Week 1, So Many Bananas

Week one was great. My jobs lie mainly in the kitchen, helping with breakfast in the morning and dinner at night, and I’ve also taken it upon myself to help with their social media presence, taking over the Instagram account and making a few website changes too. My Swahili is appalling but I’m slowly getting better, attempting to make it easier for the chefs I work with who speak little English. They’ve shown me how to make chapati and various Tanzanian dishes, most based around bananas which we have an infinite supply of within the farm. It’s certainly been an experience and I’ve enjoyed having a local experience rather than the ones had on tours that feel more or less fabricated.

Offering a free afternoon farm tour to the guests, I opted to go after my first few days, realising I should learn a little more about where I would be spending all my time. I learned of the 9 different types of bananas grown, 8 more than I realised even existed. Each with their own delicious taste I wondered if I would become sick of them at the end of my three weeks or only grow to love them more. We also checked out the coffee farm, something I could have endless cups of during my stay but ironically don’t actually drink. The last stop was the river, covering my bare ankles with mosquito bites having forgotten my insect repellent, but providing me with a beautiful view of the surrounding farm area and the river passing below us.

Meeting the guests has been one of my favourite parts, with new people coming and going every day it has given me a chance to hear experiences from some very well travelled people. Dinner is a communal affair out on the long picnic tables in the garden, surrounded by lanterns and fairy lights to make the vibe that much better. The nights aren’t too cold but we sit out there with jackets on, talking until we finish our feast of soup, main course and dessert before I head inside to help with the washing up.

I met Lani, a girl from the Netherlands who is spending a few months in Tanzania doing research for her Masters. It was nice to have another traveler dedicating time in Arusha as the rest may only stay for a short time or already have plans for their time here. The two of us went for a day trip to Mt Meru waterfall on my day off which was excellent. It was a beautiful walk and a lovely day, though the heat did become a struggle at times. I realised it was quite timely that I left the hostel for an adventure because I was starting to go a bit stir crazy, my only adventures being to the main road and back as a form of exercise in my daily routine. The waterfall was nice but I more enjoyed the nature we experienced on our walk down, navigating our way across the river with the help of our guides who sacrificed their dry legs in order to walk with us and hold our hands across the somewhat questionably balanced rocks in the water. After a picnic back at the top overlooking the view around us, we returned to the main road, a much easier feat now that we were going downhill instead of up. We separated at the main road when I took a daladala back to my street to walk up to the hostel, while she took a bodaboda (motorbike) back to her home in the opposite direction.

My day off concluded with reading in the hammock and conversations over dinner before a much needed early night, ready for work again the next day.

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