Right now I am sitting on a little shuttle bus in the city center of Nairobi waiting for 8am to roll around when we will leave for Arusha, Tanzania. I can’t believe that nearly two weeks has already passed by since we arrived in Africa. Our journey since day one has been amazing. I never imagined that it would be so fun to travel (backpack) with my husband. Andrew has made my experience in Africa absolutely incredible; I never realized what I was missing out on when I was backpacking single.
We have already met incredible people like Charles, Kicocho, Vincent, And Katrice who have graciously let us stay with them in different cities throughout Eastern Africa.
We actually arrived in Arusha on time! We have had the most incredible bus experiences, with almost all of our buses arriving on time or just a few minutes late. For Africa, arriving on time is almost unheard of.
Our bus dropped us off at the Impala Hotel where we proceeded to contact Joyce, our host for the evening. Staying with Joyce will be our first time using couch surfing in Africa so I am excited to see how it goes. Joyce came and met us at the Impala hotel before we headed off for our debriefing meeting with our Kilimanjaro guide, William. We made plans to meet back at her house after our debriefing and cook a local Tanzanian meal together. Joyce left and we finished up our errands for Kilimanjaro, buying some snacks and water for the trip up the mountain. We also located an Internet cafe and planned a few more details for post Kilimanjaro (on the Swahili coast).
Our debriefing was good, I left remembering two things — go slow and remember the mountain is in charge. William dropped us off at Joyce’s home in a small village outside Arusha. There are few paved roads in Africa and the rain is so strong that all the roads are like mud holes. We got stuck a few times and had to be pulled out before we made it to her home.
African homes are very interesting. Joyce has no running water, she collects water from the small jungle stream beside her house, and the only electricity she has is from a small solar panel on her roof. That being said, her home is actually quite large and like every home in Africa she has a lovely guest room. We ended up cooking ugali (cornmeal mush), Duka (little dried fish) and green vegetables (cooked spinach and onion) for dinner. It was delicious!
(Below: Andrew’s Post)
Katrice was kind enough to lend us the help of her driver who arranged our bus ride to Arusha as well as gave us a lift to the station. We boarded the bus without any issues and started our journey. The ride took us about 6 hours until we finally arrived in Arusha. It was a small rainy city without a lot to see. We had arranged on couch surfer to stay with a girl named Joyce who seemed extremely friendly. Joyce came by the hotel we’d been dropped off at and intoxicate herself as well as her friend (a German girl who had lived with Joyce for some time). It was a lot of fun to chat/meet the two of them and both Kylie and I were excited to spend the night with them. We then waited at the impala hotel where we met William (the organizer of the climb) and were debriefed about what we should bring/be prepared for the next morning. At this point Kylie and I were having trouble organizing what our plans lost Kilimanjaro so we were feeling a bit stressed at the debriefing. We were able to get some rough plans together and decided to stick with climbing Kilimanjaro, despite the challenge we knew would be ahead of us. We then got a lift from William to Joyce’s place (huge blessing since Joyce lived in the local village nearby and it was quite difficult to locate).
Joyce’s home was beautiful. Located in the jungles of the area, her home was quite large in comparison to the structures around it. In addition to that, Joyce seemed to be a ‘mother’ for many people without a place to stay. She had nearly 4 other people living with her, none of which were actual family members. She had opened her home and her heart to each of them. That evening we cooked dagaa, a local dish that had dried fish, eggplant and a slew of other vegetables. It was a lot of fun to cook local cuisine and it tasted great! We called it an early evening with our Kilimanjaro climb the next morning. Staying to Joyce both sparked in Kylie and I an interest in opening our home to travelers despite their backgrounds or stage in life.