The best part of Mama Ana’s was interacting with the people there. We kicked off the weekend with Justin (Mama Ana’s son) explaining how Mulala Cultural Tourism programs started. It was so interesting to hear her story. It all started when the Christian organization Heifer International donated a cow to Mama Ana many years ago. That cow calved, and then she gave the calves to her neighbors. Soon there were enough cows to start a co-op. After the villagers started working together and collecting milk, Mama Ana started producing cheese. I made a personal connection to this story because last year I bought a family a goat through Heifer International in honor of my Mother for her Christmas present. It was so wonderful to hear such a beautiful success story and how Heifer helped these wonderful people.
The coffee dance and singing was so much fun. It is crazy to me that the Tanzanian people are so willing to share their culture. I felt so welcomed and the more you danced and sang the happier the ladies became! I really felt like I was really a part of the African culture. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of the ladies leading the dance.
Spending time with Brian and Derrick was one of the highlights of Mama Ana’s. Derrick is five years old and Brian eight. Brian and I became fast friends when I asked him what his name was in poor Swahili. It was like I had a little brother for the weekend. I gave him so many piggy back rides that my sides were sore the next day, but I loved every second I spent with those wonderful children!
My last favorite memory of Mama Ana’s was siting around the campfire. I sat next to our safari drivers, Damas, Hamisi and Fostine. We listened to Damas tell us about the Republic of Rombo. Apparently he is running in the upcoming election for president. We thought it was all a giant load of “mavi,” but it was funny to ask him questions. His platform is “Clean choos for all.” Sitting around the fire was so relaxing and it was fun to be able to joke and laugh with our new friends. I love that in Tanzania you become friends so quickly. There is not that awkwardness that exists in America. Just another one of the million reasons I want to return to Tanzania.