Day 28: Lushoto, Tanzania – Big Brother’s African Brother

Lushoto, Tanzania

Day 28: 25 August 2002 10:30 pm

Woke up to Jason and Natasha having yet another argument – this time about Natasha not wanting to participate in today’s guided walk.

We had already decided that we would spend the morning recuperating and pass
on the guided walk. We managed to get some surreal photos from the view
point above the camp site before the clouds rolled in completely and
enveloped the valley. The mist that swirled around had an eerie feel and I
could hardly see our tent from the camp site veranda.

Roberta also stayed behind, due to succumbing to the dreaded stomach bug.
So much for her earlier bravado on the trip of, "I never get ill and can’t
be bothered to wash my hands before meals. I laugh at Beth as she is always
being so careful with hygiene and she gets ill all the time". Believe me,
Roberta was not laughing when every hour she had to run to the long drop
dunny. Roberta has now started to pull her weight when it comes to chores
and I must admit I have a soft spot for Beth – she is so good-natured.

Tom, Amy and Belinda played football with the children outside the camp
site. We had brought a proper football with the truck – the children just
have a ball made out of compressed carrier bags. I love the fact that
everyone is so resourceful at recycling whatever they have and puts our
wasteful culture to shame. I will have to make a concerted effort to
recycle more when I am at home. Over here, people even use old tires to
make sturdy shoes.

In the afternoon, we walked down to the children’s home, where abandoned
babies and orphaned children are cared for. We were taken to a room with
numerous cots and I got quite attached to seven month old baby Asha. She
was of such a happy disposition, always gurgling and smiling. Beth admitted
to feeling broody and we had to drag her away from the room. Next stop was
a school for the blind, but I suddenly felt faint with stomach cramps and
had to dash back to the camp site.

In the evening, Tom decided to eat the vegetarian option of stir fried
vegetables and rice – let’s hope he is not joining Roberta in the long drop
dunny. Roberta and Beth entertained us (tears were running down my cheeks)
with anecdotes about the Hunt Ball and Beth’s raving, alcoholic parents.
She says that they drink two bottles of wine between them per day, as well
as outings to the pub and secretly quaffing spirits from concealed hip
flasks. Beth’s mother sounds rather like a countrified version of Edina
Monsoon of Ab Fab. Her mother loves to fox hunt due to the liberal sherries
she downs before the hunt and then forces Beth to drive the horse boxes
back, even though legally, she is not licensed to.

Poor Beth lives half in fear and half in shame of her father. She attended
one of her friends 21st birthday parties at a night club and was chuckling
away at two middle-aged men dancing on a table, ogling the breasts of a
young girl, when she was mortified to discover that it was her father and
his mate.

The best story was one Christmas Eve in their local pub, where most of her
family and friends were celebrating (except her mother). Beth’s youngest
brother Orlando (aged 15) was being coerced into getting plastered by his
cousin Toby. Orlando consequently keeled over in the toilets, but as her
father was completely smashed, he assumed that Toby was his son and drove
him back to their house and tucked him into bed. It wasn’t until 6:00am on
Christmas morning, that anyone discovered that Orlando was missing. They
received a mobile phone call from a desperate Orlando, locked in the pub
toilets with a horrendous hangover.

Roberta always has tales to tell of having awful hangovers and then turning
up for work at Beth’s kennels and cattery, only to be told by Beth’s mother,
"Hello Roberta dear, I just need to tell you that I have to pop down to the
off-license so can you look after the Great Dane this morning that has
diarrohea." Painting dog’s grave stones was another job alloted to Roberta
that she hated. She was always amazed at the farewell inscriptions of "Soon
Fido, we will meet again in heaven and can run free together in the clouds."

As it was an early start tomorrow, we retired to our tent at 10:00pm only to
discover that the night watchmen were camped on the terrace directly above,
babbling in loud voices. Even with ear plugs rammed down as far as they
would go without bursting my inner ear, I couldn’t shut out the sound.

Night watchmen are a regular feature of African camp sites. There is
normally a steel gate to the entrance of a camp site, always guarded. Men
patrol round the tents during the night. The night watchman at Kisoro was
armed with a spear and I didn’t even like to imagine what he had concealed
under his tatty trench coat.

Nominations: There are two candidates – Edina, the faddy vegan, and myself.
I nominate her for not eating any of the special meals that we have prepared
for her and only eating cornflakes and raw carrots. If she keels over due
to lack of food, I’ll have no sympathy for her. She also has various loop
holes in her reasons for not eating meat, fish or dairy products or taking
medicines. I’ll respect her opinions, but Roberta was seriously unhappy
when she voiced her views on dairy cows. I nominate myself for being an irritable old cow that doesn’t agree with the revised itinerary – I just want to get off this truck.

Evicted – Edina.

Positives: We finally got some free time to chill out. Free time is
precious on this trip and the routine of truck life often means that there
is just about time to pitch a tent and have a shower before darkness

Negatives: We have been told that the itinerary has changed and that we will
be spending an extra night in Zanzibar at our own expense.



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