. Oh dinner, that's a topic I should probably cover. We sat down at a huge table, before us three glasses, a napkin, and a placemat. First course was usually soup. It was the best soup I've ever had and probably the best soup I ever will have. I mean this soup gave Ramen Noodles a run for their money and THAT'S saying something. Then the main course would come out. Always delicious meat or fish, with vegetables. Then dessert would come out. In my opinion dessert would usually be a little too complicated, but delicious nonetheless. That night I had a little breakdown. I was just exhausted. I felt better in the morning. My opinion on Africa was and is that it is beautiful, incredible, amazing, and spectacular, but personally by night, it's just plain scary. The next day we had breakfast, which is always spectacular as well, and went to the Ngorodoto Crater to try to spot animals. We didn't see any animals in the crater, but we saw monkeys and a lot of birds. We had a picnic lunch like the day before. At the lodge they have these boxes which the girls and I dubbed " The Magic Box " Reason being that from the box, Clinton pulled coffee, a two - course meal. The lunch had three parts to it. He also conjured up juice, linen napkins, and silverware. Crazy. In the afternoon we drove around Momella Lakes. We saw flamingoes. Apparently there are two kinds of flamingoes. One kind is really pink and the other kind is not so pink. The next day we played soccer with the local kids. The last time I played soccer I was 9 and I tripped half the time, while over here soccer is religion basically
. I was a little worried. I pride myself on the fact that by the time that it was over, I was as good as one of the worse kids playing. At the end, I gave my shoes to a kid that didn't have any. I felt really good about it. Phones have a crazy influence here. I saw a kid who had no shoes checking his iPhone. That afternoon we helped the head gardener Franco with his permaculture project. Permaculture is an ancient way of farming where nature grows the crops. It was lost for a long time, but it's making a comeback. For more information read Gaia's Garden. Anyway we " helped " by planting a tree in a pre dug hole. We learned a lot though. The day after that we did a historical tour of Arusha in the morning. We saw the house of Margaret Trappe and saw the graves of an old lodge owners family. Mom thought she saw the butt of an elephant. In the afternoon we went on a canoe safari of Momella Lakes. At one point our guides took us under a tree and showed us a snake in it.
" What is it?" we asked.
" It's a boomslang "
We paddled on for a little bit and eventually he took us under another tree to show us another boomslang. We were right under it this time. Like , right under it.
" Is it poisonous? " someone asked.
And the guide replied, " VERY
. And right now it's the dry season, so their venom is the MOST concentrated right now. "
" What?!?!?!?!? ", Mom exclaimed.
" Ummm, let's go. Let's go then!!! Let's gooooooo "
Long story short we were not bit by a boomslang. We paddled on, and at one point we stopped and looked at a family of hippoes. The next day we woke up early to get to WatotoMomella, the preschool that is managed by the MomellaFoundation. Actually, Marlies and Jorg are the co - managers for the MomellaFoundation, which has nine projects under its umbrella. And their managing Shu'mata Camp and Hatari Lodge. Busy people. Anyway, the preschool was great. We had bought a bunch of school stuff in Israel which we brought to the school to give out. They sang a bunch of songs for us and recited some poems. At one point we sang a song with them. It was an introduction song. It went like this. Everybody would sing, " Amba, introduction, Amba, introduction, Amba. Then an individual would sing, " My name is " ,everybody, " Amba" , individual, " Ben" And on and on. We also wood stained the playground so that it wouldn't wear. The next day we did school. The day after that we headed to Shu'mata Camp. The next entry will be about that.
Hatari was great. On the way there from the airport we saw giraffes, zebras, and buffalo. A giraffe got REALLY close to us at one point. The lodge was fantastic. The owners, Marlise and Jorg Gabriel are Germans who just made their dream come true with their son, Donyo. They are just great people. Our first day we went on a walking safari. We saw tons of baboons and giraffes, really close. We also saw two waterfalls. At the second waterfall, Lucy was standing a little too close to the edge. Her foot sank in all the way to the top of her sock. She started freaking out. Eventually Clinton came over and yanked her out. Her shoe and sock were covered in in mud. On the drive, we saw Colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys, and Vervet monkeys. Vervet monkeys are also all around the lodge. One morning, we got like three feet from one. I could've taken one step and touched it. Anyway, after the waterfalls we drove to a cool viewpoint for a sundowner, which is like a cocktail hour. We had juices and beers and watched the sun go down. Then we drove back to the lodge to shower up before dinner