Flashback Photo Fridays: Usambara Mountains

I’ve recently been going through my photos, in large part because I have a bad habit of transferring photos to my hard drive and then forgetting to delete the blurry ones, which means many photos are taking up precious hard drive space. 

Through this process, I’ve been reminded of all my travels, misadventures and almost forgotten little stories. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while to highlight a photo with an antidote or story as a way to reflect on my past trips and document stories before I forget them.  Today, I’m starting my first ever series on my blog, called Flashback  Photo Fridays, where I will share a photo and a story and/or why the photo has special meaning to me. Let’s hope I can keep a weekly post going…

Tanzanian kids in Mtae, Usumbara mountains

Tanzanian kids in Mtae, Usambara mountains

This photo brings a smile to my face every time it flashes on my computer screen. I had just finished  a 3 day trek in the Usambara mountains, just me and a registered guide. I had met my guide at the tiny little shack of an office with a listing of the various hikes in the region and a list of  registered licensed guides.

We met, chatted, had a delicious rice pilau lunch in a little restaurant at midday and it was set. The following day, I met him outside my guest house, dropped my big 60 liter pack at the local office to store for the next 3 days and we started trekking, 7 hrs a day each day. Eating a light breakfast with coffee at a local make-shift hut and buying veggies from the woman in town and making lunch on the road- veggies wrapped in Chapati bread, an Indian style flatbread. Delicious. We walked through lush green hills, farms on the hillside, occasional woman walking long distances to market and every so often, kids screaming my nickname “mzungu,” which has variations on a theme in meaning but essentially is “white one” and “foreigner.” My face lit up every time. “How do they see me? Where are they,” I wondered as I squinted my eyes looking into the distance, often into the valley. 

Always curious, I seemed to lighten up their day. Many wanted to touch me, some demanded money (which made me angry and sad but that’s another post) but  most were just excited to see me. 

This photo was taken at the top of my trek in Mtae, I had reached the summit and planted myself on a patch of grass enjoying the vistas and my accomplishment. I’m not a hiker but have a bad tendency to sign myself up for things because, well, it’s a cool opportunity. Not more than 30 seconds of sitting down, a group of kids were all over me, mimicking me snapping photos, wanting their photo taken while trying to swipe my camera out of my hands. I’m pretty sure they wondered what the heck my little black box did and I was happy to snap a photo of them and sure them their image.  I couldn’t blame them. It’s not everyday a they get visitors in their remote villages. Surprisingly, I only have a few shoots of them. 

When I look at the picture I wonder, how are they? What are they doing now? I wonder how it would be if they received this photo! Do they have many photos, if any, of themselves? I have found the local tourist office webpage and every now and again, I think about printing the photos and sending them… It’s been 5 years ago, since I took this trek!


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7 thoughts on “Flashback Photo Fridays: Usambara Mountains

  1. Pingback: Flashback Photo Fridays: Walking across the border | Roamingtheworld

  2. Pingback: Flashback Photo Friday: Hawaii | Roamingtheworld

  3. You totally should send them this picture. It would make the tourist office’s day to know a visitor still think fondly on her time there 5 years later. I’m guessing the tourist office doesn’t have an e-amail where you could send the picture directly to them?

    • You know, great idea!!! Email email email.
      It’s a tiny little office but I did find a webpage before so sure can find it again. I always thought to send hardcopies but you know how printing photos goes- select them, print them, address envelope, send them… always a process to send mail abroad! hahaha. Thanks for the obvious idea!

  4. Flashback Photo Friday – what a great idea! Lovely photo. Though the description of a pack of kids crawling all over you gave me palpitations, and not the good kind 😉
    As as aside, I have a friend whose blog every week features “Lady Button Monday”. Lady buttons, in this case refers to, erm, boobs. Her posts are always very witty and artsy (rather than pictures of ‘real-in-the-flesh’ ones) I hasten to ad! The funny thing about it is that her subscriber (follower) numbers shoot up every Monday, …and it’s mostly men, lol.

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