Thursday, 10 September 2009

Day 4. From Dar es Salaam to Kilwa Misoko

Today we take the 6 hour drive from Dar es Salaam to Kilwa Masoko, but not before saying goodbye to Lara, who sees us off with a beautiful performance of a song, (lyrics by Yeats) she accompanies herself on her celtic lap harp (I can’t believe she’s been dragging it around Africa!) – her performance is really moving and a poignant gift to set us on our way.

Once packed-up and off we try and find a bank so I can change some travellers cheques. (note to anyone thinking of doing the same – you can’t!) Anyway we head to the supermarket to get some food for our journey. The traffic in Dar is terrible, as we queue people try and sell all sorts of goods to us from the road side – mobile phones – chargers, car parts- the works. We eventually get to the supermarket and Salim guides us around the isles. We get back on the road to more traffic jams and Martin starts to eat the chicken he has just bought, but a boy comes running up to the window of the stationary car and begs in good humour for a bite of the chicken. Martin opens the window and hands him the leg, the boy, grinning, waves and scampers off. Towards the edge of the city, Salim makes a quick stop to pick up his bag from his wife, we stop near his house, this is the edge of the city and accommodation looks pretty crowded here. Salim’s wife waves as she approaches the car, she is a very elegant woman wearing a beautiful red scarf around her head.

This time we are really off and soon come to the open road, It’s great to get out into the countryside after being in the city, all along the journey we see small groups of houses, Most of the people we see along the road are involved in an industrious activity, it seems everyone is moving and doing something.

After about 3 hours once we have crossed the new bridge over the river we come to the unmade section of the road. It’s really bumpy and hard work keeping any sense of centre, after a few hours the road surface improves, and as we contine we are excited to spot a few monkeys.

Eventually we arrive at Kilwa Masoko, we find our hotel – Kimbilio Lodge, a beach resort perched on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Once checked it is too late to meet with Jonas Timothy and Jasper Makala at the Mpingo Conservation Project HQ so we send word and have dinner in the bar of the hotel, we get talking to the friendly manager who is dutch, he is interested to hear about our project, apparently he runs a biofuel company which has acquired some forest land near by, he tells us there is an attached timber company in Arusha where the wood from the forest is sent to for processing and selling- I’m surprised he speaks so openly to me considering I am here to make a radio programme about forest conservation in the area, I am already aware from discussions in Dar that handing the land over for biofuels is not a particularly positive move – I make a mental note to ask Jonas more about this tomorrow.