Sunday, February 28, 2010

Community Building On Safari

Day 20: It's mid-term break and Marie and I are taking a break from Dar heat to go on safari [journey in Kiswahili] in Mikumi National Park. We took a local dalla-dalla bus to Ubongo, Dar's central bus terminal. We were promptly verbally and physically harrassed by pushy men-one wouldn't stop grabbing my arm so I turned, looked him in the eys, and slapped him hard. No reaction. This annoyance of a human being continued harrasing me till I entered my bus terminal. Side note: on our trip bac to Dar one of these men pickpocketed by wallet and Marie's borrowed camera. Zilch community building.


Upon arrival at our motel, I found the Tanzanian staff accomodating. How easy it is to be a part of a friendly community! After a tour of their snake park-cobras, green and black mombas, boom slangs, and more- with their fearless guide we ate a leisurely four course dinner (I had grilled goat) with excellent service. The manager was especially pleasant. But...what merit is there in being a part of an already well built community?

Day 21: Left our hotel at 6:30am for a game viewing safari. Little social interaction beyond Marie and I peacefully enjoying each other's company while gazing at herds of elephants, wildebeest, giraffes, and gazelle. Oh, I should probably mention the many jackals, hippos, baboons, antelope, and zebra we met along the way! Let's say today I watched animal communities at work and observed how quiet a content herd is. Better peaceful quiet then noisy discord.

Prov. 21:23 "The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble."
Prov. 19:13 "A wife's nagging is an endless dripping."
Prov. 21:9-10 "Better to live on the corner of the rood than to share a house with a nagging wife."

Day 22: I'm pooped. Considering I spent my day hiking up mountains in the Udzungwa range to a spectacular waterfall, it's understandable. The climb through the rainforest was strenous as the first two hours were steep, to distract Marie and I from our aching legs our guide pointed out red colubus monkeys, blue monkeys, elephant shrews, and other rainforest wildlife. Particularly distracting were his stories about the problems the villagers face with pythons. At one point I shrieked and yelled, "snake!" as I gestured towards a puff adder curled up under a baobab.

"What?" my guide inquired, looked at the spot.

"That!" I squealed again. After five minutes of me pointing he finally spotted the snake. Looking at it with interest, he proceeded to tell us the effects of its venom when a human is bitten.

"You must cut off your hand. Venom spreads up your arm and decays your flesh." When he whistled experimentally at the puff adder I bolted up the trail.

"Where are you going?" he called, "Why are you afraid?"

But wait, our Tanzanian guide continues in my story. Once we arriced at the falls a spiritual conversation ensued. Our Tanzanian rafiki [friend] was curious about more than snakes, he was curious about our faith; so we happily shared the gospel message to him, explaining what it means to be truly, "born again." He thoughtfully asked us to pray for him.

Today my community building was entirely with our inquisitive, but slightly foolish guide.

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