This past weekend was a really awesome experience at Mama Ana’s house. Mama Ana has a really great success story that was so inspiring to hear. It was her dream to have her own business but she didn’t have the resources to make it happen. She was given a cow from Hefer International, a Christian organization, in order to start her business. With that single cow, she was able to start a business selling milk and then eventually cheese. Currently, she continues to sell cheese and also hosts groups at her home in a small village in Malala, Tanzania. She gives her guests a true African experience which is what we got to do this past weekend.
When we arrived on Saturday afternoon we immediately started setting up our little tents for the night. After camp was set up, we were introduced to Mama Anna’s son and daughter who were our “guides” during our time there. They talked to us about Mama Ana’s story which was truly inspiring. After our little introduction time, we were given a tour of the small village. One of my favorite parts of this tour was finding and holding a female chameleon. Chameleons can only be found in high altitude areas so this was the first time I had seen one in Tanzania. I also really enjoyed learning about the African “peace plant” on our tour. In Tanzania, when two people get in an argument or fight, one offers the other a leaf from the peace plant. If the leaf is accepted, the argument or fight is over and resolved. Justin, Mama Ana’s son, said this is even used to resolve marital fights! If the wife leaves the husband to live with her parents due to an argument, the husband can offer the wife a leaf. If she doesn’t accept it, the husband can offer the leaf to the wife’s mother. If she accepts the leaf she is promising to convince her daughter to move back in with her son-in-law. I thought this was a very interesting concept.
After the walking tour through the village, we ate a nice dinner prepared for us and then sat around a camp fire. The fire was a nice bonding time for all of us and was our last activity for the night. After, we snuggled into our little tents and called it a night smelling like bon-fire. It poured rain all night long which wasn’t a huge surprise since it has rained on every weekend excursion we’ve had.
Waking up the next morning was a struggle because everything was soaking wet. Mama Ana prepared us breakfast which we had to eat inside due to the rain. After breakfast, we had to begin the daily chores on the farm by milking the cow. We all got a chance to try to milk Bessy; unfortunately, she was “hiding her milk” because she felt intimidated by our presence. After milking the cow, we got to open up a log filled with “non-sting bees” that were busy making honey. We scraped out the honey combs which Mama Ana later made honey with. The final activity we did at Mama Anna’s was making coffee grounds starting with the raw beans. It’s hard to explain this process because there were so many steps but it was so interesting and it made me appreciate coffee so much more! As we were making the coffee, they sang and danced to traditional African songs. This made the experience so much more real and authentic! During this time, we also got to learn how to balance a bunch of bananas on our head which is harder than it looks!.
It’s hard to describe all the amazing things we experienced and learned this past weekend but it was an unforgettable experience to say the least. Mama Anna is such an amazing, inspirational woman. She is dedicated and driven to accomplish her dreams. I’m finding that this is a common characteristic among the Tanzanians.