The Road to Arusha

Wednesday 8: You can of course fly to Kilimanjaro for the extra fare, but I wanted to see the land - as much as possible from ground level so I opted for the bus and a 4 hour bus ride including stops at customs. After the first toilet stop I chatted with an elderly man Muhamed who was traveling with his wife from France where they had been living most of their adult lives. They've come to visit friends and family in the place of their birth. He is curious about my folding tripod and the iPhone videos. As the bright late afternoon light streamed through the window I thought I'd try some shots of him and he was a willing subject. Holding the wireless flash in his left hand I pulled off a couple of shots but the ground was moving underneath my feet so fast I was afraid I was going to land in the arms of the woman sitting on the opposite side of the aisle.
Muhamed visiting the country of his birth
The heat, dust, bumpy roads and light contrast make taking pictures a bit of an ordeal. At the stops (customs, borders and check points) you stand in queues unable to take photos and waiting for your picture to be taken and your fingers scanned, so there isn't many opportunities to take advantage of the scenery. There is something quite special about the road - and I put the iPhone to work in the front of the bus as we navigated a narrow stretch of highway close to the active volcano Mount Meru.


Thursday 9 7:30am: The voice in my dream is Seppo, 'Do you want to get up now or sleep some more?' Dream says stay in bed, brain says get up. In a few minutes I've showered, and am at the door ready to leave. Little Ronnie, 4 and a half ( I'll be five on June 15th he says) is dressed for school and swings on the metal front door gate while we wait for the others. He's chatty and happy and driving up to the school he skips up the steps with an eagerness that is refreshing.

At the Arusha Masai Cafe we have breakfast and start thinking about the workshops, the trip to Kondoa and how we are going to work first with the local children who's ancestors were the people who made the Rock Art paintings tens of thousands of years ago. Seppo tells me that their DNA is pure and that they have no mixed blood.

After breakfast I unpack the camera gear, put tripods, flash systems and portable hard drives in order to keep the documenting process as ready as possible for anything that happens. Setting up my panorama head with the Sony R1 I take it out into the intense summer sun and do a quick panorama of the Arusha Masai Cafe from the front side.

Arusha Masai Cafe

In the afternoon we do a bit more planning and come up with a fun solution for the Kondoa school children. We improvise some brushes and think about the problems we might encounter on the way. Its dusty here - its dusty everywhere and keeping an ink jet printer in good condition basically means you have to seal it when its not being used to stop the invisible blanket of dust from seeping in everywhere. After jus a few hours you can run your finger over a surface and find a fine layer chalk-like dust covering everything.

Colorful character

Tomorrow we plan a quick stop at the International school to discuss the photography and print project with the teachers. Then we'll head south to Kondoa for the weekend with the local school project starting on Saturday.

The Arusha Masai Cafe