Tuesday, February 14, 2012


On the tsetse fly’s head!
    Oh, and Happy Valentine’s day for all of the couples together, and for those who take the time to love themselves this year.  I found my Valentine here in Tanzania today, on our journey through Tarangire National Park.  He’s tall, quite handsome, and very in love with my gorgeous brown hair.
   His name? I’m not sure I could pronounce it.  I would need some practice to get the language down.  Oh, and you’d have to be an elephant to understand.
   Yes, my Valentine for this year was a distinguished male elephant.  What I said about my hair was true, he was quite enamored, while I was somewhat terrified.
   You’d like the story?  Well, allow me to begin with a short story from the day previous:
   On February 13th of 2012, this year, I took my day and dedicated it to two activities.  First, I went to study a Maasai boma, and met some very wonderful mamas, and their children.  They sang their welcomes, all adorned in their best head dress and handcrafted jewelry.  The children wanted to sing and play with us, which we were glad to oblige them.  They were well versed in the “Simama, Kaa” song, which translated means “Stand, Sit.” 
"Simama, kaa! Simama, kaa! Ruka, ruka, ruka!"
   The second dedication was to an orphanage in Mtu Wa Mbu, where there are 40 children of parents lost to AIDS.  Their ages ranged from 3-12, but their songs and smiles were timeless.  Several hours I spent with my friends painting pictures on the walls of the orphanage bedrooms, and the rest were dedicated to the children.  Asha, a lovely girl of 4, had a beautiful smile and a pretty pink dress.  Her younger sister of 3 years loved to be held, and thought that riding the “chaka-chaka” train was some fun! To be completely honest, every child wanted to be held, and twirled, and danced with, and “chaka-chaka-ed” up and down the yard.  “Tena” (meaning “again”) was the theme of the day, as each wanted to be played with again and again and again! 
   A friend of mine brought a polaroid picture so that each child could have a picture of themselves to carry.  They were quite enamored with their photos, and took the time to show everyone their captured smiles and sparkling eyes!  They sang us songs, both foreign and similar to our own, and were quite happy to have some guests to cart about the yard. 
   If I deign to continue about these delightful children, I’ll only revisit my initial heartbreak from their adamant “simamas”, asking that we stay a little bit longer.  We’ll return again, and I’m hoping to get to play once more.
   As for today, the entirety of the daylight hours were devoted to Tarangire National Park.  We left the camp at 6am and headed east, excited about our hours watching the animals.  There were ostrich, warthog, zebra, waterbuck, mongoose, several birds, impala, giraffe, and hundreds of elephants.
Our Esteemed Admirer
   Among one group of these elephants was my admirer.  He was tall, and commandeering, and you should be surprised to know that I had no idea he was going to like my hair.  I was adjusting the lense on my camera when I felt a whiff, and then a brush of a trunk on my hair.  The elephant, it seemed, wished to get a good go at my hair. 
   I want to remind you, these are wild animals.  I write these words with a humorous tone, but while excitement is aroused when an elephant takes notice in your vehicle, there is also a bit of fear.  This savannah elephant was huge, and his eyes were set on our land cruiser.  Luckily, he wanted nothing more than a cursory sniff and poke.  The hair was safe, and no harm done, but I do wish he’d had an interest in blondes.
   The sunrise was pretty, the daytime fun, and the sunset unforgettable (especially thanks to my camera). 
Okay, Dad, want me to bring this home?
   A few lasting notes for my friends and family:
   Dad: I found a truck you’d go crazy for.  And, yes, I took a photo.
   Miranda: I find I’m quite like a certain novel character, in that I’m always munching on apples when I can get my hands on them. 
   Danielle: I saw several tiny, little baby elephants today.  I thought of you every time, and they were adorable!
   Red: The monkeys here have no interest in our drinks, only our shoes.
   Grandma and Grandpa: Congratulations on your 56th wedding anniversary! Definitely something to look up too, and I hope you got your tasty dinner, Grandma, and not the Taco Bell (though I'd kill to have some Taco Bell right now!)
A baby elephant, barely over a year old.
Tomorrow is a non-program day, in which I’ll be spending my time in the Mtu Wa Mbu Maasai market.  Shuka fabric, yes indeed!  I’ve already been to the tailor, and I’ll soon have a new skirt to show you all.


  1. Nick will be devastated!! He was so hoping Auntie Kris would be HIS valentine...

  2. Leave your valentine there Kristin. Sami will be very upset if she has to share you. And Brunettes are beautiful too!

  3. I agree with your mom about the admirer but how about bringing back one or two of the little girls? :))

  4. Mama-bear: Nick-Nak will always be my Valentine! If I could've sent him a cute valentine with a shiny sticker I would've, and this elephant was just here at the time.
    JLP: I miss my puppy.
    Auntie J: I've been trying to bring home another pet for years with my parents staunchly objecting, and can you imagine if I brought home a couple kids?! Plus, I have my little nephew Nick.

  5. OH MY! A couple kids? Then u leave them with me and go back to college. That's good. Where they gonna sleep when John won't even let the dog sleep with him?