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My friend, David (who I talked with about math and evolution on previous blogs, links are below.) went on a backpacking trip in Africa recently. This is his story of the experience of other cultures.
This is the seventh blog in this series. Here is the link for the page where the others can be found:
May 29, Farewell:
Today is the last day to be with our community with the Roots and Shoots people and the Chagga families. Today was a simple day. We went to eat our usual meals at the tree nursery, then we watched some cultural dancing. It never seems to get old. The Chagga mamas have so much joy and energy to share with each other and with the rest of us. It seems like they really seem to understand the true joys of life. Later, after a quick work session of packing sleeves with dirt, we took pictures, said our farewells, and we were on our way.
Our second stop was a women’s college where we would learn a quick history lesson about the Chagga/Maasai war. They showed us a secret tunnel built by the Chagga to protect their women, children, and cattle from the vicious war. After that, we went to do the ceremonial planting of the trees between the two volunteer groups. With that done, we will leave our symbolic mark on the land for many years to come.
After that, we went out for some dinner at a local restaurant that was serving samosas and Zanzibar pizza. Then, off to the hostel we went! The ride there gave me just an all to familiar sense of community and bonding. We were as cheesy as you can imagine- singing songs and laughing throughout the whole way; particularly High School Musical songs pitched by Sophie and Kyle. When we got to the hostel, we went to have a quick dip in the pool, and had some dinner and beers. Then we made spontaneous plans to go out to clubs with some of the Roots and Shoots volunteers. We had some pre-drinks before going, including a made up card drinking game with the group. Most of us were too tired by then to go to clubs, including myself. But I willed myself to do it, knowing that it would be fun.
Stella insisted that I go, and I was trying to convince others to come too. In the end, it was me, Stella, Rebecca, and Claudia, who showed up at the last minute. We got ready and were picked up by the guys. It was a fun night of drinking and dancing with the girls under the strobe lights to the familiar hip-hop that we hear back home. The music also included local artists like Diamond Plantumz, an artist we came to know and love. After the night was over, we said our final goodbyes to the others and took lots of final group pictures. It was a great bonding moment with the people who we were sad to know that we would never see again.
“I love you,” said Deus repeatedly as he hugged us on our way out of the club. I guess that alcohol can really make you feel closer to people.