Trip Updates

Kilimanjaro 3 • July 5-July 27, 2019

A final farewell from Kilimanjaro!

July 27, 2019

JAMBO!

It is hard to believe these past three weeks have already come to an end; time really does fly when you are having fun. It truly was a trip of a lifetime.  The memories made spending time with the local kids of Mto Wa Mbu and the Massai tribes at Mungere school, climbing the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, and exploring the breathtaking plains of Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti will go with all of us to our graves.  However, it was not the activities that made this trip so special, but the lifelong friends and relationships made.  Twenty-three days ago we all met up in Tanzania as strangers, and now as we make our way back to the states we are nothing short of a family.

On our final morning in Arusha, the atmosphere was bittersweet, knowing that we would be boarding our plane back home that night.  But there was no time for violins to be played; we only had a half-day left in Tanzania to party together! So of course, we had a barbeque pool party, complete with ultimate Frisbee, personal Nug Jug note writing, and a compilation of all the best photos to reminisce on our favorite parts of the trip.  Laughter and stories filled the air while we enjoyed delicious cheeseburgers, salad, and an endless supply of perfectly crisped French fries.  We even spoiled ourselves with some sodas, after our copious amounts of water to get us up the mountain.  It was the perfect farewell to one of the most beautiful places on earth, and unbelievable adventures ever.

Now as we get caught up on all the latest movies we haven’t seen yet on the plane, we replay the unforgettable moments of soccer with the locals, mountaintop sunrises, and leopards prowling through the golden plains of the Serengeti.  At the same time we excitedly anticipate reuniting with all of you loved ones back home.  Saying goodbye to fourteen new best friends will be hard, but I am confident that this is not a farewell but a see you soon.

To everyone back home, we cannot thank you enough for sharing your most prized possessions with us this last month.  Virginia, Mary Lee, Lily Grace, Robert, Woods, Cary, Max, Will, Kathleen, Grace, Sam, Raleigh, and Gordy are truly amazing and it was an honor to experience the wonders of Tanzania with each and every one of them.  We wish everyone well in his or her endeavors and know the future holds nothing but the best for them all.  Get ready for some incredible stories.  We leave you with the words of Maya Angelou.

“People may not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”

Asante Sana, Thank you all so much,

MK and Robby


Lions and Buffalo and Cheetahs, Oh My!

July 25, 2019

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Dr. King’s words were personified in undeniable ways over our last week together in the Serengeti on our safari adventures.  Whether it is the friendships formed over this last month, hilarious and unforgettable interactions with our safari drivers and outfitters, or the clearly painted picture of life itself displayed by the African plains, there is no denying an interrelated structure to this reality.

We began the last week of our adventures together by loading up in our beige, pop-top, Toyota safari land cruisers and set off. As we pulled up to the grand welcoming gates signs and commemorations of the parks sixtieth anniversary welcomed us warmly.  We explored the local museum where we learned that the crater is actually an inverted mountain that once stood higher than Kilimanjaro millions of years ago, and Gordy learned how to differentiate between a male and female hyena.  The big five were memorized, and the history and impact of the Massai tribes on the area throughout time were appreciated and studied.  Hopping back into the land cruisers, a crusade of baboons emerged from the jungle, hoping for some snacks from the mzungus (better known as us, and the other tourists visiting).  We made a quick escape as we watched one car of hopeless people scatter from opened doors while a baboon jumped into their sunroof, leisurely enjoying some sort of saran wrapped snack.

