Every morning we set off at about 7 am. Andrew fires up the trusty old Landy and those people lagging behind have to be careful to hurry along lest the abundant exhaust smoke asphyxiates them as it drifts through the open front door of the volunteer house.
Once we are all aboard the journey begins. Sometimes just getting up the driveway and off the property is challenge enough. Steep, muddy and rutted are the three words that spring to mind when thinking about the roads here in Monduli.
After the first muddy section there is a short paved section of road that feels like a freeway (with speeds to match!). The squeal of the Landy’s brakes announces our arrival at yet another speed hump and we passengers adopt the brace position.
After a short stint on the ‘freeway’ we have a short wait at Tumaini’s shop. There people buy bananas or bottled water or biscuits or whatever they need to get them through the day. We also meet up with other teachers and staff who join us for the rest of the trip out to our school.
At this point we have a driver change. Andrew readily jumps in the back of the Landy and Hamadi takes the reins. Hamadi is our go to guy and is a real lynch pin of the whole organisation. Andrew drives maybe 2 km while Hamadi is the pilot for the remaining 5 kms.
Once we pick up the remainder of the passengers on the paved road, it’s exit stage left and not surprisingly the road is once again a muddy quagmire.
I don’t know how they do it but some folks can even eat breakfast ‘in transit’.
It is the rainy season at the moment and we regularly get the most torrential downpours I have ever witnessed. Water courses from high points to low paying no heed to the course we want it to take. Instead it races downwards cutting new channels and gouging new gullies and ravines with a single minded purposefulness that is hard to imagine.
One morning last week we even had to undertake a spot of road building as the previous night’s downpours had all but washed away a section of road adjacent to a culvert. The water had simply gone its own way giving us yet another glimpse of its unstoppable power to transform the landscape.
We are always very happy to finally arrive at school. Hamadi then turns right around and heads back to Monduli for the second trip! This trip brings all the teachers and staff who commute the extra 40 odd kms from Arusha every day. I am very glad we live in Monduli…
Some of us even arrive at school in a relatively clean state! How do they do it??!!
Once at school the views over the plain towards Mt Meru are fantastic.
Then, at around 4.15 in the afternoon the whole process is reversed as the first of two home trips begins, lucky we have our trusty Landy!!