Tanzania Wildlife Safari and Chimpanzee Trekking Dispatch
January 8, 2017 – Coffee Anyone?
Dispatch by Nancy Souza
The two days of R&R were just what we needed to recharge our batteries after our spectacular seven day safari. As this was a return visit to the Arusha Coffee Lodge, the staff was extra helpful and friendly as we took over rooms 1, 2 and 3 set among the coffee trees of the 150 acre, 30-room working coffee plantation.
Our first full day, Saturday, was spent exploring the grounds, cafe, and shops - including Shanga, a workshop and storefront for disabled people in the Arusha area. From blowing glass beads, to making paper bags (from newspaper, bail string and glue) to weaving blankets, each had a job and their combined efforts made for a thriving business that helped pay them a wage and cover medical costs. It was easy to buy from them!
We arranged for a tour of the coffee plantation at 5:00 PM and learned so much about how coffee is grown, harvested, and produced. Mostly we learned that the way we prepare coffee for optimal aroma and flavor is completely wrong!
A very enjoyable dinner of their "brick oven" pizza as well as a spirited game of FARCKLE and we were ready for some shut eye.
Sunday morning found us at the 10:00 English speaking mass at Saint Jon Church in downtown Arusha. This experience - being among the beautiful, brightly-dressed people as well as participating in the prayers and song - proved that we are not as different as we sometimes think despite cultural and traditional differences.
We continued the day on a "City Tour" that took us to the Tanzanite Experience as well as viewing of the local markets and then on to the Arusha Cultural Center. We were so grateful for the expertise and hospitality of our driver Godwyn. He shared the cultural traditions of his city and returned us to our Lodge during a major downpour - and graciously escorted each of us into the African Restaurant for a beautifully prepared traditional meal that was delicious!
Allie's friend Emma, a Princeton Fellow (and recent Bowdoin graduate) working in a nearby Massai school, came to join us for this delicious meal where we enjoyed vibrant conversation about her experiences - which left us breathless for all she has managed during a challenging but extremely rewarding post graduate experience.
Afterwards we packed up for our early Monday departure, and slipped in one more game of FARCKLE before lights out at 9:30 in preparation for our 5:30 wake up call and 8 AM flight to Mahale for Part II of our Tanzanian adventure, tracking chimps in the wild! Stay tuned...