Climbing the craters outside wall, we turned a corner and came upon a breathtaking outlook view of the crater in its full glory.  Robby, Will, and Sam made sure to get a picture together in their new matching elephant pants while our guides snapped group shots of us all from every angle.  We thought this view would be the best of the day, but then we pulled up to Simba Camp.  With a massive tree, resembling Rafikis’ home in The Lion King, herds of zebra walking by our tents, and a magnificent sunset into the crater, we were home.  After a tasty dinner, we gathered by the tree and enjoyed a Moonup, led by Max and Virginia, under the Milky Way, visible with the naked eye. Halfway through we had to take a quick break and relocate as a Cape buffalo had wandered his way near us. Safari was not supposed to start until the morning, but it had definitely already begun.  That night everyone skeptically climbed into his or her tents to get rested for the next day’s drive down into the crater.  Late in the night Mary Kate shot up with a jolt as she heard Woods shout from just outside the tent, followed by the snorting of a wild animal.  When Robby stepped out into the darkness to investigate, the headlamp’s light uncovered the Cape buffalo from Moonup, however he was now joined by thirty of his friends.  As they harmlessly grazed on the campsite’s lush grass, everyone quickly finished their late night restroom break, not wandering far from the tent’s security, before hopping back into sleeping bags.

The next morning everyone rose early to get the best chance at seeing the wildlife in action before the day’s heat came.  Upon entering the crater, Raleigh immediately pointed out a lioness stalking through the tall grasses.  In the distance herds of wildebeest, Thompson gazelle, and zebras roamed the vast plains by the hundreds.  Around every bend was a new exciting sight, whether it was hyenas, pools of hippopotamus, or a massive bull elephant trudging the thick marshes.  We spent the whole day taking in the unparalleled beauty of the crater and were sad to exit the area, but knew that our next destination was the famous plains of the Serengeti.

That night we found ourselves at a new but equally charming campsite deep in the brush of The Serengeti National Park.  Again, we were greeted by herds of zebra, buffalo, and even some impala. With strict nighttime hours, we ate a quick dinner, and made our way to bed.

The next morning everyone was greeted by an unbelievable sunrise, silhouetting Acacia trees topped with massive storks and casting gold across the endless plains of grassland. Led by the day’s LODs (Leader’s of the Day) Robert and Kathleen, we once again hopped into our safari cars with our safari guide friends Garrison, Benson, and Walter and made our way on a search for more of Tanzania’s exceptional wildlife.  It was not long before Grace directed our attention to movement in the tall grasses in the distance.  Everyone looked closely trying to figure out what it was, when all of a sudden a cheetah popped its head above surveying the area.  Not long after, Mary Lee noticed movement in one of the lower hanging trees just off the road.  Not one, but two leopards then jumped out of the tree and began chasing a couple warthogs.  The warthogs escaped, but the leopards lounged around and meandered back to the tree giving us all a thoroughly enjoyed show and a fourth checked box for The Big Five.

After our morning safari we went back to camp where we enjoyed games of Bananagrams, cards, ultimate Frisbee, and dance parties before an unforgettable sunset drive that evening.  We watched as the sun vibrantly gleamed neon red, slowly disappearing into the Neptune blue outlines of the distant plateaus of The Great Rift Valley.  Then to cap the night off, we were greeted back at camp by a family of giraffe meticulously removing acacia leaves from between the trees sizeable thorns.

For our last day of safari, we enjoyed one last cruise through the park’s screensaver views.  Hot air balloons floated above the horizon in the morning sky and almost every animal made at least one more appearance before we had to make our way back towards Arusha.

On the way back, we stopped for the night just outside of Mto Wa Mbu, where we had done our service section, at a homey, jungle themed, getaway complete with a foosball table, lounge area, fire pit, and swimming pool.  The night was spent laughing and reminiscing on memories on safari.  Bittersweet realizations were made that the trip was suddenly coming to a close and the moments spent all together became that much more important and special.

Today we find ourselves back in Arusha at destination three degrees.  With Lily Grace and Cary as our final day’s LODs not a moment together is going to waste. Bananagrams takes over the dining hall, while frisbees and soccer balls are being passed around in the courtyard.  The pool begs for someone to jump into its icy cold water, but we shall see.  With less than forty hours left together the words of John Muir replay in all of our heads.  Asante sana, thank you again to everyone back home for this opportunity. It has truly been a trip of a lifetime.

