If the mountain does not come to the ThreeLeftHands…

Doutzen in the dustIt’s been two days already, two days of tarmac and dust. The tarmac is great, the dust isn’t. While the tarmac is like silk to the four battered wheels of our van, the dust finds its way through every pore of our car and during the months, those pores have accumulated like maggots on a rotting piece of meat. The dust is everywhere and combined with the increasing cold of the more northern part of Tanzania, our precious Doutzen gets a beating and lets us know it; every morning the starting of another journey takes more time, it’s like she’s saying “screw you guys, I need a spa before I do anything more worthwhile.” and every time we promise her that surely this was the last time we drove over such a terrible road consisting only of rock and sand, torturing our beloved transporter.

But how else could we come up that mountain? We simply had to be there. Not Kilimanjaro ofcourse, that rock is way too expensive to visit, although one night we did park rather close in order to view the last bits of snow that remain on top of Africa’s highest mountain. A bizarre sight indeed, especially when its taken in consideration that thanks to our planet’s warming up, this view is one for the historyb ooks. Enough mesmerizing, our quest lays at the smaller and more unknown Mt. Meru and after another terrible track, we plant ourself on the slope of the hill, at a small village where we’re surrounded by bananatrees, coffeeplantations and ofcourse the occasional tribesman. Ah, which bliss that is the untouched world, not polluted by an endless stream of white people flooding the streets of, say, Arusha and contaminated by the greed that seems to be the sad successor of tourism. The people in this village are so friendly, we can hardly believe it. With a suspicious face, eyelids together, one eyebrow up, one eyebrow down, we ask for the price of the wood that a small old lady just carried from behind a little house, just to use for our cooking. She does not seem to understand the question as she pushes the logs in our arms, for free. It’s been a long time since we sincerely felt welcome in a community, but here we obviously are. A man insist on us parking our car at the green patch next to the clinic for our own safety, when Marten is picking coffeebeans, children help him not for money but for fun and as we ask where we can buy some banana’s, a girl is willing to take down an entire tree. We suffice with just a few, but what an hospitality!

The temporary split up…

ready to walkThe goal of our visit here is to hike a couple of days around Mt. Meru, at least, for Marten and Minne it is. Henk doesn’t see the point of walking three days up and down a hill so instead he rather stays at the car, playing the guitar, use a pen to draw or to write and read a lot. The second day however, Henk gets himself involved in the local orphanage and is again surprised that even in the small collection of clay huts that this village is, an orphanage is needed to host no less than 21 children. That night, the children trick Henk in reading countless bedtime stories. Normally, they fall asleep during the story, but unaccustomed to white people and big beards, the children can’t keep their eyes from this strange mzungu.

The 29 year old that started the orphanage is a most admirable man; started the cultural touring organization ‘Peace Matunda’ just to be able to build and support an orphanage and a primary school. Because we like initiatives like this, we help the man out with some wonderful writings that will form the body of his new brochures and we help him write a project proposal. With our help, the project surely will flourish as never before! Ah, the help and relief we bring, sometimes we feel good, being us.

Marten in the woodsMeanwhile, Minne and Marten struggle their way around the mountain, which is more rough than it seemed. Obviously, only one can of beans is not enough to endure two nights and three days in the jungle that mainly consists of impassable bamboo and steep hills. After a couple of hours the men realize they should have brought more water and the rest of that day is indeed filled with the search for fresh water. At last, at the end of the afternoon, they fins a puddle of mud, of which the contents are boiled above a small campfire. As soon as the small dots stop moving around, the mountaineers figure, the ’soup’ will be ready for consumption, also very nutritious, no doubt. Noflik, our dog, that only ate one banana at the start of the hike, seems to suffer absolutely nothing from three days without food and enjoys the cold of the mountain as she does not stop running like mad around our puffing and sweating heroes. But at last, after three day, two dustbeaten, growling manlike creatures limp in to village. Behind the bewildered faces Henk is barely to recognize his two friends, but there is nothing that a cold waterhose does not fix, and after thirty minutes of high pressure water on their shivering bodies, Marten and Minne become perfectly shiny again. ThreeLeftHands vs. Nature: 1-0.

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3 Responses to “If the mountain does not come to the ThreeLeftHands…”

  1. Gudrun Dürr Says:

    Hi my friends, I see a lot of adventure in your journey - but you have your dog back - I hope he is still with you!?. I’m so sorry about your bad expirients on your last day in Kenya - but this is not the real Kenya - I hope you know - this are just people - like everywhere in this world. We are very fine in Msambweni and we have now 42 kids. I wish you all the best for all what your adventures. Many greetings from the whole family in Nice View - Msambweni. Take care - Gudrun

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