Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 8 – Faux Pas

First, I have to tell you something funny that happened last night. Some of you may already know that Africans are very modest. While that statement might seem funny to those that subscribe to National Geographic, they are extremely modest it’s just that nakedness is defined a little differently. African women never expose their thigh so most skirts or shorts come to the knee. While we already know this, Shannin had just showered and was getting ready for bed wearing a sweatshirt and shorts about the length of boxers. She wanted to tell her brother Doug goodnight and without thinking, went down to the pavilion where he was talking to some of the UAACC workers. Upon coming into view, she was immediately made aware of her mistake by the looks of amazement she received aimed directly at her legs. She did an about face and walked off into the darkness with Doug on her heels, not realizing what had happened, asking “Where are you going? I didn’t give you a hug. I thought you came to say goodnight.” She clearly broke “the rules.”

(Ashton doing his own laundry in a bucket.)

Here are some Tanzanian facts we thought you might be interested in:

  • National language is Swahili, but almost everyone knows some English
  • Ugali is a common food that the Tanzanian’s use as a carbohydrate supplement. It is made from corn and a lot like the grits.
  • All bananas are not created equal. We’ve run into several variants including red bananas. They all taste a little different.
  • Tanzania used to be under British rule so they drive on the left side of the road.
  • Tanzania often sees up to six months of drought in which everything dies including a massive amount of livestock. When the rains come, everything changes within a couple of months.
  • While there are several native tribes here, the Masai are probably the most common and famous. The men often have at least two wives and one chief in the area has over twenty wives and more than hundred children. He built his own school for all of his kids.
  • Electricity and general governmental infrastructure is sporadic at best. There are multiple electricity outages each day and that’s if the electricity is on at all. There is no municipal water or sewer system.
  • Tanzanians take pride in their country and do not throw trash on the ground.
  • Homes are built without mortgages. Nobody trusts them so they build a home rather slowly sometimes dying before they finish the construction.
  • You cannot own land, but you can lease it. Lease terms are either 30 years or 99 years.
  • There is a 7 hour time difference to the east coast
  • There is an estimated 4 Million orphans in Tanzania
  • Medical care and medication is actually very cheap although quite primitive in certain areas. E.g. we purchase Malarone for prevention of Malaria while we’re here. It costs $200 per person in the U.S., but only $23 here.

Today we are heading to the Ngorongoro crater area to a lodge called The Bougainvillea Lodge; the ride in was beautiful.

(Termite Hill)

Juma told us that termites are considered a delicacy and a great source of protein. When they are prepared properly, they are a treat like nothing you've ever tasted. If we get the chance to try them, we’ll let you know.

(Baobob Tree. One of the oldest living trees in the area.)

(Masai Village)

The accommodations here are very nice and dinner was amazing. We’re heading out early for the 45 minute drive to the crater and we looking forward with great anticipation as to what we might see.


  1. Good to see updates! Confirmation that all are alive and well! Great lead story! Shannin stirring up controversy. Who knew???? I mean, I guess we all use our feminine wiles when we have to!!!! But on poor unsuspecting African men???? Too funny.

    Can't wait to hear about termites, or can I? Eww.

    So March has passed. April is here. And you only have a few days left. God has been good.

    Favorite picture of the day: Oldest living tree.
    Simple reminder of what was, what is, and what's to come...


  2. Looks like things are going well. Enjoying pictures of scenery as well as the people. Kilamonjero especially, I'm sure I will be envious of the safari! When our friend Ray Damazo was doing dental work in Africa, I remember him talking about the Msai. Wonder if you are in the same area. He went routinely and PBS had a documentary on him on public TV. He also has a book he wrote about his adventures. Maybe you too can write a book!! I remember him saying giving the kids candy should be outlawed, as they had so many dental problems because of Americans giving them candy!!

  3. Thanks for all the information, it's nice to know that our kids have brains as well as looks. Ash, I'm glad you're keeping you clothes clean(I hope you're not the only one) Shan, you crazy american! So, what type of food are you eating? Any fish soup yet? Actually, termites sound better. Paul it's nice to see you're getting some much deserved rest. I guess this is the best time of the year to visit there as everything looks pretty green. I am so enjoying the pictures(I really wish I was there with you all. Have a Blessed Sabbath. I love you

  4. I'm going to HAVE to know if anyone actually tried the termite snack! LOL!

  5. I am very jealous of you guys, I always wanted to go on safari! Elivia, when you get back I havto as you something in person :) mario