We came by bus from Mombasa to Arusha Tanzania. It was about about an 8 hour bus ride. The bus only stopped a couple of times by the side of the road for everyone to go to the bathroom. All the guys lined up shoulder to shoulder right outside the bus, while the girls hiked to take cover by a dry twiggy bush. Crossing the border into Tanzania was obvious. The huts were different. There seemed to be more Masai people walking around in the cities. And there were lots of flowers and paintings on the buildings.
Arusha was bustling. My team and I would be staying at a YWAM base just outside of downtown. We had been staying at other YWAM bases in Kenya for almost two months already so we thought we knew what to expect. We did see the standard pointed metal gate. The large vacant dining hall. some dorm buildings. But this base had an elementary school as well as a classroom where they could teach people the trade of sewing. There was also beautiful brick paths winding from building to building lined with flowers and thorny plants. The colorful flowers really helped bring the base to life.
We were given a tour and showed to our rooms for the night. I remember us being excited to find an outlet in our room. But found that I didn’t really have anything I needed to plug in. Likewise we were thrilled to see urinals in the bathrooms…or even bathrooms for that matter. But again this luxury quickly lost its luster and I even had begun to enjoy the walk down to the squatty potty.
Our meals in Tanzania were much the same. We had ugali and greens. Sometimes we had chicken. And on glorious chapati days we filled our bellies with that flat bready wonder and stayed in the dining hall until it got dark, talking and telling stories with our African friends.
Our hearts were lifted in Tanzania. We discovered a place where peoples spirits came alive. The colors were vibrant and the wildlife lived in harmony still with the people. Even the bees used the same water source as us and buzzed aside while we would fill our water jugs. We wouldn’t be spending much time at the base however. A team of Koreans were working on a building project somewhere in central Tanzania and asked if we would like to come along and help out. We also had plans to visit some Masai people around Mt Kilimanjaro. Some of the greatest adventures of my life laid just ahead.
Photo cred to my talented team member: Anna Gooney