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Archive for August, 2006

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You don’t see this everyday!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Last night we camped on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Wildlife routinely pass through the campground, and I woke up this morning to find this outside my tent:

Overland in Africa

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

It’s now been 14 days since I joined the overland trip to Capetown. The tour is operated by a UK company called Bukima, and they do trips of varying lengths all through Africa. Some are as short as four days, others as long as 30 weeks. My trip is called African Contrasts, and it is a 7 week tour from Nairobi to Capetown (I actually skipped Nairobi, and met the group in
Arusha on their first night instead). On the way to Capetown we travel through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, seeing such sights as Zanzibar, Lake Malawi, Lake Kariba, Victoris Falls, and Fish River Canyon. Some of the people on this trip are on for just four weeks, others for seven weeks, and a couple for ten weeks, having been on an adjoining three week trip to Uganda just prior.

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Impressions of Moshi Town

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Apart from my Kili climb and safari with MEM, I spent a total of 3 1/2 weeks in Moshi just hanging out and getting to know the town. A good part of that was spent working with KPAP, but the rest of the time I wandered around town checking out the various restaurants, internet cafes, and shops, and practicing Swahili with some of the hawkers that frequented the main road in front of my hotel.

At my hotel I also had the good fortune of meeting a group of American kids, Laura, Gina, Daisy, and Joseph, and their Tanzanian friend Dennis. They were spending 5 weeks in Moshi volunteering at Amani Childrens Home, a home for orphans and street kids. The day after Kristen arrived in Moshi, Laura invited us to join them when they went to the school that afternoon. The school was a 45 minute walk from our hotel, through the outskirts of town. It was a nice day for a walk and fun to get out of the tourist section of town. When we arrived at Amani we were immediately greeted by several of the children. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, most of these kids seemed happy. Many of the younger ones ran up to us and gave us hugs, others played football in the small courtyard, and others did their chores. It was in stark contrast to being in the tourist parts of town where many of the young children view you only as a rich foreigner who they can ask for money.

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“I heard the Gnus today, Oh Boy…”

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

It’s been a busy few weeks, and I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. Since my Kili climb I’ve been on safari and seen the Big Five up close (Buffalo, Elephants, Leopards, Lions, and Rhinos), spent another week and a half in Moshi relaxing and working with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistnace Project, and last weekend joined a dozen other travelers on an overland trip to Capetown. Right now I’m chilling out in Zanzibar, an island paradise off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean.

So where to start? I guess I’ll fill you in on the Safari first, and save my thoughts on Moshi and the details of my overland trip for separate posts.

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The Roof of Africa

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai,’ the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen thawed carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”

– Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1938


On the morning of July 29th, after 5 1/2 very long days of hiking and camping, I finally reached Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the highest point in Africa. Uhuru means “freedom” in Swahili, and the name fits. One reason I’m even on this crazy trip is because I read an article about Mt. Kilimanjaro in a magazine last year and decided it would be fun to try. So there I was, after five months of traveling thousands of miles in several countries, stepping onto the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and experiencing it’s awesome presence firsthand. It was a beautiful, breathtaking (literally), moving experience. And I felt truly free. I know now that I really am free to do anything I want, I only have to take that first step.

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