This weekend we had the opportunity to visit Mama Ana and the Agape Mulala Cultural Tourism Enterprises. Upon arriving we learned about how this place came to be. It all started with Mama Ana being given a cow through Heifer International. This program is designed where someone can donate a cow, pig or goat to a family. Mama Ana chose to share the milk from the cow with her neighbors. Soon, a few more neighbors received cows. They then decided to sell the milk outside of the village. After doing that for a while and still having so much milk, Mama Ana decided to start making cheese. Their cheeses have won multiple awards within and around Arusha. Mama Ana also used the money from the milk and cheese to build schools for the village. A lady named Ruth from Germany came to see what Mama Ana was doing, and fell in love with the idea, so she decided to help fund the development of the schools. At this present time there is a primary and secondary school. They are working on building an A-level school.. It was rather fascinating to hear of all that Mama Ana and countless others have done within the community. We then got to tour the village and see the various homes and farms. Our night ended with a campfire and a delicious dinner provided by Mama Ana.
On Sunday we woke up to a light rain and a wonderful breakfast cooked by the ladies of the Agape Mulala. Our day included seeing how cheese and coffee are made. There are different processes and amounts of time that it takes to make cheese. To me, seeing how coffee was made was the most interesting. We learned (and got to see) that when the coffee beans on the plant are red that means they are ready to be picked. There are three shells/layers to a coffee bean that need to be removed before it is able to be roasted and ground. After removing the layers, the beans were placed in a hot pot over a fire and roasted. They had to be stirred constantly in order not to burn. Our coffee making process included a lot of song and dance, and laughter. The roasted beans were placed in a large, deep bowl that was then pounded by a large club-like utensil. The coffee grounds were then sifted. At that point, the process was done! We all got a mug of coffee- and it was delicious. Everyone then got to try and balance bananas on their head. For the record, it is a lot harder than it looks. I could barely take a few steps without the bananas falling, and the women here were dancing around like it was nothing!
We then got the chance to milk a cow. Nearly everyone took a turn, but I do not think that the cow was too happy at having all of us there around her. So she did not release too much milk for us. At Agape Mulala they also have bee hives where their stingless bees make honey. Yes, I said STINGLESS bees. Being someone that is deathly terrified of bees, that was a relief to hear. The honey we tasted was straight from the comb. Our stay at Mama Ana’s ended with a fantastic lunch. Staying at Agape Mulala was a great experience that I am so glad we had the opportunity to do!