even know we were at a village, as I guess all the homes were in the jungle somwhere) We stopped at a local bar.
The solid building is where the Banana Beer is locked in, and the see through hut was the bar.
This is where the local men come to drink after a long work day. We were told that the beer costs $0.02. Everyone was still at work while we stopped to chat in the coolness of the shaded bar.
The path was beautiful, the bridges not so much. (by bridge I mean two logs with planks nailed on them over long drops.)
The first bridge I had no problem with, low and short.
Then they got, longer and higher up, and just a bit more scary! As someone who has a habbit of falling off logs, I moved quickly.

This young fellow who got in a family picture walked with me much of the way.
I am not sure what he thought of me. When ever I would fall behind (as I often did, I mean in my defence technically we were climbing Mount Kilimangaro!) he would stop and wait with me.
I asked Eric, our guide for the day, what the locals thought of us. He said they thought of us as good for them. They associate us with Christian missionaries, out to do good for them. He said they tend to like "Europeans" as we are concidered, more then people who look like they are from the Middle East, as they think they will try to turn them into Muslims (like in Zanzibar)
After hiking up, up, down a section, then up, up and up some more, I came to the most beautiful sight.
Our jeep and Maningo waiting for us! The whole time I was killing my self climbing up I was thinking, Good Lord, I am going to have to get back down!
It was amazing one minute in the jungle, next you are on a street!
Look it is a Coke truck! Coke is everywhere, Diet Coke is not! Eric told us that people in the area drink a lot of soda, that they don't realize that bottle water would be a better choice.

Next Maningo drove us to the Chagga Village. Here they have a rotation with 5 woman who get to make a little extra cash by hosting a visit to their home.
Eric told us a about her farm. Showed us how she dried the Maize so that it could be ground into flour.
We went on a little tour of her farm. She showed us what she grew, and how she weeds.
Then she gave us a tour of her home. It is considered to have a modern roof, because it is metal.
The house was broken up into three rooms. Where the cows and the goats live. (not a great picture it was so dark I didn't know what I was taking a picture of) but you can see a cow in the back ground. There was a small area where the parents sleep. (beside the goat)
This was the "living room" where they would entertain guests. It is also used as a place for the kids to sleep, as well as an area to store kitchen utensils.
In the middle of the hut, was the cooking area. It is made up of three stones and a pot. This is where she made our lunch.
While lunch was being made, my kids and her kids shared stories through Eric.IMG_0190.jpg
Each child shared their name, their age, their favoirte school subject, and what they like to do for fun.IMG_0191.jpg
Emily shared the little mini album we brought of our life back home. That was a big hit. They thought it was very funny we had a pet cat named Princess.
Then lunch was served. Eric explained that we should not eat everything we are served, only taste it. Have a few spoonfulls. Thank goodness for that! It wasn't bad food, just nothing like anything we have ever eaten. I am very proud of my kids, they all (excluding Landon) tried everything they were offered.
This was the first dish. It was a sort thick stew. It was made with bananas and beef (there might have been ground corn in it too, I can't remember). Chris and I were served in these wooden carved bowls that were used for special guests. We were told this was a special dish, and would normally only be eaten at special occasions.
The next dish was one they would eat all the time, Eric said it was as common as crackers to us. It was a beans and bananas. It seemed so strange to be eating bananas in a savory dish, the types used were more like potatoes then bananas we are use to.
Kaleb almost cleaned his bowl with this dish. I am not sure what came over him. He said he would try everthing while in Africa, and he meant it. At home we have offered him cash to eat beans and he won't!IMG_0206.jpg
The last dish was the only one Landon actually ate. I think he liked it the best because it was salty. It was like a beef broth with bananas and chunks of meat.
My kids thought this little kid was funny, when she was given the first dish she spit out the hut and took off. I guess she didn't like it much!
This was the oldest daughter, around 17 years old.
The family structure of the Chagga is very complicated, and I am not sure I understood most of it. Depending on the order a child is born, determins who they live with. I am not sure what stage of life they move in with the family member. For an example the First born daughter would live with the grandmother, first born son would live with an uncle, thrid born would live with the parents.....and so on. (I may have gotten wrong who lives with who, but it gives you an idea)
We were also told about the marriage proccesss. Poligamy is practiced here, as in much of rural Tanzania. When a young man feels he is ready to marry, he builds a hut with the help of his family. Then he finds a girl and "highjacks" her (Erics word for it), and if he can keep her for two days without her family finding her, he gets to keep her. After two days, her family sort of disowns her, and won't take her back even if she were to return. At some point a member of the grooms family will go to the family of the girl and tell them that "something" that they are missing (could be a chicken, could be your daughter) is fine and will be starting a family soon.
Later the kids were taught a song and dance.
The kids then played a game that is a cross between Dodge Ball and Pig in the Middle.

My kids then presented the family with gifts from us. Emily gave the oldest daughter a bag of school supplies (pencils, erasers, notebooks, and pencil sharpeners) and Kaleb gave the oldest Son a Calander with images of Canada. We then said good-bye, and headed back home.
On the way home, in the town of Mohsi (I think) a truck with a live band followed by a wedding car passed us. It was a lucky off chance it crossed our paths. It sure got the kids excited!

Posted by dogtired 05:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel

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