IT’S A STORY OF COFFEE- PEACEMATUNDA
How well do you know coffee ? We like it in France, we are one of the biggest coffee consumer. For me coffee is the solution of some rough morning where you’d rather lay down anywhere you can to take a nap instead of doing what you have to do. Like many things in our lives coffee is now part of furniture, the little brown/black powder is stuck on the shelf between his friends Tea and Sugar but what do we know exactly about coffee ? As … getting excited about cows, I’m about to meet Peace Matunda to get excited about the amazing story of coffee.
Kaaya picked us up at our hotel to take us to Nkoanrua a few kilometers away from Arusha. He quickly explained to us what would be our half day program and after a quick stop to get some coal we hit the road ( bumpy one ) to reach Peace Matunda. Kaaya is a nice man, welcoming, we made the most of our small journey to get to know each other and to learn more about Peace Matunda.
PEACE MATUNDA, THE ORGANIZATION
So what is Peace Matunda ? It’s an organization created by Kaaya which includes a school and an orphanage ( where we’ll stop by ), possibilities of volunteering at the school, offers of tours in Mont Meru or Kilimanjaro, safaris and the possibility to do cultural tours as the one we did that day ! Regarding cultural tours all the incomes go directly to the school and the orphanage allowing to feed the kids and to keep on giving them the best education. So these tours will allow you to invest in the community welfare being sure your money goes to the right place !
FROM THE SEED TO THE CUP, COFFEE FROM A TO Z
Kaaya introduces us to our guide/teacher of the day : Innocent. That young men will take the time to explain to us the “life” of the coffee, from the small seed growing on the coffee bush to the african ways to end up savouring coffee. I’ll not give you every details of our discovery, I don’t want to spoil you all the fun before you get to visit Peace Matunda !
Our initiation lasted a little bit more than an hour, feeling, sneefing and at last savouring the coffee we learned to prepare with the invaluable help of Innocent. Because, yes, it’s also all about learning the techniques used to prepare coffee and it’s way more complicated than taking the Nescafe pot on the shelf ! The patience of our teacher during the most complicated moments was endless, especially when we managed to spoil coffee trying hard to reproduce his gestures.
Clearly we are not gifted, we definitely don’t know how to use these techniques Innocent masters perfectly but he tries to reassure us, laughing “I learned by watching my mother doing it, it took me years to manage“.
DISCOVERING AFRICAN GASTRONOMY
Do you know ugali ? We thought we did, we were actually sure it was some mix of vegetable we used to eat in Kenya. So when Innocent told us we would prepare some ugali for lunch and when we saw him coming back with water and some white powder we were perplexed. So what is really ugali ? Without even knowing it we already had ugali before ! But not in Kenya, in Uganda ! I don’t remember if I had the chance to talk about pocho, that meal made of maze flour that people eat with the hand with all kind of side dish. We laughed about our misunderstanding and went back to work, as coffee before it, ugali is not the simplest thing to prepare.
It’s Kaaya’s wife who starts by mixing some maze flour in the boiling water, she waits a few seconds and Innocent pours more flour in the pan, a lot of flour, and that’s when the battle against ugali starts. As they did with coffee they ask us to take part of the preparation, so I did, squating close to the pan I begin to mix, it’s already quite hard and seeing me fight against the ugali gave us a great laugh ! A few minutes later I’m released from my mission, ugali’s ready.
LIKE LIVINGSTON SEEKING FOR VICTORIA’S FALLS
After eating all the ugali we leave Peace Matunda to reach a waterfall hidden in the jungle. We cross the village, stopping by some coffee bush to get to see what Innocent explained us, and we leave the road to get on a small path receding cross the fields.
“I can hear water !“. Yes, I heard it, at the top of the path, and I had no idea about the descent awaiting us ( N.B : avoid Vans for this kind of little tour in the forest, it could spare you some epic skids ). The walk itself is really pleasant, practicable for everyone, young, old, sportive or not. So we take that little path to go down and at the end we climb some rocks to arrive at the foot of a small waterfall. Small but beautiful. Surrounded by plants, you just have to raise your head to see the top of the fall and to picture yourself hundred years ago as a discoverer of wonders in the african jungle.
After enjoying ourselves at the foot of that nice waterfall it is time for us to get back to Peace Matunda. “We take the same way ?” Innocent answers me positively, ok, I prepare myself to have some good reflexes to avoid slipping again and hurtle down the hill ( N.B : I said no Vans ! ). We reach the top, some skids later we are back on the main road and to Peace Matunda. We get into the car thinking our tour day ends here but, surprise, Kaaya tells us there is one last place we have to visit.
HANDS ON CLAY, EYES FULL OF STARS
We cross a new village, lost into banana fields and coffee bush it’s a complete jungle in which Kaaya finds his way. For us it’s a labyrinth and we have still no idea about our destination. The car stops in front of a house, a man welcomes us with a giant smile and invites us to follow him. The night falls., Innocent, torch in his hand, precede us to lead us in front of a pottery field. The man is a potter ( did you guess ? ) and he starts to talk to us about his job, his passion. After making us touch his raw material he sits in front of workbench “Do you know clay ?” “Yes, we used to use it when we were children at school“. He smiles again, no, that man doesn’t make Mr. Potato half round with eyes which doesn’t hold as we used to do in school, he’s gonna show us the extent of his talent.
For several minutes he shapes a vase from a large ball of clay, big vase or small vase, he shows us everything is possible. Patterns ? Easy, he adds some. Rims ? No problem, he does it in 2 minutes. His knowledge is impressive. He finishes his vase and put it with its little brothers waiting to dry, that’s it, in 20 minutes he made a huge vase.
After showing us everything he made, some of his creations were really beautiful, we get back in car, for good this time, we hit the road to Arusha, our heads full of memories.
You get it, we had an amazing time learning all about coffee, pottery and discovering the waterfall and the tanzanian food. If at first I wasn’t really interested in coffee my conclusion of that half day with Innocent and Kaaya is more than positive. I would never imagine having so much fun preparing my cup of coffee or some ugali ! So, inevitably, if you stop by Arusha during your trip to Tanzania it’s the chance for you to stop by Peace Matunda to discover everything they can show you !
- Tour is available here, you have the choice between half day or all day.
- Kaaya can pick you up at your hotel ( add extra cost for transportation ) or you can experience dala dala which will take you to Tengeru for 500 shillings and then a boda boda to Peace Matunda fort 2000 shillings ( 1$ )
- Pick up trekking boots in case it rains !
- Don’t hesitate talking about your experience on the website and around you when you get back home !
Here is the link for you to read more – http://surlessentiersdafrique.com/en/its-a-story-of-coffee-peace-matunda/