More to come about the Hayduke preparations and the journey itself (which starts… oh in about 11 hours). But two weeks ago, Gabriel and I were on route home from three weeks traveling around Tanzania. (It’s been quite an amazing first month of sabbatical.)
We primarily went to Tanzania to see Sarah and get to know the place and community she’s called home the last six years. But since we were in country, why not take in some of the sights? So we did.
As I often find, I go into trips dreaming of mountains, landscapes, animals, wanting to understand the natural history of a place. And this aspect of travel and journey is always satisfying. What surprises me (every time) is that I find the interactions with the people I meet to make for the most powerful impressions. Our guides and climbing team for Kilimanjaro. Suave street artists selling paintings and carvings. Sarah’s friends. Mounds of millet drying in fields next to houses in years long phases of completion. The glimpse into village life as we drove from JRO to Moshi and Musoma to Mwanza. These experiences of meeting people, deepening connections, and understanding are strong in mind.
It’s more complex to find the the words to describe such significance to me. When someone asks, how was your trip and I only have 30 seconds to share a snippet about recent travels, I’m more apt to tell people that a highlight (and it is!) was watching wildebeest frolic along in fresh grasses renewed by the first rains of early migration on the Serengeti. Not explain that highlights of the trip were roadside meals of nyama choma and ugali, dinners shard with our guides. Or greeting Magasa as we left for our evening walk to set the sun, plumeria blossoms fragrant on the well-raked ground.
Hopefully the rich thoughts and memories made from time in Tanzania, will not become buried under the next layers of journey. I’ll try to keep them distilled even as we embark on our walk around southern Utah.
For now, a few pictures.
We were in Tanzania for about three weeks. Week one we spent climbing Kilimanjaro via the Northern Route with an amazing team from Bless Africa Tours. Danny, Lodrick and our crew are incredible people! We are so grateful to have met them! I hope we can share some of Washington’s mountains with Lodrick and Danny someday in the future. For now, may we trade hip hop songs, debate about lions and hyenas, and may Lodrick learn to yodel and may he always have cows around. (I got to introduce him to one of my all time favorite songs!)
Week two was finishing the climb and reunion with Sarah. We kicked off time with Gabriel’s sister by shopping around Moshi (in awe of her fluent Swahili!). Then enjoyed a 4-day safari through Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Serengeti National Park during which time we saw SO. MANY. AMAZING. ANIMALS. (My favorites were the banded mongoose and the honeybadger.)
Week three was time to savor life in Musoma on the southeast shore of Lake Victoria. We enjoyed life at Sarah’s house. Sitting on the porch looking at the lake, meeting her friends and her students (we even got to give them a presentation about Kilimanjaro and its life zones!), running errands in the village, trying many of Tanzania’s beers (Kilimanjaro is our preferred lager, Castle’s Milk Stout wins out overall), and watching sunsets over Lake Victoria. Per a Musoma local, it is Sarah’s job to set the sun.
Our time with Sarah getting to enjoy the rhythms of daily life, the happenings of her students (friendly watermelons and tortoise races) was deeply satisfying and relaxing. And as we were saying good byes to the kind and generous friends we just made, we found it hard to leave Musoma and Tanzania. We hope we return.
But for the time being, prepping for the Hayduke and our fluffy cat beckoned us to come home as planned.