Sunday, July 22, 2012

Camping Trip-Day 4 & 5

I have to finish writing up the camping trip, otherwise I'll never do it! And we've been home over a week now. Here's the last installment:

On the last morning at our little camp ground it was so windy it's hard to believe that we didn't just completely blow away. Like on the previous days we started with Mass. But it was too windy to do it outside, so we all squeezed into a tent. Can't say I've ever attended Mass in a tent before.

It was so windy we had to say Mass in a tent
Poor Mike was trying to concentrate and the wind kept whipping the tent and hitting him in the head.

After Mass and breakfast we took down our camp and began the journey out of the bush. First, we stopped at a family's house to visit and pick up their daughter for school. There is a school for children in nomadic families out toward one of the cities. Fr. Dan has 3 girls that he helps with school fees and transportation to this school. Their break was over so he wanted to bring the 3 girls back with us while we were headed in that direction. Unfortunately, the girl at the first house wasn't able to go back to school just yet. Not exactly sure why, but hopefully she'll return in the future.

Fr. Mike steals a baby
Mike visits with a baby while we wait for the girl, who ended up not going with us.

Since we had some time to spare we took a detour and went to the salt flats. The people use the salt from Lake Eyasi and harvest it to sell. They dam the water in some places and when the water evaporates, you've got salt! Scrape it up and you're ready to go.

We visited the salt flats along the lake
Mike and John and seemingly endless space beyond.

Once enough salt rises to the top it's harvested
It was so windy Mike had to hold his hat on.

It's gotta be tough work. Hard winds, dry conditions. At least the sun keeps it cool.
Where the workers are scraping salt from the dammed areas.

After the salt flats we picked up the other 2 girls who were returning to school and went to a small town where Fr. Dan works.

We stopped along our route to pick up a student who was returning to school. We ended up taking some of her family along as well.
You can't just pick up one person. Their family has to come along too.

Dan works in the small town of Magalata doing Pastoral work and beekeeping. He has a 1 room house, a place to say Mass, and a small yard. It was really great to visit here because many of the members of the small Christian community came out to say hello. They visited a while, cooked dinner for us, and said prayers. They were a really amazing bunch of people! I wish I was able to communicate more with them.

Houses in Magalata
Some houses around Magalata.

Waiting outside Dan's house for dinner to start
Sitting outside Dan's house inside his compound with members of the community. The girl on the far left in the blue dress and the other girl on the far right in the red shirt were the 2 girls going back to school.

Fatuma and her daughter

A member of the community in Magalata

Esther is sort of a matriarch in the community. She was so nice and really chatty. And so pretty! I was memorized by her facial scars.

That night we slept out under the stars in Dan's compound. I was so tired and my eyes were so swollen and sore from the dust and sun, I had to work hard to really appreciate it. But we saw a few shooting stars and I slept more soundly than I ever would've thought I could have in the outdoors.

Our "bedroom" for the night.

The next morning we started bright and early again with Mass. The community came back to join us and Mass was said in their local language.

Mass on Friday

After Mass we ate the most delicious breakfast ever--mandazis and chai.

Kids eating
A ton of the community came by and it was great to see that everyone was fed, no matter whether they were Christian or not.

We headed out from Magalata fairly quickly because we had a long journey ahead of us. We first had to drop Dan, Hong, and John in Ndoleleji. Then we had to drop the 2 schoolgirls off at the tarmac before heading to Mwanza. Poor Liz and Mike had even further to go, as they had to drive from Mwanza to Musoma, another couple of hours. Luckily, Mike had the joy of hugging a baobab to sustain him for the remainder of the journey.

Chris and Mike fulfilling their wish to hug a baobab tree

A big thank you to Liz and Dan without whom this trip would never have happened. And big ups to Dan and John. I hope I'm still going this strong when I'm in my 80's!

Dan and Mike, our fearless leaders, back in Ndoleleji

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