Monday, 26 November 2007

What's a 'kitchen party'?

Sunday afternoon I was invited to a ‘kitchen party’. This turned out to be something like a cross between a hen party and a wedding reception. I didn’t know anyone there (except my neighbours who invited me), but that didn’t seem to be a problem. It takes place a day or so before the wedding and it's just for women. Various people offer advice to the bride-to-be on different topics such as cooking, accounts, raising children etc. and the bride receives loads of gifts for the house - everything she could possibly need in the kitchen and a few other bits besides. This is all woven together by an MC and lots of dancing - gifts are brought in by procession, being held up as you dance down the hall to the bride-to-be, who stands there with her maid-of-honour. You might also notice from the photos the distinct white and pink theme – everyone was wearig these colours, or at least a pink shawl! And the hall was decorated with food – okra, peppers and onions hung from the ceiling, and baskets of vegetables decorated the stage!

Up the mountain again

Yet another trip up Loleza Peak, with two other colleague friends. Very nearly made it to the top. Loleza Peak is 2656 metres high (8714 feet), and as Mbeya is about 1700m (5577ft) high, that’s about a 3150ft climb. You make a lot of height in a short space of time, and on reaching the big white cross you seem to be deceptively near to the peak. The next section was a steep scramble (though we came down a slightly more sensible path on the return) only to find the ‘peak’ was the first of three. Possibly suffering a bit from the altitude, one of my friends decided this was far enough, but I continued with my other friend to what looked like the peak, only to find this was the second peak. The third one didn’t look too much further or higher, but we thought we should get back; beyond it the hillside was adorned with phone towers! We weren’t the only ones climbing that day, and I’m not just referring to other hikers, there were also some boys out with their cows a good half-way up, and even higher there were some goats. We were happy to get back, ease hot feet out of boots, take cold showers and have a drink!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Another walk up Loleza Peak

On Saturday afternoon, Beth and I set off for a trek up Loleza Peak - the mountain rising up behind my home (see photographs from before). We had no intention of making it to the top, but we got a good way up and could see for miles. We could even make out our respective homes, our office, my cycle route to work etc! I've tried to mark them in red - the top right oval is the office, and the big oval is the town centre, and the cross is where my house is (hidden by trees).

It was hot work and a steep climb - coming back down made our legs feel all shaky. Some beautiful flowers also dotted the hillside - possibly orchids? We could see the rain coming in from the hills on the other side of town, but somehow it never reached us, and had passed on by the time we descended. At the peak of our climbing we stopped for a rest to admire the view and to enjoy our banana chips snack!

Fellowship Group

Every Thursday evening I meet together with friends and colleagues for a Bible Study. This week it was at my home - it was so great to have people round - helps to make it really feel like my home! Everyone brings a dish - you never know what will turn up but the spread is always fantastic.

Exquisite little flower

As the rains begin, more and more flowers begin to appear. I came across this exquisite little flower by the side of the road one day, and now I am seeing them everywhere.