[written some time during the week of February 13-19, 2011]

Oh I love God’s sense of humor. So last Friday, I mentioned to some friends that the “Rain Season” isn’t that rainy here… but I was mistaken not even a few hours after sending the message. The itsy bitsy white guy went to the roundabout, down came the rain and washed the white guy out (if you’re in a good mood, try singing the line above to a familiar child’s tune!) But the sun did not come back out all weekend and so I was fully reminded why this time of the year is the Rain Season.

But this didn’t stop us from our Saturday adventure to the village of Tangeni, which is located on the side of the Uluguru Mountain range. We met with several other teachers at about 8:00am at the city bus stand and boarded the Daladala heading Southwest. The first half of the road was paved decently but the second half of the road was quite rough and untamed. I learned that this road used to be Tanzania’s main road South towards Iringa years ago and we were riding on the remains of an old, rarely used road. Also, the rain I mentioned above was coming down like paka na mbwa (cats and dogs). So we were left with 2 choices: keep the windows closed and be dry but incredibly stuffy and eventually sweaty (so not really that dry) or open the windows, get wet but enjoy the coolness of the rain. It was a wet but refreshing ride. After a 30-45 minute ride out of town packed in the bus like sardines, we arrived as the base of the town. I say “base” because the city is built along a big mountain side so to enter the town means you either take a motorcycle or be ready to hike up. And since I forgotten my 11 motorcycles back at the house, off we walked! We soon discovered that the waterfall we were planning to visit was on protected property and we were supposed to have permission to enter the land. But after some talking… they let us enter. So we began our 2-hour hike along a bumpy and high terrain road. We were happy to see the occasional flat areas on the road to give our hamstrings and calf muscles a break. We were extremely fortunate that it was a very overcast day with only light periods of rain as this would have been an unbearable walk in the usual blazing heat. Now that I think about it, that was probably one of the coolest days we’ve had here since I arrived a month ago.

Finally, the falls were in sight as we approached someone’s farm. They graciously showed us the quickest path (although very muddy and steep at times) to get there and within 20 minutes we had arrived at the 40-ish foot (I’ve never good at estimating…that’s why I prefer to measure in “ish”) waterfall. The water was quite frigid but it didn’t stop some of the other teachers from dipping their heads in the water or even plunging themselves under part of the falls. I took this golden opportunity and made my way directly underneath the falls and had my FIRST cold experience since I’ve been here. We took pictures and laughed a lot as we enjoyed the short escape from the heat. Some even drank the water claiming it to be fresher than any bottled water, but I opted to stick with my own water. Then, after some rest, we began the 2-hour journey back down to the village of Tangeni. Hours later I arrived back in town welcomed by a torrential downpour that continued even at our house for the rest of the day. Roads became rivers and plots of land became ponds and lakes. All with a distinct reddish-brown mud color I’ve come to know all too well. I made it inside only slightly soaked and, after cleaning up, enjoyed the rest of my day relaxing and reflecting on the experiences we had today with the waterfall and the ever-present Rain Season.

Here is a picture which only captured a mere glimpse of a stunning lightening storm that visited us this past week. I was completely “shocked” to see that much lightening without a drop of rain…