Monday, June 13, 2016

Bits and Pieces from Sinya

There are fields of sunflowers everywhere.  They are spectacular! And sunflowers are planted next to, and among, corn stalks.  The horticulturists among you know why; I just think they’re beautiful!

Mount Kilimanjaro is like a magic mountain.  Much of the time it is hidden by clouds. In 2013, we saw it for the first time as we took off from Arusha to go home. But when it appears – as it did on Wednesday, very clearly, it is amazing – snow-topped, with a gradual descent into lots of hills.

Apparently, it is the job of Maasai women to find and carry firewood back home.  Frequently, we see colorfully dressed Maasai women carrying bunches of big sticks (almost logs) on their heads and shoulders.

It is the job of men and boys to tend the cattle and goats. The men wear colorful red plaid blankets. The boys range in age from about six to 14 or 15.  It seems clear that they are not in school.

We are about 4 kilometers from the border of Kenya. On Wednesday, we drove through a border control area, where police checked for border crossers.

It is a 2½-hour drive to a cash machine.  We found that out on Wednesday.

The waiters at restaurants in Tanzania come around with soap and bowls of water, before the meal, so you can wash your hands.

This is a potato-growing area. We saw people in the fields picking potatoes and putting them into huge sacks for export. Toward late afternoon, a truck drove along the road, picking up the sacks to be transported to their destination.

It is common for Maasai men to have more than one wife. Each wife and her children live in a structure built of cow dung and ash, with a straw roof, called a “boma.” The bomas for one husband are close together.  The man plants a stick outside the boma of the wife with whom he wishes to stay each night.

Most toilets here are holes in the ground, fondly called, “squatty potties.” That’s what we have where we are staying.  There is a learning curve involved in using them. We are becoming proficient!

A "squatty potty."
A variety of acacia grows in profusion in this area. This variety has lots of sharp thorns, about 2” long, and round, brown pods about 1 ½” in diameter.  A kind of insect lives inside the pod, and when giraffes try to eat the acacia, the insect comes out and bites the inside of the giraffe’s mouth.  As a result, giraffes learn quickly to avoid this acacia.

Acacia with pods and thorns.

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