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A Visit to Maasai Bomas - December 2002
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MonduliThe north side of Monduli mountain showing acacia woodland and the well-watered slopes of the upper mountain. The “road” we followed is the opening in the bottom right.
As mentioned in our last email, we visited the bomas of two of our Maasai askaris. The drive was truly an incredible journey into the bush and back in time. Driving 60km in 2-1/2 hours gives you some idea of how difficult the journey was. Most of the time was spent on very poor roads and dirt tracks through the bush. Kalanga and Baraka (the askaris) told us it was a good road although it could be muddy. Of course, their idea and our idea of a "good road" are two different things! Luckily we didn't run into any mud or we might have been there a lot longer than planned!

Baraka's boma is at the end of the track and Kalanga's is a 2km walk from there. Both are located about 20km west of Arusha on the north side of Monduli mountain within sight of Mt. Meru. The countryside there is very dry with very little browse for their cows and goats and little food for their families. For each family, we brought with us a 50+kg bag of maize and a box of flour, sugar, salt, tea and cooking oil. That will help them through the dry spell. Surprisingly, not 5km away near the top of Monduli it is green and lush. Even on the south side of Monduli mountain, it is greener. The north side is just not getting the rains.

PoriniThe “porini” (bush) north of Monduli mountain. The volcano Kitumbeini can be seen to the west.
The drive to their bomas is nothing short of spectacular. Driving up and over Monduli mountain is beautiful with lush acacia woodland. The view from the north side is across a vast plain with a 100m escarpment to the north and various volcanos to the west including Ol Doinyo Lengai - the Maasai Mountain of God. As we started down the north side, the road went from bad to worse with it ending up being boulders on boulders. The 7 switchbacks down to the bottom were exhilarating. When we turned off towards the bomas the road became a track up and down through dry river beds, across fine volcanic ash, through acacia woodlands and across boulder fields. Between the acacia thorns and sharp rocks, I can't believe we didn't end up with multiple punctures.     
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