Hadithi (Story)

In Tanzania, the tradition of storytelling begins with the storyteller saying, “Hadithi, hadithi” which means “A story, a story.” To that, you, the listener, responds with “Hadithi, njo” or “A story comes.”

On our long bus ride to Arusha from Lushoto, we wrote a linked story — each person writes an entry and passes it on to the next person. The next person can only see the entry before theirs. We went through several cycles of storytelling and present to you, our dear reader, the result:

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Hadithi

 

Safari ya Lushoto – Arusha na GIEU – TZ

 

We all woke up early to catch the fresh morning air of Lushoto and Arusha as we waited for the rides. We had a few surprises waiting for us…

 

John and I got front row seats which is super poa because the bus driver seems like a chill guy and we enjoy seeing his skills from da front. John pointed out some Tanzanian babes in their varying kangas. I got jealous so I put on an imaginary kanga. John said I looked nzuri. Ndiyo!!!

 

Molly is OUT OF CONTROL right now. Must be going crazy after eating some chapatis. Everyone demolished their breakfast five minutes into the trip…we’re not stopping for lunch…HOPE NO ONE GETS HUNGRY!

 

Bittersweet to leave. Everyone seems ready to move on to a new adventure but at the same time so grateful for all the hospitality and care. Driving into a market are now – does everyone always get up early here or what? It’s 8:37 AM on Saturday! Unfortunately I’m on the wrong side of the bus so I don’t see the mountains when I look out my window – it seems like the only proper way to say goodbye to Lushoto – to say goodbye to the Usambara mountains.

 

All of  a sudden an Alien starship 3001 appears and light beams the bus into the portal. “Habari,” the Alien King said to us as we arrived. All of a sudden, Greg awoke. Everyone was still on the bus safe. It was a dream. “Dramamine is a heck of a drug,” he said to no one in particular.

 

Then he gazed out the window and said, in a soft, dreamy voice, “Life to a highway, and I want to ride it all night long.” But alas, what is a highway but a highway of any other place, of any other time, of any other life, for all the world’s a stage and the highway is one of the players.

 

What art thou passengers but merely external expressions of internal convictions? A passenger of any other name would smell as sweet. To smell, or not to smell, that is the question?

 

We saw a waterfall. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a chocolate waterfall like in Willy Wonka’s factory. But I guess it was still pretty.

 

We passed out of the mountains, and are finally on a flat road where there is no danger of driving off a cliff. The view of the mountains from down here is unbelievable though.

 

From down here we look up at the Irente View Point, where we were just a week ago, marveling at the view and that tiny little road in the distance, the road that we’re driving on now. At this point of the journey, with the safety of being on flat earth, most of our group fell asleep. An unhealthy silence fell over the van…

 

Now we’re awakened to use the rest stop. This isn’t the rest stop we’re all used to. It’s the side of the road. This isn’t our first time being one with nature for natural waste removal. Ah! And we’ve just missed the lovely herd of goats. What a wonderful bonding experience!

 

I finally got a break and now we start up again. All I do is go round and round all day, carrying all this weight on my shoulders. Round and round I go, faster and slower. The only appreciation when I am down is I get filled up with air. Why, oh why couldn’t these people pack lighter. Ah! Rumble strip. Round and round I go!

 

Whilst relieving ourselves of our bodily fluids, a herd of wild, untamed goats approach. “Guys,” Tony says, “This is my calling. I must stay here and see that these goats be tamed. I am Tony Franklin. Man of the Goat.” We said our goodbyes and left, wondering who else we would lose on our epic quest through a land of fire and ice to the mythical town of Arusha.

 

Even though Tony had left our group, the rest of us trudged on. We all made a pact to stay together til the end. The question is not if the pact will be broken, it is when. I wonder how many will make it to Arusha.

 

There’s a very good chance I’ll throw Emily out of the window before we get there. She knows too much. She could prove to be a serious threat on the safari. I’m starting to believe this whole GIEU thing really stands for Guerilla Intelligence Evacuation Unit.

 

All of a sudden the bus comes to a screeching halt. Up ahead lies what we all feared most: Tony and his rabid herd of goats. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Tony yells. “Oh no,” chimes in Mama Mpesha. “I feared this would happen.” She then goes on to explain the only way to pass through. We must select two tributes from each grade. One male, one female. They must face off in a fight to the death where only one can survive. Eight enter. One leaves. The tributes are each allowed one of Tony’s goats for a weapon. Tony has a devious grin on his face knowing full-well what he is forcing us to do: we must compete in The Goat Games.

 

Members of each team are stripped of clothing and given kangas. Each member of Tony’s goats has a different power. Groups are allowed only one goat. Other tributes must root for the other opponents. And so the selection process begins. From the first year, the chosen tributes are strong John Silver and Michelle Silverstein. From the second year, Sam O. Rye and Mattman are presented. From the third year, Em&Em  and the Gregarian Lion Whisperer are chosen. Each contestant must grab their goat, gather their courage and ENTER THE ARENA. The Goat Games have begun. But this year, there’s a surprise contestant. A huge twist, if you will. As the contestants are raised up into the arena, they see Madonna and her famous Goat (named Toad) rising with them. Toad’s special power: banjo. “This is loco,” everyone coincidentally said in unison. (Translation: “This is crazy.”)

 

The Madonna and her majestic goat, Toad, ride in towards the other contestants. Their eyes widen in fear and disgust for the Madonna strums her banjo. It is a Mariah Carey song. The Madonna warbles the tune, lulling the others into a trance with her dulcet tones.

