19 November 2007

Biking the Pare Mountains

I didn't ride to this ride.

Every few months the whole family (all 3 of us) goes my wife Bernice's home village to see Bibi and Babu (grandparents). Once we rode our bikes up from the main highway. I wrote about it here.

We drive to the village as it is 220km one way and we usually only spend a night or two. I could ride but a bit much for the family. Sometimes I ride for awhile on the highway and Bernice drives. I wanted to ride but we borrowed a Landrover and Bernice didn't feel like driving it. So I put the mountain bike in the back hoping I would take a good ride on Sunday.

This particular trip we were going to give our "pole" (condolences) to Chungkicha, Bernice's great uncle. His wife died a few weeks ago after being invalid for 15 years. Chungkicha is on my list for a blog story. He is 93 and has it all together upstairs and has some good stories. Definitely one of my heros. In the picture above he is telling me about the time between the Germans leaving the village and the British taking over after WWI. The local Pare leadership took the opportunity to move the survey markers for the big local church mission, decreasing the mission area by half. I love this story. My father in law's plot where they retired was once in the mission compound. The house has no cement and the wall behind bibi is the worst shape, most are perfect after 60 years.

After breakfast Sunday I started out in low clouds to head "over the mountains". It was gently rolling for awhile and before I started a long steep climb. An indication is that when the trip was over I had only averaged around 10kmph, including the downhills!! I was doing 5kmph plenty of times.

Like many parts of Tanzania, and especially the traditional areas they are suffering from over population. Sifuni who is my age and works with me says this river I rode over was big enough when he was a kid to frighten him. Now it is a mere trickle in the dry season.

Here I am riding steadily up this good road.

See that big building on the ridge (exact middle of the picture), the road goes right by there. Lovely road going in and out of the ravines and valleys. Way cool.
There was not much climbing mostly contoruing to get up to the ridge

Lots of friendly people and lots of views.

This is the view from the "pass". Kind of like a "Sound of music" meadow. I locked my bike in some bushes on the track and then climbed through a small forest to get to this meadow. I met a few herd boys at the top.

I saw some really nice rock masonry. This church had really good masonry out of rocks. click on this picutre and see good masonry work.

Why plaster work like this, why build with burnt bricks when you can build a wall like this.

Riding back I am going slower and notice some pinneapples growning on side of road and a tradional pare house.

Most of the houses are roofe with corrugated iron sheets (bati) but there are a few traditional houses, round with some sort of grass roof.

In only about and hour and I crested the mtns and swooped down in to Bwambo and stopped in a small hoteli for some chai. They only had black coffee, so I had that for the experience and two "half cakes". That is on my breakfast on the table.
The mother was outside washing clothes and the daughter was ironing clothes she had sewn on an ancient treddle sewing machine on the porch. That is a poster of our current President on the wall, J. Kikwete. It was a campaign poster from the election.

I can look down to the plains and at one view point I can see Gavau where by brother in law comes from. That village on top of the ridge is where he comes from. I guess that is how Wapare peoples protected themselves from Maasai a century ago, living in the tops of the mountains.
The only time I have been stung by a scorpion was near that big building. I must of picked it up on the plains.

1 comment:

  1. Kagondu6:51 pm

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