We are into the final stretch of this trip. Today is another lovely day at Kilimanjaro Union Café doing computer work related to the project and a few other things I need to do. Therefore, today’s blog will be another entry about my trip to Lushoto.
I stayed at the Irente Farm or the Irente Biodiversity Reserve.
Locally, it is known as the Irente Farm. Anette and Peter Murless are the very kind and knowledge managers there and were wonderful hosts to me. They offer nice rooms at very reasonable rates with wonderful hot showers with tons of water pressure and the prices include a huge breakfast with German dark bread, freshly made jams and cheese, yogurt, veggies, a banana, and your choice of tea or French press coffee. They use a lot of solar power so you have lights when there is no electricity and they work very hard to protect the environment and educate guests and locals.
It was delicious and more food than I could eat. They will also cook a hot dinner for you either vegetarian or with meat for a small price. The picture below is my dinner from the first night, Tuesday.
On Wednesday, I met Flora (a former teacher at the Rainbow School where I did my dissertation research) for tea and then was treated to lunch at Peter and Anette’s house. For dinner, I went to Lutheran Hostel and Restaurant in town for dinner with Mama Munga, the head of SEKUMO, the special needs university where Keith taught the whole year we were in Lushoto and I taught one course. I was invited to dinner to meet some American professors and students from Kansas State who were in town to teach a learning disabilities class at the university. I almost forgot that I met Yassin, the principal of the Rainbow School in the afternoon and Kirsi, the new outreach coordinator at the school.
On Thursday, Flora sent a pikipiki (motorcycle) for me to go from the farm to her house for lunch. I was nervous because I had never ridden on a motorcycle and these dirt paths with ruts from the recent rains and the mountains with their ups and downs are like an Indiana Jones ride. Yes Mom, I wore a helmet. It was fun in the end and I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off, but I will not be adopting this as my method of travel in the future. Below are pictures of her house and some of her neighbor’s kids and her son, Ibra. Her house is located partway down the mountain to town. The pictures are to give people who haven’t been to Tanzania, an idea of what a typical Tanzanian house looks like.
After lunch, we walked to her duka (shop) where she sells various staples such as flour, corn, sugar, tea, soap, steel wool, soda, cigarettes, and other telephone vouchers. Tanzanians are always so hospitable, and will feed you their last bit of food in the house and go hungry, rather than not offer you something when you visit. At Flora’s shop she wanted to give me a soda, but insisted on paying for it. I told her that she had a business to run and I was going to be a paying customer.
Then we walked to she Mama Mashaka’s (her sister) shop on the way to see her nieces and nephews. They are all part of the Shedafa family and I have meet many family members over the years. At Mama Mashaka’s shop, she offered me a soda and maandazi (Tanzanian donuts). I had my soda bottle still, so I just graciously accepted the delicious donuts.
After walking another 30 minutes, we arrived at the Shedafa house where I met more Shedafas I didn’t know and they started cooking me dinner. Unfortunately, I already had plans to eat dinner with Robert (the former Rainbow School principal and friend) so I only took tea. They were very disappointed I didn’t stay for dinner and I was rather embarrassed that they were making me dinner.
We then walked to town to meet Robert and he and I went up to Irente by foot to his house. I was glad to get to walk at least 6 miles that day to make up for all the food I was being served. It was all wonderful, but I was full by the end of the day. Robert’s wife had cooked a lovely meal for me as well. It was nice to see his wife and daughter and meet his new son.
On Friday, I went to the Blind School for the celebration I talked about in yesterday’s blog and had dinner with Kirsi, Petros, and Yassin.
On Saturday morning, Anette and Peter were going to Moshi so I was able to get a ride with them and that was very kind. I was glad not to have to ride the bus again.
I ate my way through Lushoto last week with the wonderful generosity of all my friends. I could have gone to the houses of several Rainbow School parents who I saw as well, but my time was just too short.
A really great visit!