 

The Madonna tune is drowned by the sound of the passing bus. There is a truck ahead slowing us down. To the right are the Pare mountains that are slightly inferior to the Usambaras. We can’t wait to get to see Kilimanjaro ‘cos that means we are getting close to Arusha.

 

It has been an easy ride. John and I are confused by the random wind warnings. Like, why isn’t it windy everywhere?! We’re about to get annoying and ask for a potty break! Ahhhhh… John wants everyone to know that, “People think I’m crazy but I’m normal, I just come off as a psychomaniac when I’m performing that’s an act. So I don’t bore you to death, I just adore you (GIEU Tanzania!) and it’s the summer…so…

 

Could you meet me at the lake, at the park, or in the road? Our only option right now is the road…which Molly absolutely needs to stop because her bladder is about to explode!!!

 

After bathroom breaks and snacks, it always seems like a good time to nap. Most everyone is asleep, except Mama and Christy, who are talking. The road seems endless, just like the stretch of the mountains. The stretch will come to an end, temporarily, since we are stopping again soon because Molly has to pee.

 

Potty breaks are a prime opportunity for switching seats, which brings us the chance to discuss the seating options on the bus. There are the normal seats, with higher backs and supposedly softer seats, but very little leg room and no place to rest your feet if you want to put your feet up. The fold-out seats reach mid-back but has legroom and foot rests in front of you. Both have their pros and cons, but the general consensus is preference for normal seats. I think people underestimate the importance of legroom.

 

T-minus 2 hours until Arusha and hunger is starting to set in. The last chapatti has been eaten and Life Savers are being passed around, in hopes to stop the growling in our stomachs. At least the view of the tip of Kilimanjaro is distracting us. You can see the top peeking through the clouds.

 

We play hide and go seek with the mountain. It is a reminder that we are, in fact, in Africa. We can’t wait to go on safari – relax. Become the tourists that we inevitably are in this unique land. The terrain has changed so drastically from the mountains. This country is such a juxtaposition of extremes.

 

We may have stiff necks, full bladders, and rumbling tummies, but we have cheeseburgers in paradise.

 

I’m in a blue dark bag. The ground is shaking a lot. I’m not sure why I’m here. I see many of my brothers and sisters huddled nearby, and all of us waiting, waiting. Suddenly, the bag is wrenched open and a pale hand grabs me and peels off my garments. I feel naked and exposed for about three seconds, and then, suddenly, I’m in a moist, dark place and I know no more.

 

The Gregorian Lion Whisperer has emerged victorious from the Goat Games. Tony let the victor pass through. “This is exactly what happened to my Calvin students. Oh my,” says Mama Mpesha, continuing onwards on the epic quest to Arusha.

 

Haiku:

On the road again

Serengeti awaits us

Cleveland is major

 

[drawing of a banana] ß TAMU NDIZI

 

In Moshi they also make “mbege” which is a banana beer. But right now we need to get to Arusha and have some FOOD. We could also have ndizi sucari for dessert.

 

Yea them bananas sound good. But rest is sounding better! Arusha Arusha Baboosha oh my goosha.

 

Booshah. Groomshah. Rooshah. POOSHAH! It’s a good thing no one’s having my diarrhea problem!

 

Hot weather makes the ride seem longer. Slow driving also has the same effect. Behind a slow semi…the ride goes on forever.

 

Just passed the semi…are we there yet?

 

Ugh, seven speed bumps in a row slowing us down…maybe we will never get there.

 

Can somebody say Debbie Downer? THIS RIDE IS SO FUN I JUST LISTENED TO BILLY IDOL!!!

 

Apparently, someone’s being a Negative Nancy, but I am enjoying the scenery so far. I saw a peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro before it was engulfed in clouds. Also, I saw a dung beetle rollin’ dung into a giant ball of feces! YAY FECES!!!

 

I hope they were cow feces but I guess beetles can’t tell the difference or it makes no difference whether they are cow feces or elephant feces. We have just passed JRO Airport so you must be feeling homesickness. How do you find the scenery?

 

The scenery, the scenery? It’s splendid of course we are in Tanzania! I like all the trees – and that breeze. How’s that book, Johannes?

 

It’s pretty exciting! But what’s more exciting is the police officer awkwardly staring at us as he examines the bus…

 

Stopped by the road – need some type of permit to keep driving. The heat continues to beat down. We were told it would be hotter in Arusha, glad that that seems to be sure. Back driving now, it’s only a matter of time until we arrive…

 

Arusha now 36 km away. We have sweaty thighs, rickety windows, but a view of beautiful sunflowers and a whole lot of love.

 

Now to describe the interior decorations on the bus. Most of the seats have seat covers designed with flowers reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. A garland of green and gold leaves hang across the interior of the window shield. Emily’s kanga hangs from the window to block the sun. Wavy strokes of red and orange decorate all the windows.

 

Everyone is bored, restless, hungry or sleeping. It has been 6 hours, 2 minutes, and 35 seconds. Oh no! We have driven into a town of kitenge eating zombies! They’re after Emily and Nicole for hanging their kitenge! Ahh! It turns out our drivers are on their side and stop the bus…

 

Luckily, we were mistaken. The flesh-eating zombies were actually police officers. They checked our vehicle and let us go. We drive for a while and approach Arusha. It’s so close we can taste it. It tastes like bacon. Finally, after 7 hours, we arrive at Arusha Lodge with full bladders, empty stomachs, sweaty thighs, and joyous hearts. Hari zote! We are free!

 

LE FIN.

 

Love,

The 2012 GIEU Tanzania Team!

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