Caren Ware's Blog

February 28, 2014

Arusha and the rush is over. On way to national parks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:07 pm

I am a little ridiculous at the airport. I have an expedition bag, a stuffed day pack, and a little carry on day pack. The check on luggage cannot exceed 50 pounds without an additional large fee. It reds up at 56 lbs. I take the hiking boots out and tie them to the outside of my day pack. They swing with each step and literally are kicking me in the butt. That is, until I turn, and with even the slightest twist they swing wildly and smack travelers in all directions. I know I looked silly. This has to be annoying, but I strut through the airport. I take the swinging boots all the way to my seat on the plane. I am wearing running warm up tights and a black strapped tank shirt. I have a HARDTAIL sleeveless vest and a long, flowing cotton HARDTAIL outer cover that drapes to my ankles, but is opened to the front. It caught on everything. The security check conveyor belt, trying to get my backpack on, the directional rails. But I guess I am trying to have a signature look and I stick with it. To save some kind of grace, the stewardess leans over and says, “I like your outer wear. You will have to tell me where you got it. What brand is it?” I would meet pretty girls in a store that giggled at using their English. One said, “Hungry.” The churches are doing a great job, all churches ,in helping with clothing, shelter,school, and food. What these girls were hungry for were choices. Choices to have something that was not food, shelter, water. They wanted hair pieces. They were hungry for a chance to get something special and pretty. I would rather spend my own little bit I have to spare on that. We had a hair party in the brush isle.

We arrive late at night and are taken in a van to a peaceful setting called the Kai Lodge. In little huts we sleep in mosquito nets. The sound of birds I have never hear started chirping and I had not slept yet. It would begin a bout of no sleep save a few hours, a reaction to the Malaria pills or the tug of war over leaving John behind, leaving Jackson, and ultimately leaving my business. The Malaria pills were affecting me. I had blown the typhoid by not reading that they had to be taken 8 days prior to leaving. These pills had to be taken every day without missing and would have to be taken for a week upon returning to the states. Good thing though. There seem to be mosquitos more in the city than the bush.IMG_3336

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IMG_3323. There is real hunger here. I saw a young kid just walking listlessly through a field. Hungry. The kids in the villages we passed would run along the side of the Safari vehicle in hopes that something fulfilling would be thrown out. We stopped for lunch and were given lunch boxes. A boiled egg, a piece of chicken , a veggie sandwich, a samolei, a muffin, a banana, and a juice. The tables were filled with safari goers, so we moved to the back of the complex (everything seems to have a high fence or be fenced in to keep out, I think the hungry). On the other side of the chain link appears a boy. He is young, but has all the appearances of being on his own. He is my Mexican boy. I like him.( I jump. I am typing in the middle of the night on my cot in my tent on the end of the row , Something shrieks as loud as twenty bull horns in the tree outside my tent. What was that !?) The boy does not beg. He does not ask. He just stands there in dire need. We have so much of our sack lunches not eaten. We hand food through the fence and the boy puts his new treasures in his a pouch he makes out of the bottom of his shirt. He heads for a bush and I watch him lay out his new fortune on a mound. He motions down the fence. A taller, very thin boy starts to limp toward us. He makes his way hoping on one foot. It is slow progress and he bends over in exhaustion and frustration many times. Before he can get to us, a tall man dressed in a security suit storms by us. He has a Billy club jammed in his back belt. The boy hops as quickly away from the fence as he came. You could see pain in every hop. All that energy expended and no reward of food. When we stand up to leave, I had to do it. I took the rest of the remnants of our Safari lavish lunch and walked further down the fence. I waved and got the eye of the tall thin boy slumped in the field. I showed him where I was putting it . He looked around and started hopping. As I pulled myself up into the Safari truck I could see that he had made it to the food and was putting all he could in his pockets.

