My siser Julie and her husband Ben recently returned back to Australia after a whirlwind week long trip to Tanzania. It was great fun to have them here! From the moment we picked them up at the airport it was non stop. For any first time visitor, the ride from the airport into the centre of Dar es Salaam is an eye popper. I can remember back when we first arrived here and I'm sure my jaw was bouncing around on the bottom of the taxi - and I thought that I was a fairly seasoned traveler. Now all the sights and sounds of Dar are normal to me, but it was fun to watch the reactions of Ben and Julie as we made our way slowly through the kaotic traffic, rough roads that often resemble moguls on a ski field, and hoards of people enjoying the fresh night air at various open street markets. Dar maybe a big, congested, rough, dirty city but you can't help admiring the peace, and friendly buzz of the people that live here in a multitude of races, cultures and religions. The place has a bustling raw energy that can only be found in Africa.
Anyways we had a day in Dar where I took Ben and Julie across to one of the nearby islands, and then a morning in the wood markets before we took the afternoon train to Ifakara. On the way we passed throught the Selou Game Reserve (the largest in the world -larger than Ireland). It was pretty sureal to be drinking beers on the train in our modest first class cabin whilst viewing over sunset antelope, giraffe, wilderbeast and elephants. It was the end of the school holidays and I have never seen the train so packed. On arrival at Ifakara it was maddness as people were trying to get themselves onto the ongoing train. 3rd class was scary - worse than sardines and children were being passed through windows whilst their mothers struggled to grab any foothold possible onto the train.
Over the next few days Ben and Julie experienced Ifakara life. We visisted the villages where MSABI is working, ate lots of local fresh foods and even took a motorbike ride. It was great to share with my family what I have been up to and I was proud to unviel a pump with their son's name (Brock Rudes) on it. Ben and Julie have donated $1000 so far to MSABI. Anybody/Group/Company thinking of donating more that $600 will have a pump dedicated in their name.
We returned to Dar es Salaam via Mikumi National Park where we camped for 2 nights. Possibly the best camp fire ever was constructed along with some silly Hemingway impersonations spurred on by Ben reading the "Green Fields of Africa". We also were lucky to see all the big animals including a pride of Lions with young cubs.
The return car trip to Dar was its usual craziness with a mess of trucks and buses racing eachother on a single lane highway. We managed to make it and get them on the plane home.