Author Archives: jordinbillinghurst

Monduli Village

What an amazing weekend. On Saturday morning, the entire group of students (from both Grand Valley and Purdue) traveled to Monduli, a village predominantly composed of Maasai warriors. Similar to the previous weekend in Mulala, we participated in a cultural tourism program and camped overnight in the backyard of an original Maasai warrior. When first arriving in Monduli, we drove past the center of the village, as well as the Masaai market. It was really interesting to see how different and deserted the downtown area was compared to other towns we have encountered in Tanzania thus far. Most of the warriors smiled and/or waved when we passed through, however no conversation was engaged. We then arrived at our destination, placed our bags in the tents and embarked on a 12.4 mile hike to Rift Valley. Our guide, Jackson, lead us up and down paths of red clay to our destination, informing us of the traditional Maasai practices and other interesting bits of information along the way. We learned that the Maasai are friends with the animals, and therefore try to use their cattle for more than just meat. However we did learn that the Maasai commonly drink blood straight from their cattle. This made us a little nervous for dinner; thankfully we were only served water, coffee and tea. After the hike, a few of us climbed a hill behind the campsite to check out a Maasai secondary school. Although we were not allowed to enter the grounds, the sunset that we got to view at the top of the hill was beautiful. On the way down we even got a personal tour of a true Tanzanian hut. After arriving back at the campsite and eating a delicious dinner of vegetable soup and rice, we proceeded to the campfire. We were all pretty exhausted from our hike, therefore it was great to sit back and relax around the fire. We listened to the program director tell us stories of the different Maasai warrior ranks, as well as the meanings of the different colored robes (Maasai warriors typically wear red because it symbolizes danger). We all cashed in pretty early and were up and ready to start a new day at 8am on Sunday. After breakfast we embarked on yet another hiking journey, the objective being to reach the top of Mount Tarosero. Each time we reached a peak of the mountain (thinking we were at the top), we realized that there was still another peak to be climbed. This happened several times and some of us were struggling to continue. Most of us were not used to this intense physical activity and many of our legs were still sore from the previous hike, however we really bonded as a group and eventually all made it to the top. The view at the top was breathtaking. Words and pictures cannot fully describe how amazing it felt to reach the top. We stayed at the top for quite some time, taking pictures and reflecting on the beauty of Tanzania (most of us didn’t want to descend). However we were happy to find that the hike down the mountain required much less effort than the hike up. We then returned back to our campsite, ate lunch, packed up our things, and headed back to Arusha. On the way back we stopped at Shanga, a neat little glass workshop/boutique that aimed to provide jobs for the mentally disabled of Tanzania. The items to purchase ranged from beaded class necklaces to Christmas ornaments to coffee bags. When arriving back at the Outpost, we all jumped in the showers. I have never seen so much dirt and dust on one group of people. Yet again, another very successful weekend.

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Chakula

Surprisingly, I have been much more open to trying the food in Tanzania than I initially thought. We have been exposed to a variety of foods, ranging from potato wedges to pumpkin soup to coconut rice. When eating at the Blue Herron, an American-styled restaurant that we have taken a liking to, the food choices range from thai chicken bowls to wood fired personal pizzas to beef ravioli. The Outpost Lodge, the place we are staying for the duration of the trip, has done an excellent job in accommodating their meals for us. They have worked to prepare meals that include American cuisine, as well as some traditional African dishes. These dishes include beef and carrot stew, ugali (maize and water cooked to a dough-like consistency), cabbage and cooked vegetables. We have come to the conclusion that the Tanzanian diet includes a number of different starches and vegetables. The street vendors also sell a variety of different home-cooked snacks. During each walk that we have taken into the city of Arusha, we have seen locals selling roasted peanuts, grilled corn on the cob and fresh fruit. The chakula (food) has greatly increased our knowledge of the Tanzanian culture and is settling with some better than others to say the least..