Today We Go Pole Pole

” Today we go pole pole, because of bad roads ” 

These were the words with which Rashid, our guide  for the next five days, while travelling through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, greeted us. Pole pole means slowly in Swahili and were words we would often hear during our stay in Tanzania.  Little did we however  understand the real meaning of his words, nor the reason why all safari vehicles are equipped with not one but two spare wheels.

The vehicle in which we  would  spend at least eight hours each day
The vehicle in which we would spend at least eight hours each day

First we had to buy water, as no water could be drank except bottled water. Then we set off on the long slow journey to Lake Manyara where we were to stay overnight. We soon  realised  why going slowly was neccessary as we bumped along on a mercilessly rocky road stretching endlessly ahead with nothing to see but grassy plains and the occasional herd of cattle.

The dirt road stretching endlessly ahead
The dirt road stretching endlessly ahead

After about three hours of enduring dust and a vigorous bumping massage, the scenery started changing as we entered the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.The terrain is hilly and due to the fact that we visited at the end of the rainy season the hills were covered in green grass and small yellow flowers.

This area is not a national park and the Masaai people still live here with their cattle alongside wild animals, giving rise to the unfamiliar sight of cattle herded by young Masaai boys dressed in traditional red blankets, carrying a sharpened stick to ward off predators, grazing peacefully in the midst of giraffe and other antilope. The only conflict we saw was a mangy Masaai dog chasing a jackall, who tried its  luck to catch something for dinner, across the road.

Masaai cattle on the way to the village for the night
Masaai cattle on the way to the village for the night
Masaai village
Masaai village

With tired bodies and feeling very dusty we reached  Lake Manyara  National Park. This park consists of an alkaline lake surrounded by dense forests and grassy plains.It is home to many baboons, monkeys, elephant, giraffe, hippos, birds in abundance of which the pink flamingo is the  most spectacular and even the small dikdik antelope.  Lunch was a packed picnic on a hill overlooking the lake.

We reached our hotel late in the afternoon where we were greeted with a friendly “karibo “ ( welcome), a warm wet facecloth to wipe away the day’s dust and juice to quench  our thirst.

Our first pole pole day was filled with new sights and sounds, leaving us slightly overstimulated and in awe of our majestic surroundings.

Lake Manyara from the hotel room
Lake Manyara from the hotel room

We went to bed looking forward to the next few days of our safari, of which I will report in follow up posts.

The L List Living: S – Equals Serengeti Before Sixty

In August 2012 I wrote a post titled The L list.  http://wp.me/p2BDQm-8y 17/08/2012

The L List is my living, laughing, loving list, a personalized version of a bucket list.

One of the to do things on my living list was to visit the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Conservation Areas in Tanzania.

About a year ago, I was asked the question :“What would you like to do before you turn sixty next year?”  

My answer was : ” To visit the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Conservation Area.”

Serengeti 1

That was the day we started saving to enable us to take this trip. Now about 12 months later  the trip is on the verge of happening.

Flight tickets and accommodation are booked, passports checked, visas obtained an the all important yellow card updated.

paspoort

We first fly to  Dar Es Salaam for a short visit with the children, then on to Arusha,the Serengeti and Ngorogoro, then back to Dar Es Salaam and to end the trip we will spend  five days on Zanzibar .

So for the next few weeks we will be travelling and  my blog voice will be quiet. However  look out when I come back as I will be filled with new experiences, have  lots of pictures and I am sure many stories to tell.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

When I look around me the whole world  is filled with patterns some are breathtakingly beautiful, some are unexpected, some are scary and some appear randomly for those to see who keep their eyes and senses open to the world around them.

I was waiting for someone in the parking lot of a local store after an early morning rainshower when I noticed this pattern made by raindrops on the windscreen of my car.

raindrops 2

raindrops 1

Decisions Decisions. Which Books Would I Not Leave Behind ?

When I read the post Future Challenge: What Are Your Most Precious Books, it challenged me to think about something that I don’t want to think about yet.

