Sunday - July 16, 2017
May not have to do anything until 2 p.m. but, so far, this was the roughest day we've had. We went to town and walked like 30 minutes to the Rau Eco and Cultural Tourism Organization to learn about their conservation efforts to maintain the Rau Forest. The group was easily also one of my favorite parts of the trip just to see how passionate they were about the land around them and still find a way to sustain the local way of living, which included using the trees for fire wood and educating them about not killing the monkeys when they invade their crops.
You'd think that a place that prays so much for nature would take care of it, right?
The day consisted of picking up litter, a lot of it, finding seedlings to plant for the following day and learning about the forest. To say it's beautiful is an understatement. Despite the trash imbedded in the clay trail, you had to crane your neck to appreciate the almost 200 year old trees. You could see the monkeys jump from branch to branch. They looked like the skunk version of a monkey, but cute nonetheless.
Our trail for the day felt never ending. Without the Rau group, we'd still probably be stuck in the forest. They'd bring us to clearings of seedlings and another to the oldest tree in the forest. We did a little "ritual" around it which really was just singing around the tree. It was cute, I'll admit. I smiled from my soul that day. Thankfully the guides knew where they were going because they also led us to another clearing where an African man was climbing up a coconut tree to retrieve the fruit for the day. There were rice fields everywhere and the grass had a green I'd never seen before. It was so purely green, you'd think it's fake. The grass made these curved patterns in the water which it lives. Mother Nature, man.
On the way back to the normal forest, which felt like forever, we discovered that one of our bags of trash was stolen and all the trash was left on the floor. While people were saying, "how could someone do this?!" All I could think was that maybe someone really needed the bag. Since the area doesn't seem to really care about leaving trash everywhere, why would they care about taking the bag and littering?
The trek back to town I think took about an hour and felt like five. My legs were walking by a miracle, inertia, and a desire to get back to the hostel. Everyone else was hungry so we went to The Taj Majal and had Tanzanian pizza (FALSE it's not pizza it's like a weird omelette/quesadilla with different dough). I was too tired to eat and rudely fell asleep on the table.