This week we would be doing a conservation project in Moshi, working to conserve their source of water by planting several hundred trees. The work was probably the hardest we’ve encountered so far- it involved hoeing the soil and hiking up and down a steep incline to fetch bucket loads of water to pour into the holes, before planting the saplings. After a solid three mornings of work, we managed to plant about three hundred trees.
The heat in Moshi was far too intense to spend the whole day doing such physical activity, so we were given the afternoons off for our own leisure. For the most part, we spent the evenings lounging around in Mama Simba’s comfortable lodge. Eve and I took Monday afternoon as an opportunity to sneak into town to pick out a cake for Sara’s birthday, which was tremendously enjoyed by us all, in addition to a delicious Valentines Day dinner at a Indian/Italian restaurant.
On Thursday, right before we left for Moshi, we had to say goodbye to Troy and Bella, who were leaving us briefly to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a daunting prospect. Whilst we knew the separation would be short, we all felt the loss of their presence in their group, as a sort of preparation for when we all go our separate ways in three short weeks. We wished them all our luck, both for the climb, and for putting up with each other in such close contact for six days!
Saturday was the day we had long anticipated and dreaded in equal measure: the day we would watch Jimmy as he slaughtered and barbecued a goat. Early that morning, we hesitantly watched as they slit the goat’s throat (there was little room for squeamishness!), drained the blood and began skinning the carcass. Some were stronger of stomach than others: Savannah, always up to try anything, was more than willing to eat goat liver dipped in blood, and Charlie and Valerio eagerly tore off the meat from rib bones, whereas Pip and I were a bit more hesitant. The pungent smell of goat persisted in our nostrils for several days afterwards, and Pip in particular has turned green at the mere mention of goat stew. Nonetheless, it was a very novel experience and one that will not easily be forgotten!
On Sunday, we were given the privilege of attending the celebration of Mattias’ eldest daughters’ First Communion. I in particular enjoyed admiring the bold and beautiful outfits, while Sarah was more distracted by the young children all dressed adorably in their Sunday best. It was a lively event, and I was once again hugely impressed by the young girls’ grasp of the English language, in being able to deliver an entire speech in a foreign tongue. Whilst we sat and devoured the delicious food prepared for us, Bella and Troy were (we hope!) staring out across Tanzania from the highest peak in Africa!