יום שני, 8 בנובמבר 2010

Day 5 Bike Tour and Toga


Another beautiful morning, perfect weather for our planned cycling tour around the area.
After a healthy African breakfast, we met our guide Rajah who got us to sign a few "standard" legal documents agreeing to bare full responsibility for any minor, major, body harm, reptile or animal bites or injuries – I suppose your usual local paperwork…

As I wasn’t yet aware of what lay ahead, I was still smiling and looking forward for our ride. When the trail turned into a constant climb, rocks, narrow single trail, I gradually lost my smile and began thinking to myself "Who's stupid idea was this anyway?". Since I am married to a mountain bike freak I tried to keep up, not complaining and just concentrating on staying alive.  

Well when I reached the situation that  I couldn’t even   push the  bike up the hill and I was going to collapse in the middle of nowhere,  I began to try and  convince everybody to return to our comfortable beautiful farm lodge…
Rajah, using positive 2 cent psychology convinced me that we would soon be over the difficult climb and the rest would be easy "sailing" downhill. I pulled myself together and went on trying to work out "what was I thinking?" ,(the pictures in the brochure showed  bikers cycling  happily through a scenic route  around a lake...) Yet we were climbing steep  rocky terrain , sweating , out of breath after  signing  those documents releasing the hotel from any damage responsibility   … THIS IS NOT GOOD !
Rajah, kept his word as the ride eased off and we were rewarded by passing through a few local huts and asked to look around.

The tribe is known as the Iraqi tribe (No connection with Iraq ). We met a family living in a tiny hut one out of 3 in that area.
We were amazed to see how these people live. The whole family grandmother, parents and children live in this tiny hut.
Inside, pitch dark, the mother was cooking on an open fire – no ventilation!
Only with the camera flash we could see that there were a woman and child in the hut.. Amazing that they can live there while we couldn’t breathe properly in it for more than a minute…

No electricity, no running water, strong smell of smoke and the toilet is located in a small little hut not too far away..
The children walk a long distance to the nearby school which was our next stop..
We got to the school admiring the beautiful little children, always smiling, carrying water bags on their heads and asking us for just one thing… not candy, not toys all they wanted was a pen… Unfortunately I only had one pen in my bag and I gave it to a cute little smiling girl…


About an hour later we made it back to the lodge, checked out not before we had an amazing outdoor buffet lunch.

Visiting the TOGA tribe

A few hours' drive, tons of dust and absolutely no civilization in sight,  we arrived at a small village to visit the Toga tribe. The "Houses" there were more spacious than the little hut and all the children came to welcome us. We handed out a few games and gifts we brought along, Jumping ropes, Hanukah tops, hair decoration… (Sharon brought all kinds of hair clips not knowing as the rest of us, that the girls are hairless in most places we visited…)

Our guide explained that the Toga marry several women and have many children… Their main source of income is "recycling' metal junk and manufacturing weapons for neighboring tribes or jewelry sold to tourists
The women decorate their faces by scaring rings around their eyes using   a sharp knife.

 A little baby girl, dressed in a dirty pink dress, the age of my little one, came running to me so happy to get chocolate and a rubber ball I wanted to pack her with me and take her back to Israel..
We left the Toga and drove all the way back and arrived at our "Hotel " for the night.
Back in Israel we couldn’t find accommodation near that suited our destination the next day. Our agent had suggested an adventure of spending the night in a tent that would be put up especially for us in the middle of nowhere….
Obviously, we weren't too excited about this adventures idea…..and only when we understood that the only alternative was an extra 3 hour drive, we agreed
Still, Africa, the middle of nowhere, animals, and mosquitoes….we were not excited about this coming night.

To make a long story short - That night was one of the best experiences we had in the entire trip!!! A truck full of equipment and a team of 16 men, among them the camp manager and most important a chef! arrived the day before and set up the camp

We were welcomed to the camp by the camp manager offering clean wet towels and fresh mango juice (As usual…)
We were totally surprised when we saw a queen size bed, private toilets and shower in each tent.. Water was boiled on the fire to a perfect temperature for the shower. Clean towels and a mirror…   We took a shower and sat around a bonfire noshing and drinking while our dinner was prepared and later served in the dining room tent.
Hundreds of monkeys jumped on the trees above us beneath them babies hanging tight..

Dinner was amazing. Wine, candle light …..Bravo to the chef!
Good night Africa





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