MEETING Maasai.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:03 pm

We had a kind of tourist reunion with a tribe that has figured out that inviting Safari loads into their village is lucrative. They ceremonial dance for us and I have to take note of their innovative sandals…motorcycle tires. The young teens have been to school and speak English. They finagle prices for beads and warrior shields for their parents. But all said, we learned a lot. Each hut has a stove area and two beds. The women’s dance involves jumping up at a beat that will make their neck band bounce off their chest. Hardly seems sexy, but they seem to think so. The gals giggled in delight that I could OUT JUMP all of them and as high as a guy. Thank you, Rob the trainer, for the “pops” and box jumps drills for track. When leaving one of the youth ask if I could sponsor him to go to college. Soon this tribe, so close to the city, will not have its current function. I wonder how long it will take for its necessities and traditions to die as the youth move on. But I had yet to really meet the Maasai. Though tourist contrived it was an invitation to witness an intact tribe from grandparents to small children. Later, I see a group of boys with black and white painted faces. These are boys between 15 years and 25 years who just got circumcised. Ouch. They do so in front of the tribe and women and if they so as flinch or twitch during so they are considered weak and not a catch for a marriage. They must recover for months and than will be considered marriage material.
Our time at the village pays for supplies shared by the village. Wonder what they will buy. At least I can guess, motorcycle tires. IMG_3627

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INTO AFRICA, not out of…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:28 am

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IMG_4108My son drove me all the way to San Diego to drop me off . That will be a five hour round trip for him to do so. Only a son. I am on my way to a continent I have never been. It will be my seventh continent marathon. I am heading to Africa, not so much to run 26.2 miles, but to meet the Maasai and the Tanzanians. Remember I earned my way to Antarctic by working for a ski shop, covering the coffee and sandwich counter of a bakery and coaching track. To get to this continent, I worked for Teton Mountaineering and I am being sponsored by Kathy Loper Events so I can let you know what her destination packages are like. She says she has found the epic formula for letting others experience the best and real AFRICA. Remember that dreamed theme, to do a marathon on every continent as remotely as I could find ,meeting whatever indigenous people that were there. She says she will take me to that kind of AFRICA. I will be piloting “FINDING FIT”, which will turn into a website and travel series, a kind of Anthony Bourdan style that, instead of food, finds fitness along the way. There are so many interesting people doing interestingly, random fit and fabulously things, everywhere… if you are looking for it. Even the Maasai stay fit through jumping games. For them, being fit feeds them.
For the next three weeks, I am going into Maasai territory by taking on a Safari, a marathon, and a trek to the top of the 19,000 Kilimanjaro. I am going to meet real people with real stories. This is all I know about the Maasai. They are nomadic peoples that build huts of straw, twigs, and mud. They seal these together with cow dung. They follow the game and are highly esteemed because the warriors are highly capable of killing a lion with a spear. They wear bright cover sheets of fabric. A specific fabric I am not sure the signifance of. And they like to sing and jump. Jump straight up. I can get into that…loving the high and long jump! The Maasai are hired to watch over the Safari camps at night, protecting the perimeter as the conservatories have a no gun law. We will be Safari guided by Tanzanians, and I would be running and trekking with Tanzanians and Kenyans and a pod of 9 other Americans that signed on to excursion with Kathy Loper Events.
I haven’t funds left in my fun fund and this getting very real. I will have to make a serious pursuit for income when I return. I told my daughter I was going to Africa as poor as the people I will meet. She reminded me,”I highly doubt that.” Poor in America means you have to par down to doing without the boat or getting your nails done. Tanzania has only a 36 percent employment rate. The majority of its peoples are scrapping up work, trying to sell things, or trying to eat off of cows, goats, and the land. Bananas and coffee are accounting for a small portion of exports. Tourism is it, but seasonal around the rainy and dry seasons. And tourism, the Tanzanians enjoy. They enjoy people. They just seem to enjoy.
I was leaving my college son behind because I feared the consequences of the cost of bringing another person, but I have knots in my heart that this was an adventure meant for him and I. And the value of the time and timing with him should have had a price tag never too high. I didn’t realize that I would have paid any price to have that precious time with him. It was too late and I was already dropped off at the airport. My son leaves me at near midnight with my expedition bags. I hug him with limp arms knowing that I will regret from the very beginning every day I missed sharing this experience with him. I did not want to do this alone. The marathon miles ahead already wearied me. The alone miles in my pursuit to do all these remote places on earth were weighing on me. I had the most memorable of experiences in the OUTBACK of Australia because I had my kids with me.
He drives away. I will find incredible protection and devotion in the animals of Africa to their babies. The phone txts, “I love you, mom.” I feel like the wildebeest that turned her back for that split second and the lioness leaped. I know you do, son. I know you do. I so wish I had rewarded that with the experience to discover hands on. Every day here in Africa I could only wish to have shared this experience with you, my son. It is such an unusual place like no other on earth, it is meant and best to be shared. . I dedicate this journey in Africa to my son, John who has just graduated from college and has worked hard as a computer operator for the business I sold. I know he will make life a solid IMG_4354adventure.

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