“These beautiful days must enrich all my life. They do not exist as mere pictures – maps hung upon the walls of memory – but they saturate themselves into every part of my body and live always.” John Muir

 See you soon,

Robby and MK


Jambo from the Roof of Africa!

July 20, 2019

“Climbing needs no justification, no more than does watching a sunrise, or listening to a great symphony, or falling in love… Rock and ice and wind and the great blue canopy of the sky are not all that you find upon the mountaintops. You discover things about your own body and mind that you had almost forgotten… You learn what your legs are for, what your lungs are for, what wise men of old meant by ‘refreshment of the spirit’… You find the divine harmony and simplicity of the natural world, and yourself alive in it, a part of it.” –James Ramsey Ullman

DAY 1

With an early wake up we all made our way to the dining hall where there awaited a delicious breakfast buffet. Chatter and excitement for the coming adventure swarmed the table as everyone shoved their faces with eggs, toast, sausage, and fresh fruit. With stomachs full and a kick start from powdered coffee we hopped in our Toyota party bus to transfer to mountain. A line quickly formed to get braids done by the talented Mary Lee as we all danced and sang along to our newly formed Spotify queue of everyone’s favorite songs. Just before arriving at the entrance gate we made a quick pit stop at the local market for last minute trail snacks and supplies. Now everyone was ready, braids locked in and all the gummies and candies one could ever need.  We pulled up to the gate, welcomed by a grand sign reading Kilimanjaro and a flurry of porters and rangers swarming the area.  Everyone signed in and found their way to our picnic style lunch where a monkey joined us for his apparent favorite snack of french fries. Everyone finally realized where we truly were, and the anticipation filled the air.  We watched as our team of porters made their way ahead of us on trail to have camp ready, then we quickly followed led by our leaders of the day, Sam and Raleigh. As we hiked through the rainforest, the views and atmosphere were surreal. Monkey swung in the trees above, as clouds weaved in and out of the dense ferns and trees. Our guides suddenly stomped a couple hours into the hike, pulling everyone together to inspect a small iris like flower called Impatiens Kilimanjarii, standing out amongst the lush green with its vibrant red and yellow coloration. Also known as the elephant’s trunk flower, it is the semi official emblem of Kilimanjaro, and only found in the jungle regions of the mountain.  The beauty of the jungle was astounding, and continued as we made our way out of the jungle region and into the moorlands, before reaching the first night’s home at Machame camp.

DAY 2

The next morning we all woke up early with a knock on the tent offering tea and coffee as well as warm water for a wash. Will and Cary, as leaders of the day, rounded the troops for a quick breakfast before making our way back to the trail for our second day of hiking. Just past the first turn on trail we got a stunning view of Kilimanjaro’s full grandeur. We saw our end goal for the first time with cleared skies and an elevated viewpoint. As we climbed higher, terrain began to change with more rocky ledges to scramble up. Although the day’s hike was short, everyone began to notice the affects of altitude as we reached nearly thirteen thousand feet. By lunchtime we had reached Shira camp where we were greeted by an appetizer of kettle corn followed by delicious fried chicken. Afterwards we enjoyed games of banagrams, wrote songs, taking turns free styling lyrics to the guitar, and reading our summer reading books. We then watched the most amazing sunset over an ocean of rolling clouds with the jagged volcanic peaks of Shira the neighboring volcano and mount Meru in the distance. Max showed off his photography skills, and everyone soaked in the breathtaking views. An early dinner followed the sunset before retreating to the warmth of our sleeping bags and tents to rest up for our next days hike to the lava tower.

