We passed the Kenyan-Tanzanian borders after the sunset, so I didn’t manage to spot Kilimanjaro’s peak, but finally, after 28 hours of continuous traveling we finally arrived to Arusha. We ‘ve been warmly welcomed by a Jesuit priest Fr. James, who drove us to the Jesuit Novitiate on the edge of the town.
They were expecting us and welcomed us with a lovely dinner, which consisted of ugalee, fried fish, roasted veg and rice. There was nothing more one could ask after a such journey. While we were enjoying our meals, the novices started to come in and greet us. Each one of them was very friendly and welcoming.
After the dinner we were shown our rooms and we went to our beds straight away. We were allowed to rest for the next day, so no alarms were set. Despite our allowance, the novices start their day at about 5am with a morning prayer and a Mass, and their alarm is someone ringing a bell, walking around the corridors for several minutes!
Despite this, we all managed to get a decent rest and start our day with a nice breakfast, followed by a reflection on the past two days. We also talked about the Massai people, what we have seen on our journey, differences in transportation – the hypermobile society of the country. We then continued in private prayer time and reflection. We are all realising that the dream coming true is an ongoing process. I doubt that the upcoming 3 weeks will be enough for absorbing all of this diversity.
It was the first time I have seen banana trees all over the place and the first time I ‘ve eaten home-grown bananas; just one of many eye-opening experiences of God’s wonderful creation. This place is like a paradise.
The novices in the community grow most of their fruit and veg allowing them to live this experience on a daily basis. They learn, they work, they pray. They are a lovely bunch of guys who you can have long and meaningful conversations with. They really enjoyed our individual presentations about us and our countries. They really like us and they are keen to play football, volleyball and basketball on our way back to Arusha.