So this will be the last blog entry I write from Arusha. Tomorrow is my last day at my beloved MeruView and I'm back on the bus up to Dar Es Salaam early Thursday. I have no idea where the time has gone and I'll be very sad to leave - this really has turned out to be the best 2 months of my life.
So a couple of weekends ago I went with my friend Anika from the hostel and some of her friends to a Maasai Village called Longido. It was an amazing and pretty insane experience. We left early Friday morning, and even the drive was breathtaking. We drove through what was basically desert, and could see whirlwinds on the sand as we drove along. Arriving at the Maasai village was crazy. The man who took us (Jacob) was a friend of Anika's so it was not a typical "tourist" experience at all. The village or "boma" consisted of 3 women and 3 men and was Jacob's grandmothers village. When we first arrived the villagers looked at us like we were a little crazy - we were staying for 3 days and had brought a 10L pot of water each as well as a ton of food. The woman made us chai - which is basically tea mainly made from cows milk hot water and sugar - it was not my favourite. We spent that afternoon hanging around at the boma. One of the girls who had come with us is a clown at home and she brought some magic tricks and balloons to entertain the kids as well as some facepaint. Anika bought bubbles and the kids absolutely loved it. There was only one woman in the boma who could speak any English as she was the only one to go to school, she had a little girl who cried everytime she saw us because she was so freaked out by our whiteness. In the evenings for dinner we went to this womans hut and she made us rice and beans (which we'd brought with us) and some delicious sauces.
Day 2 in Maasai land we climbed Longido mountain. A few of the Maasai men had advised against it the day before and I honestly thought they just thought we were so super unfit we couldn't cope. What we hadn't realised was that the mountain literally goes straight up. It was quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. We set off early Saturday morning and walked a bit through the African bush before we got to the mountain. About 5 minutes in we were all already dripping with sweat - even that early in the morning the sun was blazing, and we ended up taking rest breakes every 5 metres pretty much the whole way up. The Maasai men cut us walking sticks from the trees which were really life savers as then at least you had something to move all the spiky tree branches away with. We got to what we thought was the top to be told the "top" was the other side. Having got there we discovered that the "top" was actually not the top because there was a whole bit of mountain left to still get to the real top. So we decided that having come this far we had to do it. It wasn't so bad as it wasn't so steep. At one point I got stuck trying to climb up a rock, and I took a lot of coaxing to go up the last bit but getting to the actual top was breathtaking. The view was stunning, added to that there were 3 Maasai men sat on the edge of the rock watching it too, it felt like something from a film. From the top you could also see the Kenyan border which was amazing. Basically the day was absolutely exhausting but so so worth it. When we got back to the boma that night we lay on the mat and watched the stars as food was being cooked. There's no artificial light there and it was the most peaceful experience ever.
So last day at the boma we went trekking through the African bush in search of wildlife. We walked for 5 hours and all started getting pretty tired but it was so worth it when we saw some zebras chilling out in the distance. To see them up close like that was amazing. Then we went off home, and I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a shower more. 3 days of no running water and intense exercise make being clean the best thing in the world!!! That night we had a barbeque to say goodbye to one of our hostel friends.
Since then I haven't done too much very exciting, I've mainly been at the projects and relaxing. One of the couples here donated some money to the Primary school so I got to go shopping to get them stuff which was amazing!!! It's been a pretty intense couple of weeks saying goodbye to all the people who've been here since I arrived, it feels like saying goodbye to family which sucks, but it does now feel at least like its time to move on.
Lots of love to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx