Today was really a transfer day for us, driving to Arusha to switch drivers for our ride to Kilimanjaro airport, final destination Kigali, Rwanda.
We stopped along the way to do some shopping for gifts, something we have not done at all since we’ve been here. We found some nice things and negotiated hard!
After lunch in Arusha at a beautiful hotel, we waited for our ride to the airport and the last leg of this amazing adventure.
Along the way, I tried to capture some images of the villages we passed and what we saw of people’s lives here in Tanzania. We passed many, many small villages, all having a similar dusty, rundown look to them. Some villages were busier than others, but in every case, there were women with children on their backs and baskets on their heads; men pushing wheel barrows filled with sacks of food, building materials, bamboo and more; donkeys, sheep, goats and cows roaming, and boda bodas (motorcycles) waiting for customers to drive somewhere. Donkeys in Tanzania have a hard life; they are used to carry ungodly loads long distances, from food to huge bundles of firewood, and who knows what else. It’s hard not to feel sorry for their lot in life.
The low cement buildings are always painted in pastel colors like blue, pink and yellow, and the paint is always chipped and peeling. Next to the buildings, randomly placed, are small sheds made of sticks that are inevitably falling down, falling apart or caving in. Many of the villages have restaurants that serve food, so there are plastic tables and chairs sitting outside. There are businesses with goods to sell, and the goods are hanging outside the store fronts or sitting on the ground in front. Every single town has a Coca-Cola sign, or many of them.
Most noteworthy is that in every town, along every road leading to a town, people are always walking along the roads. You can’t drive far without seeing groups of school children of all ages, running along the road to or from school, with their backpacks on their backs and wearing their school uniforms. All of the children wear uniforms, meaning they have matching shirts or sweaters. The women walking along the roads carry their loads on their heads and their babies on their backs. The men have heavy loads strapped to bicycles and then they push the bicycles along the road. It’s a hard life when you don’t have the conveniences of cars, trucks or other transportation. They do what they have to, walking in plastic sandals or flat shoes, no benefit of comfortable walking shoes.
And so we leave Tanzania, with its abundance of spectacular wildlife and breathtaking mountains. It is the natural source of the precious Tanzanite stone, and home to the world’s finest coffee plantations. Sadly though, it is still a country with much poverty due to corruption in government (although better off than Uganda), but rich in so many ways. We will never forget our experiences in this amazing country of the Serengeti.