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Tanzanian Sunrise in Karatu

December 4th, 2009 by · 5 Comments · Africa, Tanzania

Jay rustles just as dawn breaks and when I look up, he kisses my cheek, whispering its still early. I drift asleep as he pulls the door closed; the still morning begins to stir with crickets and song birds. Jay strolls the grounds, camera in hand until young Jomo breaks his silence. The two walk together sharing life stories in a mix of broken Swahili and English, Jomo is a traditional East African Maasai living with his wife and baby daughter, he and four other Maasai guard the medical compound as we sleep. In traditional red cloth draping over his shoulder, it wraps around his legs, a staff rests in his left hand while he treads on old rubber tire sandals; to his left, Jay, adorned in his UNH baseball cap, black tee-shirt and faded jeans now too big, walks in his chaco sandals, two worlds astride.

Near the Ngorongoro crater, we are in a valley of tropical lush forest surrounded by verdant hills, the ridge line bestrewn with beautiful canopied trees. It’s a lovely place, below are fields and parcels of land, cultivated rows of vegetables lined with dark red earth. Dirt roads and thatched huts crisscross the terrain, we are anxious to explore Karatu, our home until 2010.

Tanzania’s fertile Eden ships organic coffee beans all over the world for a price most farmers don’t earn in a week, but not a single bean finds its way into our village. Instead, I attempt the perfect ratio of Africafe Instant Coffee and Nestle’s Powdered Milk. Sipping my brew, yesterday’s cases of malaria, brucellosis, amoebas, HIV, syphilis and dysentery run through my mind. Jay returns, preferring his chamomile tea straight up.

Sunlight pierces the windows, we gather our notes and amble to the clinic. So our morning begins.


  • December 8th, 2009 by mom

    Every time I get another update from you guys I get my magnifying glass out and try and find it on the map. It is so exciting following your adventure.
    I am going to get the dec. National Geographic.
    How is camp?

  • December 8th, 2009 by Jay Wright

    What do they do? Baboon hunts.
    I highly recommend getting the latest National Geographic or read it online:
    If you look at the map ( you’ll see our town, Karatu, in the upper right hand corner.

  • December 7th, 2009 by carol/ /aunt

    So happy it’s working out for you two. Aren’t Frank and Susan amazing? I hope you have plenty of time to exchange travel stories as they’ve traveled the world the same way the two of you are doing. We absolutely loved our time in Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater takes my breathe away just remembering it. Take good care,

  • December 7th, 2009 by Dianne / Mom

    Is there fishing, hunting, boating, tv, movies or any other kind of recreation? What do they do for a living besides grow coffee? Dad

  • December 7th, 2009 by Jay Wright

    And like school children we set out along the tree lined, red dirt road. I carry her notes and computer are in my backpack while she embraces a large hard-bound copy of Merck, the medical bible and together we hum the White Stripes, “I can tell that we are going to be friends”.

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