DAY 3

We emerged from our tents, hands hugging the warmth of our morning teas and coffee. Greeting us was an ocean of clouds blending into the hues of soft pink purple and orange cast from the rising sun slowly peaking from behind Africa’s roof. After a filling breakfast we again took to the trail, making our way up to the well-known lava tower.  We climbed up over two thousand vertical feet, out of the moorlands and into the mountain’s alpine dessert. Woods, Virginia, Mary Lee and MK gave everyone a rendition of the famous Broadway show “Hamilton” to pass time as we walked.  Finally we reached fifteen thousand feet where the massive pillars of rock formed sixty thousand years ago towered above us. Enjoying grilled cheese, hot soup, and pita burritos we rested our altitude beaten bodies.  As the giant ravens that had been hiding in the lava towers crags emerged for any scraps, we began making our way down from the lava tower to Baraka camp where we would be camping for the night at thirteen thousand feet.  We settled into camp, enjoyed a quick dinner and highly anticipated full moon. Kilimanjaro really put on a show, spotlighted by the light of the moon; ice caps shimmering with the twinkling of the stars, and thick dark clouds swirling slowly in the surrounding valleys. A motivating and awe inspiring image to send us off to bed.  Tomorrow is a big day.

DAY 4

We woke early in the morning to get a head start and beat the crowds on the famous Baraka wall. As we slid by, everyone gave “kissing rock” a big kiss for good luck the rest of the way up the mountain. After a well deserved long rest and snack break, we ascended to Karanga camp, our lunch spot for the day, but not before taking a jumping picture atop Baraka wall! The sun was shining as we reached Karanga, which put smiles on our faces. The energy from our lunch of chicken and rice as well as the short naps soaking up the sun, gave the group the energy we needed for the final push to Kosovo campsite: our base camp before the highly anticipated summit. Robert and Lily Grace led the group up to camp right as the sun was setting and everyone hopped in the tents to prep all the gear needed for the 3AM summit hike. We knew we had an early morning ahead of us so we had a quick Moonup and dinner of pasta. The exact carbo-load we needed for the next mornings trek the Africa’s roof. As we enjoyed our family style meal everyone reminisced the high points of our day and the smiles and laughs put the struggles of the long day’s hike to the back of our minds. Afterwards we headed for bed exhausted but excited for the day ahead when we were all surprised to look up and see a Red Moon rising above the jagged silhouette of Mawenzi, the neighboring volcano. It lit up the sky and the mountain with a brilliance none of us had ever seen. This was just the good luck sign we needed as we snuggled in our sleeping bags for a quick nights sleep.

Day 5

Before we knew it, the chatter and stirring of camp woke everyone up while the moon was still high in the sky. Eyes still heavy with sleep, and countless layers of clothing to battle the cold, everyone made their way to the dining tent for bowls of hot porridge and much needed cups of coffee. Looking up the mountain we could see the lights of fellow mountaineers that had already began their summit attempt.  The reality of what was ahead sank in as we gathered for a quick morning huddle, where Kathleen set the tone with some quick encouraging words as leader of the day, before leading the way up to Uhuru peak.  It wasn’t long before the group had to stop because Cary claimed she was overheating.  Soon it was discovered that she had taken the previous nights lesson of layering very seriously by putting on nine different jackets, including her full down parka.  Samson our head guide flew into action, rapidly removing layers in order to continue our hike.  The scene had everyone in high spirits and was the perfect humorous antidote for three o’clock in the morning.  Monotony, freezing toes, and lack of oxygen began to take its toll on the group after three hours of trudging through the cold dark night up the side of the continents largest mountain.  Just when everyone thought they couldn’t take it any longer, the horizon began to light up with faint bands of every color in the rainbow. Then a sliver of fluorescent red peaked over the edge of the earth, and the sun slowly rose into the morning air.  The entire group took a break from hiking to admire nature’s display of beauty and awe.  Warmth came over everyone giving a much-needed regeneration in energy that pushed everyone to continue up the steep switchbacks with a newfound strength.  Another two hours of grueling hiking and we were so close to Stella’s point, the milestone marking the craters edge and only an hour more to Uhuru.  Exhaustion and altitude were taking their affects on everyone but with a surprise of hot tea and a fully charged speaker the group caught a third wind and pushed hard to the edge of the crater.  Once at Stella’s point, the guides allowed everyone to take a quick break, however it did not last long because were already at nearly nineteen thousand feet.  We still had almost an hour to the peak and altitude was taking its toll on majority of the bunch.  The last stretch was silent and a deep sense of determination and drive spread throughout the group.  Only the sound of heavy breathing and shuffling feet could be heard as winds whipped over the mountaintop and giant glaciers gleamed in the sunlight just off the left side of the trail.  Finally we made a turn around a rocky outcrop, and a sign marking Uhuru Peak showed itself in the distance.  Overwhelmed, everyone lit up at the site of the sign and finished the final stretch with tenacity.  Celebrations erupted as we all embraced one another, laid hands on the sign, and captured the moment on everyone’s cameras, before being encouraged by our guides to begin our descent back to lower elevation.

