AFRICA DAY 11 - LAKE MANYARA
Tuesday, July 5
 
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Since we were going to be in the same room again tonight we didn't need to organize anything for travel. I got up around 7:00am and soon headed down for breakfast. Available was an omelet cook station, potatoes, bacon and sausage, fruit and juice, along with bread. I had an omelet with tomatoes, cheese and peppers along with some potatoes, toast, and guava/mango juice. After breakfast we all grabbed our day bags and loaded the trucks for an 8:00am departure back to Lake Manyara National Park.

We arrived shortly after leaving and entered the park. Our destination was the hot springs - several miles away along bumpy and dusty roads. We drove through the park, looking for wildlife and quickly encountered our baboon friends along with some impala. Throughout our morning trip to the hot springs, we also saw an elephant, monkeys, giraffes, a rock hyrax (a rodent that resembles a large guinea pig), various birds (including a kingfisher), more impala and many more baboons. We were also able to spot a few dikdik - tiny deer-like animal with big doe eyes. Kind of like a real-life Bambi. We also saw a pair of ostriches, though they were pretty far off in the distance. Zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo were also visible in the distance.

At the hot springs Mike talked about the rift valley and its significance - how it marks the rough line along which Africa is tearing apart. The line stretches thousands of miles from the Middle East through southern Africa, and in a long time will eventually split Africa into two continents. From the hot springs area we were also able to see reasonably close a herd of African buffalo (or "buffalo" - what we call a buffalo in the US is technically a "bison" or "American buffalo") - they were quite large with big horns.

We started the long drive back through the park to return to the lodge for lunch. Along the way back we saw a family of mongooses, more giraffes, many varieties of hornbill (birds), more baboons (they're kind of like squirrels now - they're everywhere), and a Bateleur eagle ripping apart something dead it was eating. We also had a fairly close encounter with a family of elephants. We came up on the other truck in our caravan (of two) which had stopped to watch some elephants. As we pulled along side and then ahead of them, an elephant started walking toward the road, eventually on to the road just ahead of our truck before disappearing back into the forest on the other side. We were also able to watch the other three elephants (including a small baby) through the trees and grasses, though the baby stayed mostly hidden.

We got back to the lodge right after 1:00pm and met for lunch. I had a "greens salad with balsamic dressing" which actually ended up being diced cucumbers, green peppers, and tomatoes with balsamic vinegar (good, but not quite what I was expecting) to start, followed by "African beef stew" (which seemed just like American beef stew) with rice, honey glazed cauliflower and pumpkin, with chocolate mousse (that was more like cake) for dessert. It was all pretty good, just not quite what I expected given the names. After lunch I laid down for a short rest (though didn't fall asleep) before meeting most of the rest of the group at the trucks around 3:00pm.

The destination for the afternoon was the Shalom Orphanage and the FAME clinic. We drove for a while through the town of Karatu before turning down a very poorly maintained dirt road, arriving at the orphanage a short time later. It was a fairly large building on a nice-sized plot of land. The daughter of the founder explained that her mother had started the orphanage eight years ago with only a few kids, but now they had 55, of whom six were HIV-positive. A staff of 15 helped take care of them all. It was nap time when we visited so very few kids were out and about. We took a quick tour, seeing a couple of the bedrooms, the kitchen, laundry room, and school room. The school room is only used for the younger kids - once they reach primary school age they attend the local school.

On the grounds they keep many animals, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, and cows. They have a fairly large garden and farm area where they grow maize and their own vegetables. Overall I was actually quite impressed with the setup they had. I was expecting something totally depressing and decrepit, but it really wasn't that bad. By American standards it was lacking - but by Tanzanian standards was actually pretty good. The rooms were pretty clean, the kids all had beds to sleep on (many, though not all, also had mosquito nets) and a solid structure with a roof to sleep under - more than much of the local population has.

We then traveled a bit further down that same road to the FAME (Foundation for African Medicine and Education) medical clinic. We spoke to the German (but American-educated) administrator who explained how they got started and what they do. The founders (a cardiologist and his psychologist wife from California) were climbing Kili when he suffered high-altitude pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), almost dying. He was treated by an American-trained Tanzanian doctor who commented that they could really use more doctors in Tanzania than in California, so the doctor and his wife sold or gave away everything they had and moved to Tanzania. He did a short residency (of sorts) in tropical/infectious diseases at a local hospital before opening his own clinic. They currently provide basic care at an affordable rate to local Tanzanians, including a large number of the local Masai population. They also operate a mobile clinic, and along with government nurses, travel to remote locations to provide medical care and vaccinations. She stated that the most common procedures the mobile clinics perform are de-worming the children and providing multi-vitamins; they are often malnourished due to worm (hookworm, tapeworm, etc) and other infections.

We returned to the lodge where we met in the bar for a while before dinner. This time the dining room was nearly full (it was almost empty last night) and they had the buffet going. Randy once again played a few songs with the blessing of the resident guitarist Daniel, including a Johnny Cash song that most of the patrons seemed to enjoy. After a few more songs, he returned the guitar and we returned to our rooms.


>> View all pictures from today <<      

 
kingfisher
Kingfisher (Lake Manyara National Park)


dikdik
Dikdik (Lake Manyara National Park)


monkey
Monkey in Tree
(Lake Manyara National Park)


springs
Hot Springs Area (Lake Manyara National Park)


elephant
Elephant (Lake Manyara National Park)


laundry
Laundry Drying (Shalom Orphanage)


school
Schoolroom (Shalom Orphanage)

     More pictures from today:

baboons
Baboons (Lake Manyara National Park)
hornbill
Hornbill (Lake Manyara National Park)

impala
Impala (Lake Manyara National Park)
cliffs
Cliffs (Lake Manyara National Park)

pano
Zebras (Black & White)
(Lake Manyara National Park)

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