LifestylesTravel/Tourism

MISHI

During my 7th grade Spring Break, my family and I took a trip to Tanzania. It was an adventure by itself just getting there! We had to take fifteen different planes to get there and back (and from place to place in between). It was the first time I had been in such a small airplane; one of the fifteen planes only sat six passengers and the pilot. The ride was bumpier than the commercial airplanes, but the view was spectacular. When we arrived, the time zone change was difficult to handle, but after a few nights I got used to the change.

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We stayed in a safari resort in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The guide said we were over 150 miles away from civilization. The scenery was unlike anything I had ever seen before. There were all sorts of noises, but they weren’t ones I was used to hearing; the noises came from animals (and insects!), not from cars or television or people. So far, I loved the trip.

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Our assigned guide was Mishi. She could spot a needle in a haystack. On our first safari, we saw a herd of giraffes and two rhinoceroses. Mishi told us that the concession that she worked for captured two black rhinos because they were in danger of going extinct due to poachers. She said that the poachers wanted them for their horns and would kill the poor rhinos to get their horns. The story behind the horns is that a Singapore government official had cancer and the dust of the black rhino horn supposedly cured him.

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Ever since, black rhinos have been on the endangered species list. It made me really upset to hear that story, and it apparently made a lot of others sad too, which is why the good people from Mishi’s concession (well, really the concession at which Mishi worked) captured the two rhinos. They are not in a zoo but in guarded pen that is about 100 acres, sitting in the Serengeti. This protects the rhinos from poachers.

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When we got back to the resort, there were a bunch of men standing in line with big guns strapped to their backs. I said hello but they just stood there and smiled at me. Later, Mishi told us that those men were caught poaching and were given a choice: go to jail, or work at the resort against poaching and protect the people and animals there. I thought that was a very good idea and felt better that people were there working against the poachers.

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The next day, Mishi took us to a river that contained big crocodiles and even bigger hippos. After we took pictures, Mishi walked us over to a suspension bridge. My family was very nervous to cross after seeing what was in the river and there was a sign at the front saying no more than one person on the bridge at a time. Mishi finally convinced us that it was perfectly safe, and she was right! We all made it to the other side in one piece. After we explored a little in the area, we spotted a long line of ants. I noticed that a few were bigger than the others and these bigger ants were walking next to the line, as if keeping the others in order.

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Mishi told us that they were called Army Ants and were used by old Tanzanian tribes in place of stitches. They would hold the skin together and force the ants to bite it, and then they would pinch off the ant’s body so their jaws would hold the skin until it healed. This works because the ant’s jaws have two big pinchers. I know it may sound odd and cruel now, but at that time the tribes didn’t have resources that we have today. With that in mind, I thought that it was very interesting how they used the resources they did have in such a creative and effective manner. Mishi actually showed me an example of how it worked by letting one of the ants bite her; I got to see that it really did work, but ouch!

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After we had dinner one night, the people who worked there set up a campfire, and everyone sat around it. The sky was so clear that we could even see the planet Venus. Mishi told me that because there were not a lot of lights or pollution in Tanzania, the skies were very clear, especially at night. One of the other ladies who worked at the resort came over and sat next to my mom and me and pulled out a small bottle. She told us that it contained Henna, which is a flower native to Africa. Henna is crushed up to create dyes. She then offered to paint our nails with it. Henna does not come out of nails. It has to grow out, but it strengthens them and is a pretty orange color. My mom and I said yes eagerly.

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After many days of fun and great adventure, my trip to Tanzania was soon over. I learned a lot from that trip and am looking forward to going back some day. I said goodbye to Mishi, and my family headed on its way (with me included). When I got back home I was sad, but I have many great memories from Tanzania to hold onto.

READ ALSO: VISITING AFRICA?

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