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A Letter from the Southern Pare Mountains

There are no hotels or lodges in the Southern Pare; it is difficult to reach this part of Tanzania; that is difficult for a tourist. This area does not cater for westerners; and this for me was the attraction. I had been on a Serengeti safari, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and even traveled to Zanzibar. All this was a fantastic adventure but I was in Africa and wanted to experience as much of Tanzania as I could.

It was time to visit somewhere where there were no tourists, where I would experience the real culture of Africa.My chance came; unfortunately, it was under tragic circumstances that I would finally get to visit the Pare Mountains. I was living in Arusha for a short time and had been befriended by a young couple along with their eight-year-old son - William. One day William was bitten by a dog - we thought the dog free from rabbis ? it was not. William died very quickly. William's parents asked me to accompany them to the funeral; William would not be buried in the town but taken "home" to the Pare Mountains.

We left on a couple of battered 25 seater buses, especially hired for this trip. We left in the evening at 10 pm. About thirty of us squeezed onto each bus. We raced through the darkness, out of Arusha, then through Moshi town and after passing Kilimanjaro, we then turned south toward the Pare.

After about four hours of travel, we turned into a very small town named - Somé. Here we left the tarmac and traveled for another hour maybe two along dusty dirt roads.Eventually we arrived at the base of the mountains. It was still dark and therefore impossible to negotiate the narrow rocky roads up the side of the mountain. We parked, in a one street town.

It was so quiet. As we stretched our legs, our voices echoed and ricocheted about the place and we woke the locals. A few shops opened to sell toothbrushes and hot tea and we brushed our teeth out in the open, then sitting on the stone steps of the old buildings, drank black sweet tea, and waited for the light of morning.At 6.30am we were off again this time a steep assent up and up and up.

The mountains are breathtaking. Rolling into the distance, trees and birds and water everywhere. We took a further ninety minutes to get to the home where were to burry William. Everything was terraced; we sat outside the small house under a tree.

The whole community had come for the burial. The views were stunning and the people warm and welcoming.This trip was full of sadness and regret about the young boy. We all feeling we had not done enough to save him.

After burring William, we raced back to Arusha Town, leaving the parents in their village home to morn their only child.I plan to return to the Pare Mountains to explore for myself. To take some time and drink in Africa - away from tourist and phony or over organized cultural visits. I have learnt it is not so difficult to see these wonderful places, to truly experience that often claimed destination 'off the beaten track' often talked about but rarely delivered.


All profits from http://www.betheladventre.co.uk go into the Patmos Community Initiative, which is a Non-Governmental Organization in Northern Tanzania - no. 11778.

We are currently building a nursery school in Sokon One - Arusha. We offer and encourage voluntary positions vacations to our charitable projects. Swahili Language courses are available twice per year, in March and in November.

By: Ian Williamson

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