Climbing in the Uluguru mountains

Hey all,

So the internet didn’t quite come through as planned for us. We did manage to buy a wireless modem on Friday, but we haven’t been able to get it working yet, so I think we’ll need Makoti to take a look at it on Monday. After that, hopefully, we’ll be online more often.

The last week has gone really well for us. We’ve been interviewing the heads of the different departments that Faraja runs (HIV, MicroCredit, Malaria, street-side school, etc), and once that’s done we’ll be getting into the serious planning for the institutional capacity work plan.

We met a couple German volunteers in town at one of the project sites, and they happen to live right around the corner from us, so that’s working out well. We’ve also been hanging out with Irishad, who lives in the house with us. Here’s a picture of Lonny and him showing off one of the motorcycle rain coats he brought from Dar to sell in Morogoro. It’s designed to cover the driver, passenger, and bike from the rain. I can’t comment on the safety of such an apparatus. Lonny couldn’t read the Chinese on the package, but I’m pretty sure it said “motorcycle rain jacket”. My Chinese is better than I thought.

Yesterday (Saturday) we climbed up into the Uruguru mountains for the day. It was Me, Lonny, Gasto (YCI volunteer), and 3 other guys Lonny knew from his previous time in Morogoro (Steven, Baisa, and Tom).  We got an early start, so we got to see the sun rising over the mountains to the East:

On the trail it was pretty tough going in parts, especially on my knee. But there was some great scenery. It gets pretty rainforesty up in the mountains, as the clouds hang pretty low.

By the time we got to Morningside (maybe 2/3 of the way to the top), I was close to death. Morningside is a 100 year old resort(?) that the Germans built when they were running the show in Tanzania. It was very cool, and covered in vines and flowers (and graffiti). It gives a great view of Morogoro framed between two mountains.

After lunch the rest of the guys made for the top, but I wisely chose to stay at Morningside and wait for them. There’s a local Uluguru man who was acting as the custodian for the week (they rotate shifts, I gather), and I spent the afternoon hanging out with him and some of the other locals who passed by. He ran down to the shop to get food for couple hours, so I had the whole place to myself. I basically spent the afternoon taking pictures, lying in the sun, watching the clouds roll in and out, listening to Bob Marley with the Uluguru people passing through, and just generally chilling harder than I’ve ever chilled before. I don’t regret staying back one iota.

When he got back from the store it turn out he had been buying food for lunch/dinner. The 1500tsh conservation fee that foreigners have to pay probably covered it and then some. Cooking in Moringside was tough since there’s no power and it’s super dark. You can see him using the flashlight feature on his phone (the flash on my camera makes everything look a lot brighter than it was). When all was said and done, we had Ugali, Cabbage, and Stewed Fish.

His friend, mother, and sister came by later on in the afternoon, probably to keep him company. I’m sure he was thrilled to see me there, because apparently there aren’t that many tourists coming by. Imagine safeguarding an isolated building all by yourself for a week without so much as even a radio.

Things got pretty heated up there. A machete fight may have occurred.

Around the time the guys got back from the peak they roasted up some maize. On the way down we saw a mutant duck that looked like it was wearing a Spiderman mask.

All in all a good day.

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