Yesterday, we went on a Safari. All ten of us entered the park and mounted the elephants waiting to take us around  for the day. Unfortunately, only nine elephants were standing there, so Matt willingly jumped on a friendly, aged warthog and off we went to see some Tanzanian wildlife.

Actually, our source of transportation wasn’t as stylish nor as sturdy. We picked up a man named Simon. He was dressed in what looked like Safari gear, so we presumed he knew what was going on. However, once he took us passed the “No Trespassing” sign (true), we got a little weary. As it turns out, he was a well-respected, paid employee who has worked at the park for fifteen years. Simon could spot anything. He tried to convince us of a herd of zebras way off in the distance, naked to the untrained, normal person’s eye.

We were able to get out of the Dala Dala, made in circa 1953 – no really, it was really old, but we’ll get into that more later. Our adventure really started with a nice, mild-mannered giraffe standing a mere few feet from the road. 

Let me just interupt our entry right now to say that Matt just inadvertedly turned off the computer.  Luckily, this thing has autosave.  And fortunately Matt had a good story to make us feel better.  Just so you know, dear reader, the button on top of the tower of this 20-year-old computer controls the power.

So back to our day. Next we saw a herd of zebras waiting for their closeups, a bird that only Simon could spot, and a few smug baboons crossing our path.  Simon allowed us to stop at a manmade hippo pool. Rumor has it that hippos are one of the most dangerous animals on earth, but he still encouraged us to get as close as possible.  We also spotted a crocodile just chilling directly across from us, sneakily blending into his surroundings.

Then there were the elephants. Giant, monsterous beasts gathered by the side of the road.  Who knew they would so eagerly get so close to our car. At first there was only one on our right, then there were three more to our left, including a cute “little” baby elephant.  As we looked behind us, we could see the first elephant crossing the road to join the others.  And so we were left to ask ourselves, why did the elephant cross the road? We leave that answer up to you, reader.

The Dala Dala (with its driver and his sidekick) had seen a lot that day. It drove us from the place where we are staying to the park, over an hour each way.  Not to mention the earth it plowed through – and over and under and around.  The Dala had a rough day to say the least.  So it wasn’t a surprise that after we drove right through a gas station after lunch, the Dala came to a complete stop about 16 miles outside of Morogoro.  As it turns out, the Dalas need gas to run, and we probably should have encouraged them to fill the tank completely.

So there we were on the side of the road (the left side, mind you).  Some of us had to pee, some of us were tired, but all of us could have used to break from the Dala seats that caused more pain than comfort.  The sidekick was a good sport though and jumped onto the first bus going into town.  Ironically, as we passed time of the side of the road telling stories, sleeping, or climbing trees (Matt and Michael), not one but three petroleum trucks passed us. Only an hour later though the sidekick returned, this time on a truck, with a nice container holding a couple liters of gas.  This, however, only got us a few miles, where a nice man hopped off the back of a bike and was waiting for us with another container of gas.  All this, and we returned in time for dinner.  (Which was good news because we went out for some fancy eats with the pleasant company of the Salvatorians who are allowing us to stay here.)

Alena and Jenn


2 Responses to “Safari”

  1. 1 The Tribe at Home July 16, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Obviously, the elephant crossed the road to get her nails done so she could hide in the bag of M&Ms.

    I also wanted you to know that your reflections and stories are truly inspiring – making me think about how gifted we are at home. I wonder if third world nations could be developed in such a way that would allow the peoples to grow and prosper, without harming the planet? How much is enough? Is this another opportunity for mankind to see God’s wonders?

    Ejnoy . . .

    Dorothy Laverty

  2. 2 Eileen(Alena's mom) July 17, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Alena – hope you got to pet the hippos. You can bring one home pickles said she does not mind. love mom

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