Our bags are packed...well mine are almost packed. We have planned for a possible interruption in getting home due to snow and having extra clothing in our carry-on is part of that. This morning we went to Ngateu to say our final goodbyes. We are so happy to have come we are sad to leave. Our lives are not just connected to the school, we are intertwined. Us to them and them to us. We are one. This makes parting bitter sweet. We will be home with our families in a few days which leads us forward again in our own migration, nose to tail. Pray that our connecting flights connect. Enjoy he slide show.
Once again Earla's pajamas have played a role in the trip activities. To refresh your memory, Earla benefitted from the requirement that Kristina check her carry-on luggage. At the Seattle gate Mary and Kate graciously emptied most of their extra clothes and hygiene items into Kristina's bag to be checked to make room for the items she did not trust to be checked. Earla stood by and watched. Of Haldor I have no information. Since no good deed goes unpunished, Kate, Mary and Kristina were without the extra items and Earla wore pajamas when we missed our connection in SF!
So...it is Saturday evening before our flight home and we have just returned from a very busy day. In the morning Mary and Earla walked to the school to meet with the "hostel kids". There are 34 students who live in hostels near the school who have no money for food. All students get a nutritious lunch but these kids had no food on the weekend or evening until Safi created a fund to provide a voucher system at a local market where they can get food supplies to cook themselves. If you wish to contribute to this fund you can send you contribution marked 'hostel kids'.
Kristina and Kate filmed a video with two former Ngateu students who are now studying at university. Haldor and our driver Agnal went into town to buy trees as a housewarming gift for a teacher.
At noon we visited this teacher at his home and met his wife. He recently completed the construction which took a few years. We were served a delicious lunch of meat and banana stew and avocados. We gave our gift of the trees acquired by Haldor.
We then met David Mtui who took us to see his experimental zero grazing farm of two acres. He has planted various grasses and plants that provide fodder for cows and goats. It was beautiful and his explanations informative. It was very dusty and we were quite a sight leaving the farm!
However, we proceeded to Kahn's barbeque for dinner in our dirty, dusty condition. Kahn's is an experience not to be missed. By day it is an auto parts store. By night it is a take-out barbeque. Tables and benches are set up on the sidewalk. They serve delicious chicken tikka and a variety of salads that range from plain to very spicy. It is very popular.
Now, to return to the pajama story. Upon returning to the lodge Earla goes to her room and takes a shower after waiting ten minutes for the water to heat after turning the switch. She emerges from the shower dressed in her pajamas and Mary knocks on the door. Earla, you must come down to the common area. The batik artist has arrived with the batiks for Mary's brother Wayne. I must come see them. So I drape a shawl elegantly across my shoulders and proceed down in my pajamas. The batiks are beautiful and he has others available for purchase. Earla selects two large and one small and pays him based on a price he gave her. Kristina and Mary then purchase but are charged a price 5,000 shillings more for the same item I had purchased. Once again the pajamas proved to have a magic property reserved only for Earla! I have packed them in my carry-on and time will tell if they are needed on the trip home. Earla
Solar is up. Teacher pictures taken, Student pictures taken ,Wi-Fi improvements to the offices are in motion, post secondary interviews are videoed, hats and cars and balls are distributed and thanks to everyone's preparation and support. Plus lots of visiting and seeing new things, even for those who have been here before.
The best story on the solar was that right after the computer lab was hooked up, the grid power went down. The Secretary needed to fill out a form and print it. It would be late if they waited for Tenesco power so.....they packed up her computer and printer and moved it to the computer lab where solar power is up and running. The form was filled out and submitted timely. Ta Da!
Student class sizes and attendance are amazing. We took classic class pictures and form 3 has 49 students! They come to class. They come to learn. It is the beginning of the term, a time when students often drag in to school. NOT NGATEU!
We are off to Jean's 71st birthday (she loves to say that) Enjoy the slide show.
Mourning was over in the morning as we drove out into safari country. We had it good - great driver, homemade cookies for snacks, cold pop and beer for lunch, wonderful company. Ngorogoro Crater was first - cape buffalo peering at us from the roadside - rather like a painting David has done, and then zebra and wildebeest and gazelles and warthogs AND 42 lions 4 rhinos, pool full of hippos, hundreds of crown crested cranes, hyena,jackals, and baby wildebeest! it seemed as if every mother had a baby with her. We were in awe. And, there were very few vehicles - we had the lunch spot to ourselves for awhile. Daudi, our driver, said it is due to the ebola scare that there are fewer tourists than usual. It's been great for us.
On to another new experience - Flycatcher's mobile camp. It's a cross between camping and Tarangire permanent tents. The tents are fully enclosed, toilet inside ( some campers would definitely prefer this -:) ) and a shower inside. Everything runs on solar - food is excellent, great staff and the best beds!
And, we were between Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek. So we drove for 5 minutes in the morning to view the lions that roared all night, watched and watched and watched the wildebeast and zebra come to drink from the pool. The whole migration thing was more than I'd ever seen. We kept shaking our heads in wonder at the numbers of animals coming into this area.. So, the wildebeest, zebra and gazelle are in this huge ( 2.3 million - we only saw 1.8 million , i think.) event. Truly a wonder.
We, and 30 other land-rovers, found a BIG leopard in a tree, with a recent kill above it. ( gazelle) we watched for a very long time - marveling at how this animal could carry this other animal up the tree.And we saw more hippos, with new babies - one all pink!
I think you get the idea - it was an amazing safari!
We are winding down - it's gone very fast. Jean's birthday tonight, school for goodbyes tomorrow, hugs for lots of wonderful students and other friends.
We also met with the "starvation kids" more on that soon.
Well the 12s were strong at 1:30 in the morning to see the game from start to finish at the Arusha hotel. We took a group pic at half time and felt confident. Alas, it is a game and it didn't fall our way. Congratulations to the Patriot fans. It was fun and we shuffled back to Freedom Lodge as the sun was rising. We met some nice people. Then we grabbed a few hours sleep and shuttled off to Tamiha Orphan Project where we handed out hats, cars and other donations. There were over 70 kids there today at the nursery school It looked like 84 signed in. We got hats to almost all of them and hot wheels to everyone. One little girl came running up to me to give me (and to get) a big hug of thanks. Wow.
Sixteen of the kids live at the school and the rest are in the community. There are many more than 70 in the pre-school level. We don't have a count of the kids who are already in primary school and beyond as they were in school when we visited. They have a small beginning but with education they can go far. Tamiha watches over them and they are not dropping through the cracks.
Tomorrow it is off the the Serengeti, to a new place for all of us. I'm leaving the laptop behind and will post after we return. It seems impossible but we will start flying home on the 9th. Too quick. Too much to do.
I still say Go Hawks.
Tarengiri Safari Lodge is a wonderful place to stay but there was way too much to do to blog. Safari, eat, chat, swim, and the most favorite of all, sit on the veranda and watch the world go by. Connectivity was an issue too. It was hot but there was one storm that blew and thundered through. In a few hours we will attend a Seahawks Superbowl showing at the Arusha Hotel (1:30 a.m. here). It is time to shower and get into our gear. GO HAWKS!
I know many of you are waiting for pictures so here are a few. Kristina