Thoroughly enjoying the downhill, everyone made it back down to base camp for a much needed lunch.  With a refuel and short break, everyone threw the packs back on again to continuing descending all the down to twelve thousand feet for the night.  Once at camp, everyone was drained and concluded it was quite possibly the longest and most challenging day of almost everyone’s life. A strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction filled everyone as we finished the extremely long day with a feast and early retreat to the tents for a long nights sleep.

Day 6

Raleigh and Gordy got everyone up the next morning for a late breakfast, allowing for everyone to sleep in after the previous day.  With a true hakuna matata attitude everyone took his or her time getting ready, with only a short hike ahead to our final nights campsite.  The day consisted of lots of banagrams, shared memories of the previous days’ adventures on the mountain, journaling, and way too much popcorn and hot chocolate.  It was the perfect capstone to a feat of a lifetime.

Today we find ourselves back where we started at our beautiful hotel resort in Arusha.  Everyone warmly welcomed showers and real beds, and now are getting their things prepared for our adventures next chapter in the safari’s of the world famous Serengeti. Although we are down from the mountain, it is an experience that will stay with us forever.  We leave you with a quote, read to the group by Grace and Will today:

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again… so why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least know.”

–       Rene Daumel, Mount Analogue

Check in again soon! Hopefully with the big five all under our belt.


Meaningful Service

July 13, 2019

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

JAMBOOOO

We cannot believe this session already has a week in the books. Time flies when you are having fun. We could not dream up a more outgoing, cohesive, or energetic group to take on Tanzania with. We arrived at the airport one week ago and could not have imagined what was in store. Jet lagged and unsure of what time it was or where they were, the group hopped off the plane already friends and ready to meet their leaders. The energy was palpable, and we were all excited to get this adventure on the road. The group loaded up on a great traditional dinner of soup, beef and rice while still getting to know one another before heading to bed for a goodnight sleep and ready to take on the day ahead.

We awoke to the newest member of the group!!! Will arrived after his many adventures across the globe and we were so excited to have a full family and take on this country together. After some great coffee and conversations, we packed our bags and headed through the bush to our destination for the service section of our trip. Driving up to our campsite we were astounded by the beauty of our home for the next seven days. The campsite is set over the town with an incredible view of a valley as well as a lake. The grand boa boa trees make us feel as though we are in a movie and the entire campsite is surreal. After getting settled in and playing many ice breaking games, Ashley, the founder of the red sweater project, gave us an orientation about her organization and the work we would be doing the next week. After a filling dinner we had a long Moonup where we discussed what service means to each of us. The consensus was that service is about loving and forming relationships. As we went to sleep that night we were excited for the day ahead and anticipated with open hearts what was to come.

After a delicious picnic table breakfast, set by a sunrise over the surrounding plateaued ridges, our friends Baraka and Shiban picked us up in our safari styled land cruisers.  We drove a few kilometers down the main road before turning off onto the dusty beaten roads that would lead us deep into the Massai lands, all the way back to the Mungere School.  Having just finished their holiday break, the Mungere students were excited and eager to welcome us all with bright smiles and open arms.

