Mama John's family and her neighbors who came to meet us
Mama Kuku was one of our sawadi/gifts from Mama John. She tried to escape several times...imagine me running down the road trying to retrieve her and deal with burly men fixing the car and all the traffic....!!! However we grew to really like her and she kindly laid us a parting gift of a fresh brown egg as we handed her over to Susan's needy friends in Usa River near Arusha. Hopefully she will lay many eggs for them too...and not become their Sunday lunch!
When we were trying hared to get Susan on a bus from Same to Morogoro, I tried to lock the car and broke the key in the door!! We had an eventful day..... this was only one of the many challenges we encountered!
We finally found a mechanic who fashioned a key from a lump of steel he found in his tool box. Using his basic tools and nearly 2 hours later, he created a key which actually started the car but...wouldn't lock the doors. so I had to drive the car all the way to Arusha instead of staying in Moshi as we had originally planned. Meanwhile Susan's helpful man couldn't get her on a bus so she ended up coming to Arusha with us. In Moshi my door flew wide open.... I was so lucky that one of the 100's of cars usually rushing past chose that moment not to be near me!
......I also learned that the electricity had been off for nearly a week at my home in Moro!!! AGAIN my freezer was combusting!! Polly to the rescue as her house-girl, Loveness was getting married and Polly wanted to share the 25 people staying in her house for the weekend!!! (With umeme back on, my house filled with Loveness' family for the weekend .....and the fridge was back on!.... )
Finally in Arusha we met John who had a spare key; bought Susan's ticket to Dodoma ...leaving at 4.30am the next day; settled ourselves into nice little guest house; then found a bar to enjoy a well earned sundowner of a nice red wine, much needed food and laughed the night away as we recounted all the funny little things that had happened to us that day!
Next day we caught a taxi to Melissa's house where Bebe Ester, North and Melissa (TFFT) were excitedly waiting for us! It was great to see them all again.We made a quick visit to The Foundation For Tomorrow's office, met the whole team, and had Adam organise us an overnight visit to his Maasai friends' boma/village the following day. Before the day ended, Phyl and I had shopped happily at the Maasai market and relaxed over lunch with Melissa in the tranquil gardens of The Blue Heron restaurant. We were very happy to find a really nice red wine and pizza just like the ones I love so much at Lunicos back home in Trinity Beach!!
Our Maasai experience.
We left Arusha very excited and not really knowing what our experience was going to bring! We had been given permission to witness the sacred ceremony which celebrates the Circumcision ritual held only every 4 years! Last time Wazungus had asked permission they were refused. Knowing this we felt very privileged as the day unfolded and we were almost ignored. We were so grateful not to be treated as tourists and consequently, to witness this ceremony in its rawness and natural setting. The four,16 year old boys had been circumcised early that morning and were not allowed to (and most likely didn't feel like wanting to...)
join the huge gathering of the Maasai people from the local bomas until the following day. We were very lucky to be allowed to meet and speak with the boys in their boma, very late that day.
Two cows and three goats had been slaughtered for the celebration. The usual diet of the Maasai people consists of milk and cows' blood. It is carefully drained from the neck of the cows and apparently doesn't affect the animal. Their cows are sacred and are an indication of the wealth of the Boma.
The Maasai women move their upper bodies and roll their shoulders rhythmically in their dances which causes their neck adornments to wave in time with their gentle movements. It is mesmerising, beautiful and very typical.
Phyl and I surrounded by Loshiro, who is a member of this boma and works for Bariki, Adam's friend, and his mates.
The elders waiting for the cows and goats to be herded into the central chorale of the Boma. The animals are housed in here at night to ensure they are safe and not eaten by hungry predators. the village is built around the chorale. Most of the dancing rituals during the day had taken place within this central chorale. hanging on the thorny fence is the plant used to make their pombe/alcohol which was consumed freely by the elders throughout the ceremony. Alcohol had been brought in for the celebration but the few men who were obviously affected by their consumption were watched carefully by their peers and gently removed from any potentially embarrassing situations.
The families of the young boys, having offered the beast for slaughter, were busily preparing the skins of the animals to be tanned and used as bedding. all pieces were stretched and allowed to dry. It reminded of my childhood days at home on the farm when we would tan the sheep and rabbit skins. It is a long process but so rewarding!
We returned to Arusha, and headed for the comfort of The Blue Heron to reflect and try and absorb all we had experienced over another glass of that really nice red wine and, of course, we had to do pizza again!!!