Galen's Journal for His Tanzania Trip

Galen C. Weld

(12/18/04) The last plane flights were the most boring things I ever imagined. Yesterday we took a four and a half hour bus ride from Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is beautiful.

Leah is a lot better at Swahili than me and Adam. I'm kind of embarrassed.

Right now, Margaret is on a tour of a hospital.

We have done a lot of swimming. The infinity pool in the Fairview Hotel in Nairobi was very beautiful. It wasn't very deep. Adam saw a bird he called a "Black and White Wagtail." It is really called the "African Pied Wag-tail." The card security system in the Fairview Hotel is awesome. There is mosquito netting around every bed. The plants are unique. (12/19/04) We are leaving on safari tomorrow. I am excited, but a little nervous. Our guide's name is Exaud. He has a cool car.

This morning we woke up at 4:30am. Then we heard the morning call for prayer for Muslims. Then we had breakfast and we went swimming. Then we went shopping. We got snacks. We thne went to Cultural Heritage Center (a handycraft store). We spent lots of money.

Yesterday, we went on a long and hot walk. Every couple of seconds a cow moos or a chicken crows.

Leah just spilled a Fanta, now she is practicing her gymnastics and panting. Boy she can do a lot of somersaults!

We heard a bird that sounded like a truck backing up.

(12/20/04) Today we took an eight-hour long ride. We saw lots of animals: wildebeats, Grant's gazelles, Tompson's gazelles, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, a Cori bustard, and ardwolf, dik-diks, goats, Maasai cattle, dogs, and donkeys. Daniel Brigg's binoculars, that he gave us for a birthday present, were very helpful for seeing animals.

When we got to camp, we found beautiful porcupine quills. Then we got some quartz crystals.

(12/21/04) There was a flash flood last night ! It destroyed all of our journals. Dad and I managed to salvage the old entries in my old journal, but Leah and Adam's are gone forever.

I missed two entries, but here is the story of the flood. We set up camp by a dry creekbed. I wrote in my journal (last entry). Then Dan and I took some pictures of distant lightning. Then we went to sleep. In the middle of the night, I woke to the sound of rain. There was something under the tent; it wasn't grass! Suddently, Exaud yelled "Get out of the tent. Quickly! Leave everything behind!" He had real panic in his voice. We ran up to the car. We had trouble getting in. We finally got in. It was the worst night I've ever had! I thought we had lost everything. I thought the car was sliding down into the river. I thought the car was spinning.

This morning, we found almost everything! We found three animals, killed in the flood: two mongooses and an agama lizard.

(12/22/04) A Maasai gave me a special stick. Later that day, a Maasai named Saipo made us each sticks. Here's how he made them. First, he found special wood, then he put the wood on a fire, and took it out and strengthened it. He ground the bark off. Then he chopped the knots off. Then he rounded the ends.

We bought jewelry from some Maasai women.

(12/24/04) Today we went on a game drive in Serengeti National Park. We saw twenty-nine new species of animals today. We saw two sleeping lions in the shade on a kopje (a rocky outcropping in the savannah). We saw baboons in a fig tree. We saw vultures kicking a cheeta away from its kill.

(12/26/04) We spent two nights in the Serengeti, but now we are in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. We just came back from a game drive in the Ngorogoro Crater. We saw fourteen new species (which makes 66 so far!). Adam got attacked by a monkey today. The monkey had a baby on its belly and it took two granola bars.

Yesterday we went to a Maasai boma (homestead). Adam and I picked up baby goats. The house was dark and smokey. We learned a lot of things.

(12/28/04) This morning we went hunting with the Hadzabe. The leader of the group's name is Ndaya. They caught two lessor bushbabies with bows and arrows. They ate them right away. I thought it was disgusting.

Later in the day we saw caves in the baobab trees where women deliver babies. Then we saw the rock caves where the Hadzabe live during the rainy season for up to six months at a time.

(12/30/04) Yesterday, we went to the Hazabe boma to see them make a shelter. They made it by sticking branches into the ground, tying them at the top, and covering them palm fronds and grass.

They made bows and arrow for us. Leah didn't want one. She said she wanted to be girly, and a bow and arrow wasn't girly! They also gave us a firestick (their giant match).

Today we had target practice. Adam is a lot better than me.

Me and Leah built a house for little, red, hermit-crab-like things.

Before that we went to the Datgoa boma and had our questions answered.

We just came back from giving / getting to / from the Hadzabe. We played some games and had a toy fest. We also had some more target practice. I feel sad about leaving the Hadzabe tomorrow.

(1/1/05) Happy New Year! We didn't stay up to midnight last night, but we are going to celebrate at 11am this morning, which is midnight Seattle-time.

It's Daniel's birthday! Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to Daniel. Happy birthday to you.

Yesterday morning, Adam and I did a lot of playing with some Hadzabe kids. Then we got into the car and drove to Tarangire National Park. Then we found that all the roads were flooded so we couldn't get to our special camp and we went to the public campsite. It was a lot of driving! This is how we spent New Year's eve.

(1/2/05) Last night, Exaud had to shoo away hyena's from the camp; they wanted to get into the cook tent.

I also barfed twice.

Today, we went on a game drive. We saw lots of elephants. At lunch there were lots of baboons and vervet monkeys. They tried to steal our food! We threw rocks at them. The view was great!

Earlier in the morning we went swimming. I met up with my friend Peter, whom I met yesterday. Peter lives in Arush, but is a US citizen. His dad is an architect; he designed part of Peter's school. Unfortunately, they left this afternoon.

Now I am swimming. Our trip is almost over. I'm sad.

(1/4/05) We are in Arusha National Park (Mt. Meru camp). Today we went hiking. We saw some amazing waterfalls and a giant fig-tree arch. I want to climb Mt. Meru and Little Meru.

Exaod showed us how to make Ugale, the local staple food made from corn meal. It was funny. You eat Ugale with sauce; it takes good.

We had a barbeque dinner. It was really good.

(1/6/05) We are in Zanzibar. Today we walked around Stone Town. We saw the slave market, where they were cruel to slaves. We saw dead sharks and a manta ray at the fish market. We tasted all sorts of fruit. Mom forgot the video camera.

(1/8/05) This morning Leah and I went shell collecting. I took some video of the ocean. We are going to go biking and snorkeling later this afternoon.

(1/9/05) Today we went swimming with dolphins. We also went snorkeling at a coral reef. It was really fun. Then we had a really nice lunch and went jumping around in the sand.

Then we went to the Jozani forest. It was really amazing! The mangrove swamp and the monkeys were really cool. I also found half a shilling coin on the ground. I want to make it into a necklace for good luck.

(3/5/05) Epilog: Looking back, I think my trip to Tanzania was amazing. My favorite part of the trip was playing with the Hadzabe. I was impressed at how well they could survive with just one knife and shorts!

My favorite African animals are the cheetas and the red colobus monkeys. (And I hadn't even heard of the red colobus monkeys before I went to Africa! Did you know that colobus monkeys don't have any thumbs?)

I really, really, really want to go back to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro! Maybe for my twelfth birthday...