Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I took the taxi a few blocks to the bus station for 2000 shillings, then paid 3000 shillings (about $2) for the one hour drive to Arusha.  Then it cost me $10 to get from the Arusha bus station to Olasiti Lodge, where I meet the OAT tour.  Nobody was there yet so I had to pay $20 for the buffet lunch.  The people who had taken the pre-trip  to Kilimanjaro showed up around 4 p.m.  and I joined them for dinner.  The people flying from the U.S., including my roommate, showed up around 11 p.m.  I was already in bed but had to get up and unlock the door since there is only one key per room.  I said, "Hi, I'm Mary and I will meet you tomorrow" and went back to sleep.

Our room is quite nice with a large bathroom, luggage room, and a double bed and king size bed in the main room.  There were some mosquitoes at night so I used the mosquito net.  My roommate, Nicole, is 24, a recent graduate in mechanical engineering, and looking for a job.  She worked for Disney for two years as an intern and then was hired but got laid off.  She is traveling with her parents, Mimi and Carl, from Torrance, California, and has taken several OAT/Grand Circle trips with them.

Our room

... and bath at Olasiti Lodge

The other people on the tour are Ellen and her husband Joel, a urologist in New Jersey who retired on Friday and left for this trip on Monday.  Also B.J. and Bill from New Jersey, Helga from the Bay Area, Kathy from Oklahoma, and her sister, Debbie, and daughter, Kelly from Texas.

Ellen and Joel from New Jersey
The next morning we went to Shanga, a cooperative for disabled people that teaches them to make crafts to sell, like beadwork, glass blowing, painting, sewing, weaving, etc.  Emmanuel also showed us the surrounding coffee plantation.  They have a nice restaurant on site where we had lunch before touring the facility.  We also had a lesson in Kiswahili sign language, since a lot of the people there are deaf.

Emmanuel shows us the coffee plantation

coffee beans

preparing an African lunch


He can't walk but he can paint


A wall at Shanga

Beautiful beaded tile footpath at Shanga

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a market so I could get a bag to store stuff and some socks.  I had thrown most of mine away because they were holey and washed my next to last pair in Moshi, where they still are since I forgot to take them down from where they were drying before I left.

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