Moshi / Arusha / Earthquake!

Arusha Travel Blog

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16 July 2007
On the Saturday morning (14th) after we were finished volunteering, we woke up at 6am to take a taxi to DarEs Salaam, and then a 9-hour busride to Moshi (where Mt. Kilimanjaro is).
We were in Moshi for a few days.  We got a hostel at the edge of town called the Christian Green Hostel.  We couldn't decide if we liked the woman who ran the hostel, or if she was rubbing us the wrong way ...sounds weird, I know :)  I think she was trying to be sweet, but sometimes we were wondering about her.  It was funny...we by far paid the most for this hostel (about $13/ night), and thought it was the crappiest.  When we had dinner at the center of the city, we realized we could have stayed at an actual hotel (in the center) for cheaper than we were paying!  hehe...oh well.  We made good friends with the geckos and cockroaches ;-)  We did a day hike around a village at the base of Kilimanjaro, and went to a Chagga museum (one of the more prevalent tribes in northern Tanzania), and learned a lot from a sweet Chagga man about life in their culture.  One interesting thing we learned was that the Chagga husband and wife never slept with each other (for fear that if someone came into the hut to harm the family, they never wanted to have the husband and wife both killed).  Even tried some banana beer!  Dad, it kind of tasted like your homebrew a little bit...they make it out of bananas and finger millet (do you know what that is?)  We had a nice time in Moshi....we were a little worried about the highway from Moshi to Arusha, because all the guidebooks said it was dangerous because of the winding, and crazy drivers.  I said prayers the whole way, and then soon had sunflowers lining the road the whole way!  (Remember my sunflower significance?  I feel like God's telling me I'm in the right place....was a nice sign :))  It is very comforting actually.  God is great, isn't He?
17 July 2007
We made it to Arusha...I like it a lot so far...its a much bigger city than Moshi or Bagamoyo, so I think we're a little more spoiled.  Our hostel is definitely nicer...and much cheaper!  Which is funny...We're paying about $5/ night and have our own bathroom (with towels! and hot water!, nice!!  No geckos OR cockroaches either!  We went to the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal this afternoon after checking into our hostel...soo interesting.  These people are being prosecuted now for the Rwanda crimes in the '90s...very cool to be watching the trial.  I guess they started this trial in 1994, and it is still going on.  And in the end, they will have only prosecuted 70 people.  I guess there is some controversy on whether or not it is worth all the money it is taking to do.  I am glad we were able to see it.  The witnesses were hidden behind a curtain, facing away from the audience, but we could see all the UN judges.  We were in a glassed area right outside the courtroom and had headphones of all the dialog being translated into English.  Tomorrow, we have a 'cultural tourism program' planned where we'll get to hike some of Mt. Meru, visit a Masai village, and learn more about the Masai tribe, kind of like we did in Moshi with the Chagga tribe.  I am really glad we decided to come up to northern Tanzania before going to Capetown.  I feel like I'm learning a lot about African culture.  After our few days in Arusha, we are heading back to DarEs Salaam on the 18th, so that we can fly to Capetown on the 19th. 
18 July 2007
We had a great day today...A highlight just happened a few minutes ago!  I think we just had an earthquake!!!  So strange!  We sat down at the internet cafe, and all of the sudden everything started shaking!  The ladies all started running Robbi and I just followed.  So funny!  It couldn't have been much on the Richter scale, but still strange!  (Sidenote after the fact:  We looked it up in the paper, and I guess it was a 6.0 on the Richter scale, and Arusha was the closest city to the epicenter!  Crazy!  I guess it was a little bigger than we thought.  No casualties though, which was good.  The Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal was evacuated because of it for a few hours though!  Strange!...)  The rest of the day was good too!  We had a maasai guide bring us into his village...sooo interesting!  When I asked him how many brothers and sisters he had, he said, "oh....a lot...maybe 25?"  His dad has 5 wives!  And 4 of them live at the same place!  The house they he lived in, there were four other mud huts there for his father's wives...He said the other wife lives at a different location because his dad needed a place to keep his cattle.  It was a beautiful village...right at the base of Mt. Meru.  We did some hiking for awhile up the base, so we had some great views of Mt. Meru and the village below.  Our guide was also married (and had three kids already...he's only 30!), and his wife made us lunch after our hike.  She was really sweet!  When we asked him if he'd have more than one wife, he said he wasn't sure....he said it is really expensive to have so many wives, but maybe he would....Soooo different.  After the tour, Robbi and I took showers with our hot water and clean towels, and then got a few more last-minute gifts at the street markets.  We're already heading back to Dar tomorrow morning...We'll stay overnight in Dar on Wednesday night, and then head to Capetown on Thursday!  Time is going fast....
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photo by: Mikie