Who you gonna call? GHOST BUSTERS!

We decided to camp out because as warm nights usually go, this one was beautiful. The stars stretched infinitely above us like we were actually just in a planetarium – yes, I’m trying to compare the Tanzanian night sky to HD quality video. Sad, I know but you’d have to see it to believe it.

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We had a bonfire going where we were roasting strips of meat as was customary and while enjoying our bottles of Serengeti, the topic of local legends came up. And then stories of fairy-tales and magic turn to horror stories.

MK – This isn’t anything like your Mohini/Noorie story from the other week. Our ghost is not a ghost. It’s more like an evil spirit-creature called Popo Bawa that goes around sexually assaulting its victims

Me – Of course, nothing says horror like “Bat Wing“. You sure you aren’t basing your hero on the DC Comic?

MK – Shush, stop interrupting. Legend has it an angry sheikh once summoned a djinni to take vengeance on one of his neighbors. And as you know, djinns are not to be messed with cause they are so clever. This one, like all others, obviously learnt how to dupe his master and escaped.

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Me – Obviously. And then it proceeded to make home in a lamp?

MK – Ha. Ha. It wouldn’t be as funny when it comes looking for you.

Me – Not really a problem. All I have to do is keep a look out for bats. Right?

MK – Hilarious, because the Popo Bawa is a very proficient shapeshifter that attacks at night. It enters a house, sodomizes all the family members and then threatens the family that if they don’t tell everyone about it, it would come back whenever the fancy struck it.

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Me – Yikes, how do you keep it away?

MK – Apparently, a fresh trail would smell like sulphur. When that happens, the entire family huddles outside by the fire and stays awake all night. Some have said that reading a few lines of the Koran will banquish it the same way holy water does.

Me – You’re then going to tell me about staying inside salt circles and using silver bullets aren’t you?

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MK – Popo Bawa has been sighted only near the coast – don’t think salt will have any effect. It’s curious though because the creature only seems to strike during great political unrest. There were reports of it during all the major elections that threatned to get ugly. There are even doctors that are willing to testify that they have treated numerous alleged Popo Bawa victims. They all say they haven’t seen the creature but have seen giant bat wing type shadows fall on them before the attack.

Me – No one’s tried exorcisms? I’ve been threatned a number of times with it cause I’m so “weird”

MK – There are some tribes that place charms at the base of fig trees or sacrifice goats and use its blood to guard their doors. In one village, apparently it possessed a young girl called Fatuma and had a deep man’s voice as it spoke through her and they heard the sound of a car revving on a nearby roof.

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Batman, is that you?

Me – WHAT? This is obviously a very new legend. You sure you didn’t just make it up after watching The Dark Knight?

MK – Hmmm, I might have to take you to the mganga (socerer). Evil spawn of the Popo Bawa.

Me – (looking terrified) What was that?

MK – (Anxiety Attack) What, what, what?

Me – FOOL! 😀

It’s you I was missing

You with your matching blue skies – your insistence to haunt my dreams and infect me with the travel virus.

Again and again and again.

You with your promise of kind eyes and dimpled smiles and adventure.

Spending the day with this li’l african coconut

Coconuts

Kilombero

Udzungwa

Exploring the Udzungwa Mountains at Kilombero after helping teach English to children of the workers of the sugar factory.

The Snorkelling Adventure

I mean, snorkeling is a pretty straight forward thing to do. You wear your gear, you jump in, look around and come back. But this, this was a real adventure that I’m surprised I survived.

First, they put us on a boat which is not really a boat. It’s pieces of wood put together in a ‘cast away’ fashion with a plastic rain cover, huge bold white letters claiming it was the Gladiator. Half an hour on rough seas, one guy scooping the water out and one guy running the engine. Trust my luck to be here on the worst possible season to take off to Prison Island.

We reached paradise – white sandy beaches, turquoise blue/green water, and GIANT TORTOISES. When they said giant, I did not expect them to be that huge. I looked tiny in front of them. The oldest was 129 years old and since we were that early (couldn’t contain my excitement so we left very early in the morning) we got to feed them and watch a 100 year old monster tortoise hump the crap out of a 30 year old. By the hump, I mean almost squash to death. (Yes, I did get pictures. Perverts!)

And then they took the boat a bit offshore and made us jump of the plank, true pirate style and once we were in, they said don’t go here or there or there (pointing rapidly) cause there might be sharks.

Great! Sharks!

Then I find out my snorkel isn’t working – there a giant hole that’s been sucking in sea water and my flippers are almost falling off. Then the sealice had their way with me and the wind is so strong, it’s pushing me straight towards those darned sharks. But, the view was fantastic – we saw beautiful corals, zebra fish, electric blue fish and those puffer fish and so many more I lost track of. It was breathtaking – literally.

I came back up for air, back on the gladiator and the sea had gotten rougher, if that was even possible. And on the way back to the mainland, I got drenched more than I was when I was reaching for the coral in sea. We almost tipped over a couple of times and then joined in to help the boat guy scoop water out.

We came back exhausted and sat by the beach with a nice Mojito, trying to wrap our heads around the whole day when this single dolphin jumps out as high as he can and then again and then a back flip. I couldn’t help but grin and think …

WHAT.AN.ADVENTURE!

I can’t wait to do this again.