Last night we stayed at a beautiful place called Ngorongoro Farmhouse. There’s a large main building with the rooms in detached duplexes that were very large and modern. It certainly didn’t seem like Africa! They are surrounded by coffee and flower fields. It’s back to tents tonight, so we appreciated the luxury. Francis met us for breakfast and took us to meet an Iraqw man named Paulo. His village is spread out over many hills and valleys that we walked with him. He explained his tribe and their culture. He was educated and placed a very high priority on education for his family. Paulo took us to an area of cliffs and gorges where there are caves. His people hid in these caves during a war with Uganda in the late 1970’s. We saw many of the houses which ranged from mud huts to small concrete or brick structures. He took us to a quarry where they mine clay and make bricks. They do it all by hand, and we both agreed that we’ve never seen any more labor-intensive work. One group of men were using picks and sledges to break up the dried clay and pound it into dust.
A group of young men added water to it, mixing it into a wet clay consistency, put it into large forms, and ran them to another area where they were laid out to dry. These guys reminded us of slaves working on the Egyptian pyramids. They run these large, wet bricks for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. We didn’t think we knew of anyone in the U.S. who would do this work at any pay rate. After the bricks were dry they build a large kiln out of them and bake the kiln from the inside out for 2 days. When it cools, the kiln is disassembled and the bricks are ready. It looked like work that we would have expected from prisoners in the south 50 years ago. Paulo took us to his house to meet his family. He has a small concrete house which was pretty nice compared to most, although there is no water, so the children haul it from public wells. His family performed some Iraqw music for us, served us pancakes and tea, and told us all about their culture. What a great family! Next we drove over the rim of the
Ngorongoro Crater on our way to Ndutu for the night. We saw a lot of wildlife and Maasai herders as we passed through this area. We were back to dirt roads and bumpy rides. At one point Francis took off through the open lands supposedly to our next camp, but Len always accused him of being lost. It was amazing how we always ended up where we were supposed to be even without roads! We were greeted by Maasai warriors who were moonlighting as bellmen. What a great place in the middle of nowhere! They had solar panels and internet! Our tent was quite a ways from the main building, so we were escorted by spear- carrying Maasai warriors. We had a great dinner, and then it was bedtime in our luxury tent with an indoor bathtub and an outdoor shower.
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