Banana Farm Eco Hostel provided me with a solid home for two weeks and I enjoyed my time there but decided it was enough. Emily and Sarah were doing another Workaway in Arusha but somewhere a bit closer to town and with a space available I managed to book myself in there for my last week in Africa. It was great to try something new and to be somewhere with existing friends and more volunteers as well.
The placement consisted of farm work: weeding vege gardens; weeding grass which felt a bit pointless and; feeding cows. We were only busy between breakfast and lunch and once we had eaten we had the afternoon off, free to go to town or read a book and do nothing. We became regulars at a Chai shop and I treated myself to mandazi every time, particularly on the days when I was fed ugali for lunch, one of the few things that makes me excited to leave Africa.
The host family were incredibly generous, ensuring we were always full of food and happy. There were 8 of them living there and 8 volunteers which meant the place was always busy and there was always something happening to entertain you. It was good to be able to talk to them and work with them and learn about their lives in a less obtrusive way to the cultural experiences that group tours offer.
A couple of days we headed into town to enjoy the walk. I explored the Maasai market, bailing after half an hour because I was losing my patience with the harassment of all the shop owners. They like to emphasise that it’s free to just have a look inside, which I find hilarious considering it would be ridiculous to charge someone to browse through.
On Thursday the girls and Jordan left for Moshi and I joined them on Sunday, paying AUD $1.60 for a 2 hour bus journey to a town I much preferred over Arusha. A quieter area with less sales people in the streets and a cleaner feel. It was nice to be back with friends and we enjoyed the sunset over Kilimanjaro from a rooftop bar just outside of town, with surprisingly cheap drinks and a nice vibe. I treated myself to Nutella chapati for dinner, proud of my decision and something I had been craving since I discovered how much I love chapati.
On Monday, our last day together before they moved on to their next place and I caught my plane to London, we went to Materuni waterfall for a day trip. Thinking I had experienced everything a daladala ride had to offer me I was surprised when we crammed 30 people into a vehicle that should really only hold 16. Going uphill was when we experienced our main problems – aside from the uncomfortable seating arrangements – with multiple people getting out and walking to the top while we uncontrollably reversed/rolled back down the hill in order to get a better run up and attempt the hill again. This happened three times and on the third time we tried to get out too, with the smell of burning clutch instilling too much fear in us to handle.
The walk to the waterfall was beautiful, providing nicer views than the waterfall I had seen in Arusha. The walk wasn’t strenuous which was good considering the heat, and when we arrived at the end the mist from the waterfall was enough to refresh us, with Sarah and I returning to the nearby hut to sit with our picnic snacks and watch the view without getting wet. We were followed by the others after their swim and sat for a while longer until we started the walk back, stopping by their place for a cold drink before venturing back to the city in search of dinner followed by the dreaded goodbye.