It's tough to describe the incredible moments I had in Tanzania. I think the email below, which I sent home immediately following my safari, and as I was ramping up for my Kilimanjaro climb, does the best job at communicating some life-changing experiences I had.
I just woke up from a very good night's sleep - I needed that!
I am going to go to breakfast soon to meet my fellow trekkers, we will go to Arusha National Park today for some game viewing and short hike. We start the official climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro tomorrow. :)
My last stop on the safari was pretty special, we went to a very remote area just outside of the Serengeti. This was the only place I hadn't been before on safari. We had some amazing cultural interaction with the Maasai - they don't see mzungu (white people in Swahili) very often, if at all, in this part of the county. We went to a school first and the kids flocked around me to touch me and shake my hand. Shouting hello (in Swahili) - they wanted to feel what white skin felt like, so they were all clamering to touch my arms, which was the only exposed skin I had available. Also, they never quite saw hair like mine so I got several tugs on my curls. :) They were also very taken by my earrings and my bandana. It was very sweet, they were extremely excited and happy. I felt a bit like a rock star. Luckily my film crew boys were there to calm them down a bit (in Swahili) as it kind of got a bit overwhelming. You know me, I relished every moment.
It was tough to say goodbye to my film crew yesterday - the boys are students at a local (very progressive) film school. They were ready to work hard with me, as we had an aggressive schedule, and were so sweet. We were pretty much connected at the hip for just over 2 weeks.
Of course, I saw my old rafikis (friends) along the way: lions, baboons, leopards, really cool looking birds, giraffes, elephants, etc. I could watch them all day long.
One final thought: you all would love the Tanzanian spirit. They are welcoming, smiley and don't have negativity in their hearts. It's so surprising, as this is one of the most impoverished places on the planet. I wish we could all live our lives like this. I hope, for them, that they remain this way.
On to more adventures!