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  • While we are in Africa we want to travel to the Serengeti and visit the Masai. To do that we have to fly to Tanzania. In Tanzania there still exists Malaria. I read that Malaria is the one illness on Earth that kills most people. We hike through the many drug stores of Swakopmund to find the newest Malaria prevention pills. When we finally find it we discover that it is extremely expensive, but we have to buy it anyways.

    Our travel agent informs us that there is a danger of Yellow Fewer in Tanzania also and to be able to return from Tanzania into South Africa we need to prove that we have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever. We already have had our vaccinations against Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B and against Cholera.

    Finally we are all prepared to take off towards Johannesburg from where we will fly on to Tanzania. When we check in to the Tanzania flight huge yellow (!!) letters above the counter announce that if you do not have the Yellow Fever Paper you will not get on the plane. When we actually get to check in, though, nobody asks for our vaccination papers.

    We are full of Antimalariapills. In our luggage we carry shampoos, washing powder, bracelets, clothing patches and skin crèmes with who –knows-what in it which will keep mosquitoes far away from us. They announce that before landing on the Kilimanjaro Airport we should please cover ourselves in these crèmes and put on the patches. When we leave the plane we must be glowing of citronella and DEET.

    It is late morning and surprisingly cool. It is winter here and dry season. During the following two weeks we crisscross the country with our guide in an old sturdy Jeep seeing many wild animals, but not one single mosquito! But there are quite a number of Tsetse – flies. Nobody had warned us of Tsetse – flies, which cause the dangerous sleeping illness. These flies are absolutely unimpressed with our anti – mosquito – crèmes. I get bitten twice, the bites hurt quite a bit. I am scared and ask our guide. He calms me down,” It just itches for a few days. Just 200 Kilometers from here at the Victoria Lake there are people sick with the illness, it does not exist here!”

    Trucks, which come down from the Victoria Lake, drive through the Serengeti and pass us by all day long. I am sure that many a Tsetse – fly travels up and down the country with the truck drivers. I don’t want to appear as the frightened elderly lady that I am and keep quiet, though.

    This is our first time in Tanzania. A driver receives us at the Kilimanjaro Airport and brings us to Arusha. On the way I can see the Kilimanjaro. I photograph it. It resembles the Popocatepetl in Mexico, but its crater is much wider. There is still some snow around the crater, but with Global Warming it is fast vanishing. Good that I photograph it immediately, because afterwards the mountain surrounds itself for the length of our stay in a thick cape of clouds.

    Our friend in Cape Town told us,” When you arrive in Arusha, the you feel the REAL Africa!”

    My heart is beating strongly as it always does when I am confronted with a new facette of the world.

    On our one – hour – drive I look curiously all around me. What hits me most is that everything is GREEN! With so much green my heart slows down, my stomach relaxes and all exhaustion from the long hours of traveling which lie behind us vanishes.

    There are cornfields, coffee, banana and mango plantations and many little villages directly at the side of the road. People sit on Coca Cola – plastic chairs in front of their little houses. These are painted green, blue, pink or yellow or combinations of these. People stand together chatting and waiting for busses to pick them up. Men stand together in groups and a little distance away women chat their time away with each other. Many people leisurely sit on the ground. Children play, laugh and scream. Other men carry huge colorful plastic canisters or their girl – friends or wives on the back of their bicycles. Women carry huge baskets full of goodies on their heads. Their gait is light and elegant. I see white Calla lilies and orange gladiolas (??). I notice that our chauffeur talks less and less. He had started off full of enthusiasm explaining us everything. What is happening? I suddenly grow aware of the fact that we have answered most of his kind explanations with “ Yes, we know that from Mexico!” He is frustrated. We stop mentioning Mexico and he grows excited again. He explains us how coffee is grown and the many different kinds of bananas, which grow here.

    The sky is filled with clouds over clouds, which make the green on the earth glow even greener and lasher. The air is humid as in Mexico in the raining season. We have not seen green or felt humidity for the time we have been in Namibia.

    “If this is the REAL Africa”, my husband says,” Then I have known Africa since I was born in Mexico!”

    I agree,” If you changed the skin color of the people from black to brown, this could be Chiapas!”

    During the following days we visit Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. We see Africa’s BIG 5: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and hippos and know very well that we are not at all in Mexico.

    Photography Kiki (Ngorongnoro Crater)

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