June 26. Hiking….eating….socialising…eating..and a loooong walk!!

Susan and I, together with Daniel our guide and the trainee guide, Ann, climbed our way into the mountains.
The first German built church; local dukas (shops);
the secondary school; a newer bigger church to accommodate the larger population;
Monday = Public works Day = All the community are building a new road into the mountain top to carry the dead to a hilltop cemetery. Small groups of man and women working, burning firs to heat the huge rocks then split them apart to remove them, trees being chopped down etc…clearing the land preparing for machinery to come later; up through the thick rain forest, many varieties of trees, fruit plantations, wild strawberries, peppermint and guava; bricks drying waiting to fire,
the natural Healer’s Boma; finally the Malameni Cave where the women & children hid whilst the men fought the Maasai years ago and today the Mbaga villagers offer prayers for the fulfillment of their wishes.;

We snacked at Malameni Rock. This huge rock, about 70 meters high, was used for killing abnormal children because they were believed to be carrying evil spirits. They were either left on it to die or thrown over the edge to join the spirits It is very sacred and imposing! Susan, not so good with heights, slid herself along the ledge on which we sat, to obtain the breathtaking views.

Again, just like in the French Alps, I was in my element….on top of the world …..this time in Africa!!

 Having reached the road back to Tona, we were given a cob of roasted mahindi by local road side seller who was very happy to meet us!
 A familiar sight of the structures built to fire the mudbricks before using them to build a house. The bricks are piled on top of each other; the structure is smothered in grasses then two fires are lit in the openings at the base. This gently dries them out hardens them.

Downwards and homebound, we explored the waterfalls and bush bashed our way through eucalyptus plantations…the smell made me rather homesick!
The descent was certainly a good leg workout!….Back at Tona we joined Phyl for a huge satisfying lunch after which we climbed a short way down the hill to meet Monica’s family. Her daughter, Love, had mad a big pot of Maize and beans.
We discovered that when you visit it inevitably involves sharing chai or food…
Having just finished a big lunch we had to politely eat again. It is also rude not to partake in a second helping as it will offend the cook!!....so we ate with these beautiful, warm and humble people.
Fortunately we had arranged to visit John’s mother so headed off, walking off our food and enjoying the views on our descent. Unbeknown to us when we started that the walk was going to take us 2½ hours!
“It must be just after the next church……It must be around the next corner…..”
A search party had been sent to find us and we gratefully welcomed Denis and David, young members of John’s family, and followed them to Mama John’s home where they, too, lived.
We were given a royal welcome by all the neighbors and again fed with venison, rice, bean,s fruit, chai mazewa (Milk tea)

We greeted, ate, greeted, took photos and had to say farewell just as the sun was setting…but not before Mama John had bestowed upon us a sawadi (a present representing her friendship) of beans, bananas and a LIVE chicken! We decided to collect our sawadi as we drove down the hill the following day
We were met by Daniel and Ann and accompanied on the 2 ½ hr walk back up the hill. Monica had another meal ready for us and surprisingly….we had room for her wonderful chappati.!
We fell into bed happily exhausted!

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