We have completed our first safari. Even though it was only four days, three actually seeing the animals, both Barbara and I regard it as the best trip we have ever had. I am rarely not easily organized to write these posts, but, in this instance, I do not even know where to begin. I think I learned more since last Friday than I have ever learned in such a short period with the exception of my first three days in law school. I think it will take several posts over the next several days to set forth even the highlights.
First, all I knew about Tanzania was that it was in Africa. The country has a population of 60 million, many of whom, live in poverty without even electricity or indoor plumbing.
The educated speak letter perfect English, but the native language is Swahili. Since my Swahili is more than a little rusty I could not understand much of anything unless spoken to in English.
Tanzania has its first woman President who is very popular and making great strides in raising the standard of living throughout the rural areas which comprise a large percentage of the entire country. She was not elected, but was Vice-President and assumed the office when the President died. However, it appears almost certain that she will win the next election.
Not every child goes to school. One child has the job of taking care of the animals which they do as early as age 3. There are cows everywhere, not sacred cows. Meat is so popular that our guide told us it is almost impossible to find a vegan in the entire country.
Corn and bean are grown everywhere. We stopped at a roadside stand and I had an ear of corn. Cost was two cents. One can buy either hard corn or soft corn. Polenta and bananas are diet staples, but local cuisine is not served in the high end tourist hotels. Since all our meals were included with our accommodations, we did not get to experience much of what the natives eat. However, we befriended our chef Saturday night and Sunday morning at 6 a.m., he had a typical breakfast sent to our room.
I found this interesting. Most of the marathons in the world are won by Kenyans. Kenya is one of the many countries bordering Tanzania. I asked our guide why Tanzania and other nearby nations did not produce great long distance runners. He explained that long distance running is a way of life in Kenya. It is a required course in all the schools.
Kenya is very hilly and the other conditions which exist are such that when runners from Kenya run in the Boston or New York Marathons, it is almost like a walk-in the park if our guide had it right, runners from other countries almost have no chance.
Speaking of walking, there are very few cars, motor bikes or bicycles in Tanzania. Everyone walks everywhere. Little kids can walk three miles to school and back. No one in Tanzania has to check to see if they getting their 10, 000 steps. There are some cell phones, a few televisions but, for more than half a country, it takes a full day to gather water and another full day to gather firewood. Bottled water, even chocolate bars￼ are an unheard of luxury for millions.
It is now 7:30 Sunday night for us and we are going to dinner. I hope many of of you enjoyed a few pictures I posted. However, they do not begin to depict the spectacular experience of a trip like this which only those who have done it can understand,
See you tomorrow. At least that is my plan.