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Today is an extra special day as it is Olivia’s 21st birthday! It just so happened that today we would be spend the day as tourists and guests with the Agape women of the Mulala tribe on Mount Meru. We made the trek up the mountain and had the pleasure of another ‘free African massage’. Upon our arrival we were welcomed by our guide, Justin, who is the youngest son of Mama Anna who started the Agape tourism experience. Mama Anna built this business with just one cow she received in times of trouble. Her story is truly empowering to women as they are traditionally viewed as inferior. They are now working on building a school and have a story of how one cow built a school.
After having a traditional cup of tea or coffee, we were were allowed to open up a log to collect and sample honey in place of Olivia’s birthday cake. The honey is produced in a hollowed out tree by stingless bees so we were able to harvest the honey with no gear, which is quite different from how honey is harvested at home. The honey was unlike any honey any of us have ever tasted and was absolutely delicious. Justin collected the honey by poking the honeycombs and allowing the honey to drain down and placed a sample of the honey on our hands to lick.
We then got to sample and learn about the cheese making process that Mama Anna had originally learned when first starting her business. We learned about the differences in the making of mozzarella and Gouda cheeses. Next, we got to learn about the process of harvesting coffee beans. After the coffee beans are picked from the plant they are put through a series of processes to remove the multiple coatings on the beans. The Agape women sang, yelped and danced with us in traditional Meru tribal language. We all had a blast getting into the culture of these women, even if we did look and sound a little silly.
After a traditional lunch prepared by the women we enjoyed a short hike along Mount Meru. We stopped periodically to learn about various plants used most commonly for traditional medicine. The view overlooked the breathtaking landscape of Tanzania, which was fields of green as far as the eye could see.
We look forward to picking up the rest of the team tomorrow at the airport and continue to pray for their safe arrival.

Taylor Kavaya