Once upon a time, eleven wazungu went into the wild. These are the things they saw…. lions, tigers, bears oh my! Just kidding about the tigers and bears, but the lions were a thing. Oddly enough, two out of the three times we saw these lions, momma and papa were doing the “downtown shuffle”. In those moments we all felt that we were right inside of Animal Planet. Along with those lions, we encountered an elephant about ten feet away from our safari car! We also met many giraffes, which always inspired some to yell “TWIGA” (giraffe in Kiswahili). Along with our twiga friends we saw antelopes, greater and lesser kudus, baboons, one distant cheetah, hippos, warthogs, eagles, zebras, lizards, dik-diks, jackals and an assortment of birds.
Overall, the safari was amazing! But, one dreary night, we had quite the “shituation” on our hands (and in our pants). The clock struck 4 and three girls’ insides betrayed them. The journey to the bathroom was far too dangerous as many feared attack by rampant hippos. It was a night of terror, but of course they made it through the fire and to the morning. Our insides will never defeat us! After the dreadful night, we went back out on safari and saw a leopard, the animal we had long await to see. The safari as a whole was beautiful, and we won’t forget the gorgeous reddish-orange sunrises and sunsets. We all enjoyed our two and a half days of being tourists.
After our safari, we hopped from Iringa to Njombe in the southern highlands. We visited the local milk factory and had REAL CHEESE for the first time in a long time. At night we had a stimulating discussion on privilege and what it meant to us. At the end of our conversation, we were all aware of our unearned privileges and how they affected each individual in the group.
Along with that deep thinking, came more deep thinking at our holistic living retreat at Ohana Amani. There we met our amazing friends and teachers Chevy, Curry and Luka. Each had an abundance of knowledge to share with us. Throughout the entire retreat, Curry and Chevy pushed us to dig deep and get to know ourselves. They also taught us farming techniques, cooking, building fires, yoga, taking care of ourselves and overall simple living. Luka taught us how to make risotto and spent countless hours outside working on building the tool shed with us and by himself. This tool shed was a project given to us to benefit everyone living at Ohana Amani and teach us to take care of our bodies physically. We exercised mentally and spiritually with interesting conversations on our values, beliefs and what it would be like to go home.
For the cherry on top, we were surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and luscious pine trees. The house had hot showers, a fire always burning and an abundance of books. We haven’t even talked about the food! On Easter we walked down to a grand waterfall and had a picnic consisting of savory, cheesy and everything-in-betweenie stuffing, a salad, watermelon and pear cake home made by chef Chev. The meals following after did not once fail to impress us. We had fresh salad from the garden everyday, pizza, risotto, potato au gratin, stir fry, fried rice, potato soup, frittata, french toast, potato salad, spaghetti, garlic bread and cupcakes. All the food was fresh, local and mostly from the garden. We loved every minute of being spoiled with such delicious food.
All in all the holistic retreat and our new friends has been yet another amazing experience in Africa. So much gratitude and love goes out to Chevy, Curry and Luca!