Saturday, June 9, 2007

where the streets have no name

where the streets have no name

we bought a "map" for lake mnyara. it is a yellow blob with red veins crisscrossing and meandering along-the key claims these to be roads.
in a deceptively dilapidated land cruiser i went with Meghan, Justin, James-med students doing research - and Christine, and David- undergrads- to Maji Moto, a hot spring in the middle of no where. our directions: "turn left off the [paved] road to Arusha onto a dirt road. follow the road for a while till you see a man on a bike. ask him where to go." Meghan drove with a confidence i couldn't have pretended. the "roads" were mere tracks through dust and grass, the deep ditches rattling our brains. how does anyone find their way anywhere or remember where they have been?? at one point our road ended at a river. so we drove through it. we picked the wrong path at times, ending deep in the vast rural lands. finally we came upon a bar-like stand with drinking Masai -a native tribe who still keep the traditional ways. tall and thin in their red robes and large earrings- gathered around. a unique sight indeed. after much confusion and laughter -we were certainly as strange to them- we were on our way again. the children poor out of their homes waving with delight as we pass by: "Allo! Allo! Jambo! Jambo!"

two years ago a crocodile ate a mzungu student at Maji Moto. true. they killed the croc and charged people to view it. the current is fiercely strong beneath the serene surface. i long to explore into the palm covered passages but fear the mambas -'snakes' and the crocs surely hiding there. the water is crystal clear. we throw ourselves through the current stream, letting it whisk us towards the danger zone, laughingly storyboarding our horror movie.

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