Got up early again and finished packing – everything. We were leaving Karatu after breakfast headed back to Twiga House in Moshi for our goodbye dinner.
There was still some anticipation though as we also planning to do some much put off shopping along the way…After our last breakfast prepared by our cooks, we piled into our now clean Land Cruisers (Godlove had them cleaned and washed to remove all the road dust overnight). In my vehicle, we settled back in to what had become the defacto seating organization. I was still charging batteries for several of the groups cameras on the ac power strip in the vehicle (an excellent thing to have known about and counted on). The Sony cameras really went through batteries every day and this had become quite a ritual.
We headed east out of Karatu on a road that was now familiar. After a while, we pulled into the ‘cheaper’ of two tourist shops. As usual we were greeted by the staff, but what wasn’t clear to me was that each of us (mostly) were allocated one guide(?) to assist us in finding what we needed in the large store. Oh, and my guide was more than happy to sell me things I didn’t particularly want either. This also was the first store were we saw some of the local mineral Tanzanite on display. Purchases in hand, I made my retreat to our vehicle. It’s hard to describe what they had there but I was glad I could not bring back the 6 foot carvings of critters or people. the paintings though…great African stuff on frames. I found out that they would just remove it from the frame, roll it up, so that you could bring it home. Cool as they were, I passed on the art.
Back into the vehicles, we drove a bit further to a MUCH larger store were I finished my shopping. This place was really commercial and had a lot of everything including much more Tanzanite jewelry. They had an art gallery too and we were amazed at a 6 foot image of a lion’s head all done in chicken feathers (only $22,000!, um…not today on that one but it was very cool).
Finally back on the road to Moshi again. As we drove east, I was struck how there were so many volcanic rocks strewn over the landscape.
While not identical to Sonoma County where I live, clearly the African volcanoes in the area had left there mark on the landscape.
Continuing on after several hours we stopped again at the hotel/restaurant/gas station near the Kilimanjaro Airport (about an hour out of Moshi) for lunch.
We were greeted there by Sara and Fatuma from EEF. They had set up a nice lunch for us in the hotel. This was because the first of our group, Elizabeth, was leaving right after lunch to meet her husband in Nairobi, Kenya for the other half of her vacation. Sara and Elizabeth talked a lot during lunch as Elizabeth had decided to sponsor an EEF child.
After lunch we said our first goodbyes, huggs, I think a few tears as well. Elizabeth went with Sara and Fatuma to the airport and we headed on to Twiga House in Moshi. Expecting to get to Twiga House, we learned that we had one more stop to make. Salomon – Sara’s husband – wanted to show us his shop. We were led into a building downstairs to a set of rooms filled to the brim with trekking/mountaineering gear – boots, clothes, gloves, etc. Honestly, I believe there was more there in a small space than in my local REI store back home. Wow. Salomon explained that they have been outfitting treks on Mt. Kilimanjaro for the past 15 years. He himself has climbed it (it’s a 19,000 foot peak folks) more than 100 times. The climber in me was greatly interested in this. Do I dare put that on my list of things to do in the future? Not sure, but it would take me a year just to get ready for it. Just for fun, Salomon had us all issued printed water bottles (crud, now I have to figure how to get it home). They are very cool.
Back into our vehicles one last time to Twiga House. Upon arrival we were greeted to the sound of singing and drums by a group of women which also included Sara and Fatuma.
Of course this had been planned and of course we were invited into the group to dance and try to follow the singing. Yes, I did it too, there are incriminating pictures as well. What a lot of fun as the beginning to our goodbye dinner.
After the music Sara, Michael, and Daniel spoke expressing gratitude to the team for coming and doing this. Some of what was said was what you might expect but honestly, the feelings expressed by all three about the purpose of TGL and EEF were genuine. Sara provided a small elephant figure to each of us with EEF and TGL inscribed on it as a symbol of this relationship. The party went on for quite a while but then, tired after the drive and week, we returned to our same rooms as before for packing and departures tomorrow.