Friday, November 23, 2012

We are home, still reeling from that long journey home, 46 hours in transit from Arusha in Tanzania to Spokane, a journey of some 9,000 miles -- perhaps as the crow flies.

Arusha is just about 10 hours ahead, so when it's morning here, it's evening there. My body can't quite make up its mind: Is it morning or night? Rachel says that when you make a long journey, your soul must catch up. But of all we experienced over the last three and a half weeks, so much learned and yet to learn, I hope to share some pictures and impressions here.

Africa is much more diverse than I expected; yet poverty remains an issue. People are rightfully concerned about potable water, education, and jobs. But we also saw optimism everywhere in the welcoming smiles of the people we met.

We saw a very brief slice of everyday life in Africa; our wonderful tour through OAT Overseas Adventure Travel led by the witty and knowledgeable Ombeni, did take us to home visits, a Masai family, and a school, but the main focus was experiencing the national parks. 30% of Tanzania is set aside for natural preserves or parks.

The thrill of seeing these wild animals in their natural setting is unforgettable. I have heard the cough of lions hunting at night, seen a leopard with its prey dragged up into a tree for safekeeping, watched ostriches mate, and danced with Masai women. We learned to watch the skies for rain, for this was the short-rain season, that time when the trees and grasses shimmer green on the plains and the wildebeest and zebras begin their Great Migration.

I will try to post an entry a day about some aspect of this amazing trip. For now, I begin with a video of these graceful giraffes on the Serengheti Plains.

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