Images by Phil... and June
Tanzania Mountain Hike - 2008
by June's Views on February 2nd, 2019

Behind the city of Morogoro, Tanzania, stands the Uluguru Mountain, stately and proud, never changing. Sometimes we can’t see the mountain because it’s draped in clouds, or because rain is coming down in torrents. But Mount Uluguru is always there; just like God, even when my faith
wanes and my clouded mind can’t see Him, or I’m in so much pain it’s seems like He’s not there—He IS STILL there—more real than this mountain, whether
I can see Him, feel Him or not!
Today we climbed Mount Uluguru! (What was I thinking?!) We began our trip at 7:30 a.m., escorted by Mr. Amani. Many people passed us as they traveled down the mountain, most of them carrying produce to sell at the market. A few were going to market to buy. The ladies carried their heavy burdens on their heads, and they were dressed beautifully in colorful skirts, tops, and head gear. About 30 minutes into our climb we stopped at one of Mr. Amani’s two mountain homes.
Here he lives part of the time with Wife Number One and their children. She was cooking outside over an open fire, preparing hot cakes for us. They were delicious! The view from his humble home on the mountain side is priceless. Mr. Amani’s son, Juma (son with Wife Number Two, who lives on
another mountain peak path) joined our hike. He walked in front, and Mr. Amani followed last. Now the hike got serious.
We followed the road until it was no longer a road. We took a “short-cut” path where the weeds grew higher than my head and the path was narrow.
I felt claustrophobic, among other things. We climbed for long distances at a 45 degree angle. I’m telling the truth! At times I had to use
my hands to get myself up. I thought “What have I gotten myself into now?” When Rick and Linn proposed this hike (they are serious hikers), I
told them I was afraid I’d hold them back, but Phil was on a trip with Edson and I had nothing else to do; Rick said he’d walk behind and poke me with a stick if needed. I seriously thought he was going to need to use that stick! The temperature and humidity got higher and higher.
We saw drop-dead gorgeous scenery – waterfalls, terraced areas planted with various crops, and lovely flowers and trees. We passed a small Christian church where services are still held every
Sunday. We passed many mud and stick houses, usually with chickens and goats in the yard. Sometimes the home owners had dug steps up the steep incline to get from their yard to their garden or other crop above their home. We asked if we could use their steps and they always said yes. Children called and waved to us and we occasionally stopped long enough to give them candy, or a small bottle of soap bubbles. Laundry had been laid to dry on some bushes. We passed a house with a fire and cauldron outside – Mr. Amani told us they were brewing beer that would be consumed that evening. He wanted us to be back down the mountain before the celebration got underway.  
A group of young people from Canada passed us. With my eyes swimming, ears pounding, thighs aching, heart pumping and lungs
screaming we carried on – up, up, up—and away! From a distance we saw the peak where we were headed, but it still seemed so far away—and our path was not as the crow flies! Occasionally the path leveled a bit. Far too occasionally, we stopped for far too short a break. I wanted to lie down but was too afraid of the creepy-crawly things in the grass. I kept thinking “Can’t they see I’m about to die here?” We just trudged on through muddy low spots getting our shoes and feet soaked.

We took many, many photographs. The battery fell out of Linn’s camera and the hike was halted while everyone looked for the battery (everyone except me – I was huffing and puffing with my head
between my knees trying not to throw up). I’m telling the truth! . All too soon the quick-eyed Juma held up the missing battery. I was hoping for a bit more time to rest, but no—on we went.

FINALLY we crossed a stream, and 4 ½ hours after we left our house we
were there!

“There” is a mountain peak, with a old stone structure built in 1911 by a group of Germans. I am sure they used mostly materials they found on the mountain, and can’t imagine how anything else was brought up. The group of young people from Canada who passed us earlier had long been there and greeted us with such cheeriness and compassion I felt like strangling

This is a picture of the "facilities" available for us.  No words are necessary.  

One of their guides, Godfrey, wanted to practice his English and I seemed to be his target. He was such a nice kid and I really enjoyed talking to him but frankly I was far too exhausted to discuss American politics and history just then. I took a nap. My pillow was a rock!

After I had aroused sufficiently we ate lunch. I was ravenous! I would have loved to have had a steak and ice cream Sundae, but the peanut butter sandwiches, trail mix, apples and water we were
able to bring tasted great.

We stayed at the top for 2 hours. I kept saying “I think I could stay here for ever”. (Everyone thought I was talking about the view, but what I really meant, was that I didn’t think I could possibly start the return trip.)

The trip down was much faster – in fact we only stopped twice for a short rest. It was amazing how differently the same scenery looked from a different perspective. We reached the mud house where the beer had been brewing, and the consumption had begun. We hurried past. We passed more children and gave out more candy and bottles of soap bubbles.

Mr. Amani asked us if we’d like to meet his 92 year old grandmother. We said “of course”! He led us up yet another 45-degree path, to a mud and stick structure, and led us into the house. The room where she was had no windows. She was lying on a pad on the
floor and was smoking a cigarette. Mr. Amani asked us to take her picture. I gave her a piece of candy, which she liked.

There is no one living in the home with her, and she
is immobile. I don’t know how she gets along. There
was, of course, no electricity, running water, or evidence of cooking.

Children of mine:  Don't get any ideas about how to take care of mother!  
Again we stopped at Wife Number One’s house and had a banana. All of the family were outside, and one of his beautiful daughters was having extensions added to her hair, but she didn’t want her picture taken.  The hike down took only 3 hours. Mr. Amani asked us if we’d like to hike to
Wife Number Two’s house next Saturday, but honestly I’ve had my mountain hiking quotient filled for the foreseeable future! Now when I look at that mountain I say to my self: “I’ve been there!” I’m very glad I went on the hike; it was a fantastic experience.  I'm grateful to Linn and Rick and Mr. Amani for the day!  

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