For the first half of the day we got to work by clearing a grass plain for a new vegetable garden.  A few of the students who were excelling in class were given the privilege of joining us all in the project.  It wasn’t long before conversation led us to discovering that one of the local girls, Constance, had a mutual friend with Sam; a friend who had been to Tanzania with Moondance the summer before. Along with this connection of old friends were the creations of new friends.  From the beginning Irene would not leave Kathleen’s side while Grace followed Lily Grace around sharing stories back and forth of their polar opposite yet oddly similar lives as high school students.

After a long hard morning of gardening, everyone was refreshed by the guest appearance of fellow Moondancers Wick Bushong and Ellie Quinn who decided to join us at Mungere for their day off just in time for lunch.  We put our tools all back in the shed and enjoyed our meals under the shade of the school’s banana tree garden.

With stomachs full and legs rested, everyone made their way down to the soccer field and basketball court for an afternoon of fun and games.  Raleigh taught a group of the students her Irish Jig skills while Gordy discussed plans with his new local friend Michael on how they were going to get a goat.  Many different games of basketball and soccer ensued all evening while the sounds of laughter and newly formed friendships filled the air.

The day ended with a beautiful evening drive back to camp through the Massai tribal lands and the bustling streets of town.  Once back at camp everyone enjoyed the pool and tossing around Frisbees. A buffet style dinner, followed by late night music with Wick and Ellie, ended our day perfectly before crawling into our tents to get rested for another incredible day at Mungere.

We woke up again with the rising sun and said our farewells to Wick and Ellie over a hot breakfast and cups of coffee.  Again we hopped into our open-air safari cars and made our way back to the school.  The field of grass continued to be cleared all morning until lunch, and square plots began to be tentatively sketched into the area.

Afterwards we all made our way back down to playground to spend more time with the kids.  Max spent the afternoon teaching lay ups to the students while Cary gave lessons on how to properly “pack someone’s lunch” on the court.  Our good friend Constance and her girlfriends got a hold of the camera and began demonstrating to Mary Lee how to walk and pose like models for the photo-shoot.  Many others took to the soccer field, with Woods and Raleigh partaking in a penalty shootout with our friend Yuma.

Everyone was bummed when the end of the day came and we all had to say farewell for the night.  However, we all were excited to do it again in the morning.  We made our way back to camp for an amazing dinner and a night of stargazing.  Complete with a view of The Southern Cross, Mars, and an unbelievable moon, Virginia shared her knowledge of astrology and the lunar cycles, explaining to us that we would get a full moon just before summiting Kilimanjaro.  That night we closed our eyes with our heads still in the stars, with the best beginning to an adventure one could ask for.

Our day began with the sun, as we once again enjoyed breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit with an incredible view over looking miles of African landscape. The campsite will never feel real. We then enjoyed a morning huddle where Woods, as LOD, shared an incredible parable of a man jumping fully into life, which inspired the group to fully embrace the last three days we had at Mungare. With this in mind we headed to the school ready for a full days work.

We were greeted upon arrival by the students who now felt like old friends. We hopped out of the cars and conversations naturally continued to flow as we completed work on the garden boxes. We raked and hoed until there were blisters on our hands and sweat on our foreheads. With five minutes to go until lunch, Gordy and Robert showed off their skills by each clearing an entire box within a minute. That’s the kind of work ethic we were looking for!!! The progress that had been made amazed all of the students, Mungare and Moondance alike. We could not wait to see how the finished garden would look filled with vegetables from Chinese cabbage to pumpkin to Ndizi (banana). We relaxed for lunch in the shade of the rabbitry as we prepared for more fierce competition in the field and on the court.

