Tuko Pamoja Mkyashi
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The View from Ngongu
Ngongu is a sacred place for Mkyashi village, and it's easy to see why. Take a dala-dala from Marangu to Mkyashi and then take the road going left when you get off from the dala-dala stand. Eventually you will see Ngongu's treeless head in the sky as a backdrop to everything to your left. The easiest thing to do is just keep walking towards, asking people along the way where the trail is. Once you reach the top it will be well worth the effort! The soft grassy peak is a great place to hang out for a few hours and relax while taking in the view. In one direction you will have a stunning view of the Par'e Mountains. In the other, Kilimanjaro's peaks. And on either side you will be overlooking village life on Mount Kilimanjaro. You will also no doubt make some young friends along the way! To see more from the area, check out www.mkyashi.org or www.instagram.com/mkyashi
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Coffee, from Seed to Cup
One of the most memorable experiences I've had in my travels was a day spent going through each step of the coffee production process. To be honest, I don't even like coffee! But did you know it is the #2 commodity in the world (behind oil) in terms of dollars spent? I didn't until just recently, but it makes me appreciate how special this opportunity was to learn about such an important part of the global economy. And it was fun. Tanzania, especially in the Kilimanjaro region, is covered with small-scale coffee farms. Many of these farms have been in families for generations, and production methods remain relatively unchanged. See if you can find a local farmer willing to give you a tour and let you participate in the process from start to finish. Plant a tree, then move to another tree to pick the beans. Once the beans are picked you run them through the hand-powered machine pictured above and remove the skin. After the skin is gone you have to leave the bare seed out to dry. This can take over a week, so hopefully someone nearby has some beans that are already dried! Once they are dry, you crush the outer shell off so only the inner bean is left. Now you just have to clean it, roast it, and drink it. If you are there the right time of year (July is usually good) you may actually be able to participate in the entire process. Either way, it's an amazing experience and a great cup of coffee!
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