14 December 2012


Christmas is finally here, and this reminds me of one strange experience I had with my Family. I am sure they can all attest to this: see, we were overjoyed since this long awaited trip to Tanzania had come. We had visited almost all sites in Kenya, and now it was time for Tanzania. We started traveled by road to Tanzania at night and stayed at Arusha. On the second day, we decided to visit Tanga, one of the towns in Tanzania with several historical sites and national parks. We had not bought a map and we depended on our phones for the GPS signals (yes, smart phones existed then, thank God). 

We were headed to a destination we did not know. We started asking for directions from the police, at gas stations, and from fellow road users. Wrong decision. Since most Swahili is Tanzania’s National language, we had a problem understanding them because well, you see, in Kenya we speak “broken” Swahili.

We asked one lady in particular to guide us and help us know where Kilimanjaro National Park is. She got into our car and we started the journey, excited that we had finally found help. My father is not a fast driver so the lady kept on saying “kaza mwendo ama tutachelewa” (drive faster lest we get late). I kept asking myself why she kept on telling us to drive faster and we wanted to see sites on the way...tsk!

The first warning sign, which we did not notice, was when she asked us to drive into a street that had a “NO ENTRY” sign. Blindly, we drove in. we were surprised see police on motorcycles following us. We did not know why till they told us that they would arrest us for breaking the law. The lady, lucky for us, talked to him and explained that she had led us there.

Then she intended to ask us to turn after a roundabout and she said, “ukipita keep lefti, wewe vunja mkono na ukeep lefti” (when you passed the roundabout, join the road on your left.) by then, none of us knew what she was saying so we passed the junction to the National park. She kept mum.

After traveling for two hours with her constant “kaza mwendo”, we decided to ask her how far it was since it was getting late and we had to go back to our hotel at Arusha. That was when she broke our spirits.

“kutoka hapa si mbali, mtapanda juu ya huu mlima, hapo mtaweza kusaidiwa zaidi. Mimi nashuka hapa. Nimefika nyumbani.” (It’s not far from here, just go up the hill and you will get help there. I have arrived at home, so I will leave you to proceed).

Oh the anger that filled us!! How dare she use us to get her a lift home? And from what we learnt on our way back, the junction the we had passed was the right way to go! We felt wasted, but we had learnt a valuable lesson. We pledged to trust our phones only or buy a map. 

I certainly hope this will never happen again...or do I? I hope it does, it was great!! I wonder what will happen this Christmas!!



  1. Its a digital world but manual helps

  2. hehehe James....some manual is misleading....