Friday afternoon, Ana, Ingrid and I went out to town for the first time by ourselves. Friday marked the end of my first week in Tanzania. We went along Sanawari road which is where our village, Sanawari Village, is located. The street had many stores and vendors along the way. We discovered that fries are a popular street food here. Almost every food vendor sells it. On rare occasions some will sell different kinds of bread and fried fish. Ana had bought a bag of fries… the first of many.
The end of Sanawari is the town of Arusha. We kept walking straight and found a sign for a restaurant called Woodland Cafe. The sign advertised pizza, sandwiches and other western foods. We decided to check it out since all three of us were craving western food. The cafe was empty, literally empty.
The menu was all in english but the waitress barely spoke any english. It had traditional breakfasts, desserts, burgers, pizzas, pastas, we were in heaven. You never realize how much you miss certain foods until you are deprived of it. I miss meat and I miss eggs. Sometimes I dream about all the eggs and meat I’m going to consume when I go back to Canada. Eggs are expensive in Arusha, I’ve only had it once for breakfast and it was nearly burnt. Most people here raise their own chickens.
People here eat meat as well but not meat MEAT. They use the bones to add flavour into their stews. Whatever bits of meat you do end up eating is also very tough. I just want a piece of big juicy steak. This is me one week in. I wonder how I’m going to survive three more months.
At the cafe I ordered a big plate of breakfast. It had two eggs, toast, beef bacon, sausage and grilled tomato. The whole thing was 10 000 (5USD) which at the time did not seem too much. But now that I have gone out more and bought more things, I realize that it is a lot of money. I’m probably not going back to this cafe again.
Every bite of food was heaven. Ingrid and Ana laughed at me for ordering breakfast at 4pm in the afternoon. I guess eating breakfast at any time of the day is a Canadian thing? I explained to them that all day breakfast cafes and diners are quite popular in Canada. Its not uncommon to order breakfast in the middle of the day. They still made fun of me.
For dessert, the three of us had split a nutella crepe. That was also delicious. They don’t eat many sweets here, which is a good thing I guess. Sugar is not good for you. But goodness, do I miss baked goods.
When we went back to Ingrid’s host family to meet the fourth volunteer. She’s staying for a whole month so her, Ingrid and I are going to be together for most of our program. She’s from Germany and her name is Julia. We chatted on the pavilion of Ingrid’s, and now Julia’s, host family house. The three of us were in a good mood from eating all that food.
On Saturday morning, the four of us went for a hike to the famous waterfalls near Mt. Meru with Sam. The hike took six hours in total. I didn’t eat breakfast and the last meal I had was the breakfast from the day before. The hike was exhausting for me. Even the smallest hill left me out of breath. But it was worth it, the waterfall was beautiful. To get there, you had to walk in a stream which had many rocks. The water current was also strong from the rain. I slipped while going down a mud path and bruised the outside of my foot.
When we arrived at the falls, there were young boys who wanted to guid us through the path to the falls. We told them we weren’t going to pay them but they came with us anyway. They were quite helpful, they held your hand when crossing the water, and told you where to put your feet so you don’t fall. We saw many foreigners during the hike, the most I’ve seen since coming here. We saw a group of Australians and quite a few Canadians.
We ended up giving the boys some money since they actually were very helpful. But Sam, our program coordinator said that it’s not a good idea to pay them since many of them will skip school to do this instead.
After getting out of the waterfalls, we had a little picnic on a nice patch of grass. Ingrid brought lunch from her host family. Ana and I were in shock. She had brought an omelette cooked with fries. It was so delicious. Ana and I were jealous that her host family fed her much better than ours. We wanted to complain to Mike since we’re all paying the same price. But we eat what our family eats, I don’t feel comfortable asking them to change their eating habits. I’m still trying to figure out how to go about this.
The four of us laid down to tan when we finished eating. It was a rare day full of sun. I didn’t think the sun would be such a rare commodity in Africa, but then again I didn’t look at when the rain season was. It was a nice break after a 4 hour hike. We also needed to regain our energy for the 2 hour walk back.
The way back was much easier. The way to the waterfalls was mostly up hill, so the way back was mostly downhill. I walked in my flip-flops most of the way, which was a stupid decision since I had also hurt my foot. But I realized my mistake in the end and switched to my wet, muddy running shoes.