Tanzania: Arusha National Park and Edward


Sitting by the USA (oosa) River watching the sun set on giant ficus trees, listening to unfamiliar bird calls and the afternoon call to prayer from the village mosque, waiting for the blue monkeys to swing back through the trees.

I haven’t seen an instrument or musician yet, but there is music in Tanzania from the birds and the waterfalls to the Swahili language and names–Ngorongoro (the N is silent), Kilimanjaro, Manyora, Kidero – consonants and vowels make their own melody like the indian names in Alabama and Mississippi.

In the villages around Arusha National Park, men slash back the weeds with machetes, children walk to school in green or blue uniforms, and small fields of corn bananas, and coffee grow along the road. Goats and cows are tethered in yards and clothes hang on clotheslines tied between houses and trees.

In the park, zebras push, charge, and climb on each other, warthogs lie with water buffalo, baboons run fast to catch their group, and giraffes have no fear of predators.  The afternoon sun burns off the clouds and the peak of Kilimanjaro touches the sky. We left our Land Rover with the pop up top to hike across the plains and walk close to the animals. Close enough to step in fresh giraffe poop, watch the water buffalo watching us, and feel the scrapes and pricks of the black thorn bush.  We were in their world.

Lesson learned today was pay attention to where I am standing. I took pictures of millions of ants flowing through the deep trenches they had worn in the dirt. I did not see the ants that were outside the trench before they were in my shoes and up my legs, pinching all the way. The lodge security guard saw the end of this and picked every ant out of my shoes.  Edward didn’t understand anything I said. He just took care of me. People are like that here too.