Bush2Beach and The African Roots Foundation (ARF) where happy to organise and host a group of 17 participants from Partners for World Health, who started their quest in Mwanza. They were loaded to the max with medical supplies which were destined to be taken out to the Biharamulo located in the Kagera region of Tanzania.
The group then continued back to Mwanza to rest up for the evening at the famous Tilapia hotel bordering Lake Victoria. This was the time to meet with the Bush2Beach drivers Simon, Loi, and Rogers who would then traverse through Western Serengeti to the central plains over a few days, finishing off the wildlife aspect of the groups safari with a full day of game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater.
I had the privilege of meeting this unique group of travellers at our Maasai community camp which overlooks Lake Manyara and The Great Rift Valley – after introductions and familiarization to the camp the group sat down with drinks in hand to a warm welcome from the Maasai themselves with traditional Maasai dancing and song. I mention a unique group as I was to appoint the varying ranges of accommodation that the community camp recently renamed to Isoitok (meaning many stones in Ki-Mai) has to offer to the intrepid traveller looking for a real grass-roots cultural experience. When I started reading the rooming list I was very intrigued to see that dates of birth ranged from the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s on the whole!!
Unfortunately time was very short to catch all the stories and sit with each individual but a super night was spent with tasty Swahili foods and traditional Maasai Goat BBQ to follow. All drifted off to the varying tented locations over the course of a still evening with the night chorus drumming out its rhythmical harmonious beat.
The cultural aspect of the visit to Isoitok camp Manyara started at 07.00 with an early morning traditional medicine walk for those who were inclined. Others enjoyed a lay in and the freedom of open air bush showers to kick their day into life with some fine ground Kilimanjaro coffee that seemed to be a winner in all departments, not forgetting the G&T’s the night before ?
The group had a fairly tight schedule to keep but before we were to bid farewell, B2B James Mollel who is also Maasai from Arusha region gave some more detailed information as to the small steps that the African Roots Foundation has been injecting into the community with the recent introduction of Safi Solar lights.
This is what is called a Gift of Light! The ARF with collected village fees had purchased a stock of these great simple solar lights with the intentions of distributing them amongst all boma’s (traditional dwelling) in the Esilalei community. The 17 Partners for World Health kindly purchased x 6 of these light to which they were given as a Gift to our neighbouring boma, this simple gesture now brings a simple commodity that we all take for granted to the Maasai and their children of that particular boma. The aim is to distribute as many of the lights as we can equally and fairly so A Gift for Light spread out its solar rays in all directions for this community nestled on the rolling hills of the Manyara basin.
We met up once again with the 17 members back in Arusha at Ngaresero Mountain Lodge – with a few hours on our hands on this sunny Sunday, stories and experiences were shared by one and all with the x 3 Bush2Beach drivers receiving emotional comments and praises for their services and more so personal sharing throughout the safari. We often have a saying and see it time and time again!! One meets as a stranger but leaves a family.
A huge thank you to Elisabeth McLellan and her team for firstly having the faith in Bush2Beach to put this overland safari together for her group and secondly in advance with the future plans in continuing the support through the ARF in helping the Maasai of Esilalei and other projects that we are currently assisting with.