My heart sank as we drove through Arusha on our first morning in Tanzania. I was reminded of Caribbean shanty towns, only dirtier and, somehow, much more "foreign".
Apparently, I grew new eyes, because two weeks later, it no longer looked dirty or "foreign". :-) Though there were moments I felt homesick for the familiar comforts of my home, and was actually ready to go home after two weeks, I would not have wanted to miss the thrill of seeing the first cheetah, the fist monkeys, the first, the second and...they just kept coming! Lions lying in the road, oblivious to being surrounded by jeeps of sightseers...magnificent, and yet behaving like contented domestic cats. There's so much magic in seeing animals in the wild, protected! I think it's fear which makes them...and us....screwy and, often, mean.
Visiting the Maasai boma was a most interesting part of the trip. The Maasai man has been all but worshiped by their many wives who do the work of the household. Those who have been converted to Christianity now take only one wife, and as a single wife, all the work falls on her, including the building of the hut. So, I chuckle, Christianity has made the Maasai's life harder.
I wanted to be a good sport and help my group plaster a hut with mud and cow-dung, but was in danger of throwing up. It's not like the women needed our help. Our being expected to put our hands in poop must have either been someone's idea of a "cultural experience" or a joke on the tourists. The Maasai sang and sang and then danced with us...men with men, and women with women, and at the end of our visit, laid out their jewelry for us to buy. Nothing was priced, a lump price negotiated by our group leader in Swahili.