Friday: Another good teaching day that ended with me and Alison going for a tough but good evening run through the coffee fields. The setting sun and misty Mt. Meru made for a beautiful backdrop. We changed, hopped in a cab, and went to meet a bunch of great new friends at a lovely outdoor restaurant. The cool air, delicious wine, and great company made for such a relaxing evening. After dinner, a few of us went on to meet more new friends at a small, yet hoppin’, bar called Lively Lady. That was where I started to lose my voice as I shouted over the loud crowd and music. I headed home late and slept well.
Saturday: We started our morning with a Swahili lesson with Mike. Things are progressing nicely in the lessons, but there sure are a lot of words and rules to learn! I tell people “nina soma Kiswahili…pole pole..” that means I’m learning Swahili… slowly… haha. Then it was off to the community church where we were going to meet our Umoja outreach students who we will there on Saturdays! It was so terrific to meet all of these adorable little Tanzanians and their very dedicated mothers. It’s a real sacrifice these moms are making to get their kids some music lessons: missing work, making accommodations to get transport, taking time out of their already work-filled days. I hope we can serve them well. We heard the kids each play a song they had learned in their lessons last year and then we all performed twinkle twinkle together- guitar, violin, singing, piano! I have 3 piano students and 1 flute student in the outreach program.
I then immediately headed out to get my hair cut by a local guy who has quite a reputation in Arusha. Sure enough, as soon as I walked in, I (and every one in the shop) was offered an orange slice, salt, and a tequila shot! Don’t worry, he wasn’t drunk as he cut my hair. We had a lot of laughs as his shop cats purred at my fee.t He just took off a few inches of my hair and I feel a little bit lighter—less to keep clean, at least. Haha! I met up with Alison and Mike for coffee after that, and then Alison and I took off to perform with a band at a private party. The party was actually at the home of a couple of my piano students, so a lot of our music students were there! We performed with David (Umoja guitar teacher) a woman named Momma-C who can flat out sing with some soul!! (she was an active member of the black Panther party for a long time and has led quite an interesting life!) Then there was a great drummer and terrific bassist. Oh man, it was SO much fun as we basically jammed and improvised through a lot of songs, rhythms, and new improvisations for hours into the night. The view at this house was spectacular as well. There I stood, rockin’ out on the piano with fabulous music and people surrounding me, overlooking the green tropical hills of rural Arusha. I just had to smile. It’s one of those moments when you just kind of stop and say to yourself: “how did I get so lucky? And how on earth did I get HERE?!” There was lots of loud music and talking at the party, so my voice continued to lose its strength.
Sunday: Safari day!!! I woke up at 5:30am and found that my voice was indeed mostly scratchy whispers. Yuk! But, we were off to Tarangeri National Park for a Safari with our new friends Anne, Simone, Katie, and Cameron. They are all working here for a range of 1 month-2 months as medical students, seeing how the hospital here in Arusha works. They tell us very interesting stories about the power going out in mid-surgery here and how everyone just flips on their head lamps and keeps going! They’re all such terrific people and MAN did we laugh a lot on our safari. We left by 6:30am and arrived in Tarangeri at about 8:30 am (oh.. after fixing a flat tired that popped on the way to the park!) We saw so many amazing animals, but the best was getting to see a lioness sunbathing right in front of us as elephants passed in between.
I’ll let some of the photos and video speak for itself! We had a safari jeep whose roof opened up so we could stand up, feel the wind on our faces, and really see a 360 degree view of the animals. Amazing. There were so many moments when I found myself just standing there, smiling, feeling absolute bliss and comfort. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I am more than thankful for it.
At the end of the day, we were quite tired, but still wanted to get dinner together when we got back to Arusha that evening. We had wonderful Ethiopian food and then headed back to their house for drinks and music.
I returned to work today without a voice.. haha.. lessons were interesting! But feeling soo rejuvenated and happy about life.
There should be a new video appearing at the top of this blog showing out Safari adventure, but here’s the youtube link if you’d like to see it directly: