Mount Kilimanjaro—a magical power in my Life Safari
Visiting Mount Kilimanjaro was a childhood dream of mine! Finally this summer, I made a trip—not to climb it (yet), but to get soaked into its surroundings and appreciate its strength and beauty from a distance. “Safari” means “journey” in Swahilli, and this experience indeed gave a magical power to my Life Safari! I feel humbled and blessed.
We landed in Zanzibar off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Walking around Zanzibar’s historic district Stone Town was quite a rich experience! We got a sense of Zanzibar’s history under various ruling powers (Portugal, Oman, Britain), though many of its old buildings are no longer in good shape. Today, it demonstrates a unique blend of Arabic and African cultures.
Our next stop was Arusha, the base for the rest of our trip. From Arusha, we left for the Ngorongoro Crater, whose majestic circular enclosure is home to a true Animal Kingdom. Next, we proceeded to the vast Serengeti, which lives up to its Swahili meaning of “endless plains.” Finally, we were off to Maasai land at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, a true wilderness where Maasai people live off the land and continue with their deep-rooted culture.
Our trip to Tanzania presented a multitude of experiences, some more impactful than others. Here in this blog I would like to elaborate on one special place which was heartwarming to see as a human and as a jeweler.
This place is called Shanga (Swahili word for “beads”), an arts and crafts collective on a coffee planation in Arusha. Shanga’s work is particularly touching because it employs disabled people to make simple yet beautiful pieces of art with sustainable resources, such as recycled glass. The workshop is completely accessible; as you walk through, you see the artists in action blowing glass, weaving, beading, and the list goes on! You can buy their products right there itself. I bought hand-blown glass vases (as much as I could fit into hand luggage), as well as recycled glass beads and fabric pieces to be incorporated into my jewelry art! The results, 370) and 371) are now up on the website under my African collection!
Again, it was amazing to see human dignity in such a meaningful way at Shanga. They are making this world a beautiful place to live in. Thank you for the inspiration!
Till next time. Rinku.