Which books  would I take with if I had to move to a much smaller home?

After much thought, I came to the following conclusion.

As most books are easily available today in some form or another and are easy to store in an electronic format, the books to take along must be those which can not be replaced.

With this established I looked at the books in my possession again and the first one that is a not leaving behind book is this one which evoked these memories while paging through its crumbling pages.

book keep 1

I remember cold winter days on the Highveld. Outside the air is crisp and freezing, the grass is yellow after many nights of frost. The water in the dog’s bowl has a thin layer of ice on top, waiting for the weak winter sun to melt it. Inside, the kitchen is warm and welcoming, heated by the old Aga coal stove in the corner.

Around the kitchen table my mother, sister and I are busy baking cookies to take along on our annual visit to the Kruger Park. On the table lies her trusted recipe book with hand written recipes, notes in the sidelines and many blotches to testify of hours spent preparing meals, baking and preserving fresh produce in her kitchen.

There are  many books which I love to read again and again as I grew up with books and learnt to love reading from a young age. However, if I had to choose, besides my well read and falling apart Bible, I would take this recipe book with me wherever I go. It epitomizes my mother, her character, her love of cooking and baking and the many happy hours spent helping her in the kitchen.

In short it is a symbol of my childhood.

book keep 3-horz

Unopened Gifts Contain Hope

fabric3-horz

“I don’t know what’s in the box, but I love it. Unopened gifts contain hope.
”
Jarod Kintz, This Book Title is Invincible.

Receiving a gift is receiving hope. If the gift is beautifully wrapped,  it heightens the expectation and the hope, while opening it.

This is the reason why I love wrapping a gift in creative and unexpected ways.

Here is one way of wrapping a gift in reusable fabric.

You will need:

Lengths of  soft fabric in colours you like, the size depends on the size of the gift.

Ribbon to match.

A gift to wrap.

Here is how to do it.

A Gift to wrap
A Gift to wrap
Cut the fabric you want to use to the appropriate size
Cut the fabric you want to use to the appropriate size
Gather fabric loosely together
Gather fabric loosely together keeping the gift inside 
Use a rubber band to faaten the loose ends, leaving parts untied
Use a rubber band to fasten the loose ends, leaving parts untied
Fasten  the loose ends with a ribbon, arranging the fabric  to a desired effect
Fasten the loose ends with a ribbon, arranging the fabric to a desired effect

Although the gift contains merely a chocolate, the wrapping makes it special, sending a message of care and love.

Living In An Earth Suit

A feast of creativity greets me when I enter the workshop.

T 2

Beadwork, papercrafts, knitting, crochet, and sewing are all beautifully exhibited throughout the room.

I am at the Gifts for U Market of the Theodora Centre for the Disabled.

My admiration for the strength and perseverance of the human spirit and soul grows as I walk through the exhibits, keeping in mind that this is the work of young adults with disabilities and special needs.

The phrase: “We all live in an earth suit”  comes to mind repeatedly as  I enjoy the work of these special people.

I first heard this phrase in the early 1990’s during a sermon by Dr Miles Munro.

“People are a combination of three parts, body, spirit and soul. The body is merely the earth suit in which the spirit and soul live while on earth”, he said.

This marked an  Ahaa”  moment in my life, which  gave me a new perspective on people and my approach to them.

Many years of working as a Speech Language Therapist with babies and toddlers with special needs and disabilities, taught me if I could reach inside the imperfect body in front of me and connect with the real person, the spirit and soul living in this imperfect earth suit, a very special relationship awaited me.

Today I experienced it again, finding young adults living in the imperfect earth suit they were dealt with pride and self esteem. The fact that  they can come to work everyday, live a productive life and show the world the results of their hard work despite their special needs makes this possible.

To you and the staff of Theodora Centre for the Disabled I pray the following blessing:

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

May you receive the crown of life and with it a perfect heavenly suit to live in for eternity.