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Emma’s Travel Diary

Friday, 27 Jul 2007

Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania

MapMy last day in Uganda was also the first day I've been sick this time in Africa. I woke up with diarrhoea and another bat in my room, (This time dive bombing me) as 2 farewell presents.

The orphans and kids boarding at the school really loved their feast of matooke, meat, fish and g-nut sauce. It took about 3 hours and 6 ppl to peel all the matooke.

The school choir sang 3 songs praising 'Emma'! It was a bit much but still very nice. I have them on video. I also have Kisakye, Menya and Kalume on video saying thank you to everyone in Australia and then talking about their favourite football teams etc. They speak in English and Luganda and it's so cute, you'll love them.

Shaq, our Uganda tour guide from last year lives in Kampala and is a Ugandan mzungu! Even he admits it. He's very modern, speaks excellent 'aussie' english and has a little red VW with sun roof which he calls his 'pimp mobile'. Shaq picked me up from school and drove me to Kampala. I got a nice cheap room with the first hot shower I'd had since April. It was so good to see Shaq again. I'm the first person from any of his tour groups who he has seen again. We went to a BBQ restaurant and had the softest and best beef I've had in a long time. Apparently this place is famous in Kampala just for the beef. I was still really sick so a night on the town in Kampala wasn't meant to be unfortunately. I briefly met one of Shaq's younger brothers who is just a thinner younger version of Shaq. Then the next morning Shaq picked me up and drove me to the airport in Entebbe. He saved me a lot of money I would have spent on taxis and it was nice driving around in his little red car. It creates a lot of attention as there are no other cars like it in Kampala and Shaq always has his western music blaring while he dodges his way through the chaos of Kampala traffic.

So I arrived in Moshi, Tanzania after a turbulent flight. Flying made me feel like such a mzungu again after living in the rural village for 6 weeks. Abiyah and his friend Raymond picked me up in Ray's safari truck. Abiyah is the son of Mathayo (Mathayo is the maasai chief of Engaruka). Abiyah is studying wildlife management and survival at uni in Moshi. He already takes people on treks and safaris to Lake Natron, Oldonyo Lengai (the active volcano), Empakaai Crater and various other places around the area.

We stayed the night in a guesthouse in Arusha. It was strange but familiar to be amongst all the maasai again. Abi dresses western but sometimes at uni wears his maasai clothes. He's also like an African mzungu. He's had so many aussies on his treks he knows all the slang and is very funny. An aussie older couple from one of his treks were so impressed by him they are now his sponsors for his uni course.

On Monday Abi and I got the bus (full of maasai) to Mto-wa-mbu where we met Waziri and Dulla who had come from Dar by bus. We all got on the bus to Engaruka.

Engaruka is the maasai village we visited last year with Gecko's. It's in the middle of nowhere and is only accessed by a dirt road and takes about 2 hours to get to. It's at the bottom of the Rift Valley escarpment and is surrounded by mountains. It's 60km from Lake Natron and Oldonyo Lengai volcano.

We arrived at the campsite and it was so strange to be back there and to see all the people again - Maneno, Elia, Abrahaam, Mathayo, Danny, Athumani, the maasai ladies and the kids who sang for us.

This time I was able to communicate with them because they speak swahili and maasai so it made a big difference. Maneno, Abrahaam and Elia remembered me from the night Ingrid, Michelle, Shaq and I sang 'Embelel Enkai' with them and we laughed so much with them that night. They really wanted to speak you guys and said to say a big hello. They enjoyed that night so much as well. I had some photos with me from last year and they were all pointing out who they remembered from our tour group.

I still had bad diarrhoea so they made me try a maasai soup 'medicine' made from meat. It tasted so weird but it actually worked! I'd been taking Immodium for 3 days and it wasn't working, but from the time I had the soup, my stomach was fine!

During the 8 days we were there in Engaruka we experienced 9 earthquakes!! They ranged from 4 to 6.2 on the richter scale! We began to even imagine the ground was shaking when it wasn't because we had so many earthquakes. You never knew when it was going to happen, sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes during the night. The biggest one was quiet scary, we were outside but the cars and buildings were shaking and the ground was shaking side to side so much. It's a really scary feeling because there's nothing you can do but wait. None of them felt as big as the one I had in Uganda but I think because it lasted for over a minute it felt worse. These ones in Tanzania caused the Oldonyo Lengai volcano to start erupting slightly and all the nearby maasai were told to leave their villages but so far they have refused. They say it's god and he's angry and they can't leave their land. So now I've experienced 11 earthquakes!!

Mathayo, Abi and his mum were so hospitable during my time there. I saw so many places that we didn't go to last year.. you can see in the photos... I also met Mathayo's Mum who is 105!! We were told about a maasai man who has 10 wives and we saw an 8 yr old girl who just got married! We played football and I gave my old football boots to a young boy who plays for Engaruka FC. I gave my shin pads to my friend Emmanuely. Everyone was fascinated by them as they've never seen shinpads before.

So now I'm here back on Zanzibar for a couple of weeks before starting volunteering in Dar es Salaam. I've noticed quite a difference between the people here and in Uganda. The kids in Uganda were much more polite and friendly and even the general attitude of adults was a bit more friendly and helpful in Uganda. I can't generalise about everyone, but Uganda is certainly a very lovely country. I miss the people, village, school kids and I think about Kisakye, Menya, Kalume, their sister Naiga and their Mum. I hope she has started on her ARV drugs now and I always wonder how they will ever get money for food, clothes and general living neccessaties.