Monday, June 28, 2010

Safari!





















Finally having my family here with me was wonderful. It was great to see them and exciting showing them around the place that I have been living.
We left for safari on Tuesday and did a game drive at Lake Manyara Tuesday afternoon before pitching our tents outside of a mini hotel. At Lake Manyara we saw elephants, tons of birds, giraffes, flamingo, buffalo, hippos, wildebeest, warthogs, and many other things that I can’t think of off the top of my head. It was a great first day.
I got into my sleeping bag before everyone else because I was exhausted. After I was finally settled in and about to fall asleep I heard my brothers shrieking. I found out later they thought a skunk was coming toward them and got nervous and then realized it was just a black and white cat. Lauren, who I shared my tent with, barely slept because she was scared of wild animals (even though there weren’t any).
The next morning we set off for the Serengeti. This place was unbelievable. The tall grasses and plains went on and on and appeared that they went on forever into the distance. We saw tons of animals (and of course all I thought about was the lion king), all of which were fascinating.
Sleeping in the Serengeti was a mess for the majority of my family. We were told not to leave our tents past 10 pm because of lions. When Lauren heard that she freaked out and of course when 10 pm came my tent-mate (Mikey) decided he had to pee. He decided to stand in the tent and pee out of the flap of the tent…he ended up getting pee all over my sleeping mat and our tent…disgusting. After that incident Mikey and I passed out and slep through the entire night while my mom and Lauren were up most of the night listening to the lions and freaking themselves out.
The next day was awesome. Greg started to throw a fit when he though an elephant was charging at our car. He literally jumped from the back of the safari van to the front in about a second and started screaming at the driver to move the car away from the elephant. Later on we saw an elephant charge at a herd of lions to scare them away.
Later that night, when we were back at the campsite and just before 10 pm one of my brothers (not mentioning names) felt like he was going to have diarhhea. We asked our guide what we were supposed to do in this situation..he gave us his phone number and told us that if he needed to go we could call him and he would take my brother in the safari vehicle to the bathroom (about 25 feet away from the tent). Luckily, my brother did not need to use the bathroom that night.
Ngorogoro crater was absolutely gorgeous – it looked majestic when the sun rays were coming through the clouds and into the crater. There were hundreds and hundreds of wildebeest. We saw a cheetahs, lions, zebra, a few elephants, hippos outside of the water, flamingos, and other awesome animals. It was a great way to end the safari.
After the crater we spent a night in a masai village. I was surprised that we made it to the village in one piece because driving there was the most difficult drive I have ever be on. I thought for sure we would tip and if we didn’t tip that I would puke…luckily neither of those happened.
The village was very tiny , it was just one man, Merygay, and his mother and a few of his siblings but there were neighboring bomas in the area. Parts of it were similar to the first masai village that I went to but this one was much tinier and much more remote. Merygay’s nephew and niece who were probably about 4 or 5 years old were petrified of us. Meriygay said that they had never seen wazungu (white people) before and that they thought we were there to take them away or punish them for doing something bad. One of them started crying hysterically when Mikey went over to shake his hand. They warmed up to us a little bit by the next morning though.
We basically hung out with Mergay and some of his friends and helped to collect firewood. Unfortunately, they sacrificed a goat for their dinner that night in front of us. I couldn’t watch when they were suffocating the poor thing. It was so creepy for me but they just kept explaining that it was part of their culture and this is how they get their food (which is true and the same as in the states except that we don’t have to kill it ourselves). I have never been more happy to be a vegetarian. They used the entire goat and left nothing behind. They even sucked the marrow out of the bones. Two of the younger boys who were not yet warriors (because they haven’t been circumsized yet) ate the goats testicles. Another guys ate the kidneys (uncooked). Greg ate part of the liver (after it was cooked). Then the guys drank the blood from the goat (it was still warm and fresh). We were all offered blood and of course we all said no…except of for my dad who had to be as macho as the masai and drink the blood of the goat. It was nasty but he claimed that it tasted good, “salty and warm” is how he explained it, just before my mother claimed, “I am not kissing you tonight after that”.
After we settled into our tents for the night I was half asleep when Lauren started shouting at me. I finally realized our tent was collapsing. It fell on top of us and one of the pegs had come out…we called for our guide and he couldn’t hear us but our dad heard and came to help us fix it up right again…I think it was the blood of the goat that turned him into such a hero that night.
The next morning we went on a mini hike with Merigay, his friend, and our guide. We stopped half way to watch them throw their spears. They let us try…we were all horrible except for Mikey who got it in the tree both times! It was a great experience and so nice to have my family here to do safari with me. They will be coming to Amani this week and I’m so excited.

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