The afternoon began with another intense game of World Cup. Mary Lee watched from the sidelines, taking photos as self-proclaimed soccer mom while Grace showed off her skills, scoring many points for her team, Tanzania. To our surprise, right as the game was wrapping up, Sheb brought out a speaker and a serious dance party ensued. The cha-cha slide was a group favorite as well as Despacito by the one and only Justin Bieber. As the group sat down for a little rest, Will decided he was looking for a new style and had several of the Mungare students cornrow his hair. Man, we cannot wait to share the photos. The afternoon ended with many smiles and laughs, waving goodbye as we drove away but excited for two more days.

Back at camp, an afternoon yoga session broke out and by the end everyone was practicing his or her crow to headstand transition. Trust us, within two weeks everyone will have it down. We enjoyed a nice soda by the pool, while we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Max got some incredible drone footage of the sunset and we are all waiting in anticipation to see the movie he is going to put together at the end of the trip. Tired from a hard days work, we hit the hay early after a Moonup that made us all think and bring us closer together.

A restful night left us refreshed and excited. When we arrived at school, the kids surprised us, informing us that instead of working that day we would be taking a hike to the local waterfall!! Passing by monkeys, through banana fields and local villages, we traversed in the rainforest to an astounding 50ft waterfall. The beauty is unmatched as we trekked closer to the pool over boulders and through streams. We learned many new Swahili phrases as we walked. Cary even learned the words to the famous Tanzanian song “Jambo”. It was a wonderful time to forge deeper relationships with each other through the talks on the trail. The bonds we already had with the Mungare students were deepened as we got a further glimpse into their lives.

As we returned to the school, the surprises didn’t stop. We had another cultural experience in store. That afternoon we were going to have to opportunity to visit a local Maasai tribe and hear from their leader about the customs and traditions of their people.  We walked up to a small circle of mud huts completed with a livestock ring in the middle, and a protective barrier of thorn branches and vines around the outside to keep out lions.  In their traditional Massai attire, the whole community of around twenty-five, greeted us with a traditional welcome ceremony.  A synchronized marching dance, complete with chants and shouts had us all fully captivated and in awe of the cultural beauty.  We were then invited to join in on the march as we entered into the village. The women began placing jewelry on the girls, teaching them more dances. The boys were handed sticks and began partaking in the jumping ceremony. We entered a traditional “boma” and were able to ask questions about the typical day-to-day life of the Maasai. It was an experience none of us will forget for years to come.

We could not be more thankful for the day we had. The conversations about cultural differences, yet personal similarities lasted long into the night. We closed our eyes, excited for one more day at Mungare, but knowing we need to soak it all in as it would be our last.

Our final morning began a little differently than the previous. In order to really understand the way of life of the students who had become our dear friends, we decided to walk to the Mungare School as the kids of the community do each day. The walk was a beautiful one, through the village and rice fields. As we walked we picked up more and more student on their daily commute. It was a somber experience, yet an incredible opportunity to truly walk in the footsteps of the kids in the community.

Our afternoon was filled with more basketball and conversations as well as a new game named “snowflake” that is a game similar to tic tac toe, but with much more strategy. As we played, danced, sang and laughed we enjoyed every second of each other’s company. The goodbyes came too soon.  We hugged and tried not to let our emotions get the best of us. The friendships we made in this short amount of time are unparalleled and we are forever grateful to have been influenced by the students at the Mungare School. We left the community with heavy, yet full hearts ready to embark on our next adventure: REACHING THE ROOF OF AFRICA.

 

Report back soon!

MK and Robby

 


Group Flight Landed - Safe Arrival in Tanzania!

July 6, 2019

Hello Kilimanjaro Families!

We have heard from our Trip Leaders that the group flight has landed, and all students are safely through security. The group is headed to their hotel tonight for some well deserved rest. We cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventures!

  • Moondance HQ

Students

  • Cary
  • Gordy
  • Grace
  • Kathleen
  • Lily Grace
  • Mary Lee
  • Max
  • Raleigh
  • Robert
  • Sam
  • Virginia
  • Will
  • Woods

Staff