Tea Mission in Africa
Since Chanoyu Arabia moved to Egypt, its kettle has been offering more hot water for tea, and sharing it with various people from Egypt and around the world.
Looking back several years, it was a turning point when I first shared tea with hikers on Mount-Takao near Tokyo, and the experience of taking the tea room in a very abstract and mobile form, which proved to have a strong impact on the people whom I shared tea with, from complete strangers, to very close friends.
Harmony, Purity and Respect, were cultivated with various people and several generations.
The new tea room in the little island of Zamalek in Cairo, was honored with many special guests from both Egypt and abroad, especially the humbling visit from my great teachers in Poland, Ula-sensei and Aaron-sensei.
In Egypt, I have been enjoying diving in the marvelous red sea, which inspired me to mix both passions, and make the first tea gathering underwater, called “Koukai Temae” which both my guests and the fish enjoyed it much.
Since moving to Egypt, I have developed great fondness for the river Nile, which made me think of offering a special tribute to it, and to all the people who live along it, so I decided to travel to the furthest source and make tea there.
My first stop was in Dar Essalam, where I shared tea with my Tanzanian friend, and then bid him farewell to Zanzibar’s Stone Town.
Then I went to the east coast, in a small coastal town called Paje, where I shared tea with a couple of Norwegian travelers.
On with my journey, I stopped to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which I only went 1000 meters up its forest, and shared some tea with my lovely guide.
The next step was at Lake Manyara and Terangire park, where I shared tea with an Argentinian guest, and a Dutch one.
The final park I went to was Serengeti, which means the Endless Plain. There, I shared tea with my Safari group, one Duch and three Spaniards and our Tanzanian driver and cook.
After bidding everyone farewell, I took a charter flight to my final destination, which was a city called Mwanza.
I went looking around for some hot water to fill my flask, which I will use in my tea making.
The city had a lovely calming feel to it, and the weather was wonderful. I went on to look for my perfect location for making my tea offering.
The spot was the perfect location for viewing sunset, which was approaching, and I had to leave soon after it to catch my flight back to Egypt.
The location was at Bismarck Rock, a volcanic rock formation which has a balancing rock on top.
As I was trying to find the suitable rock to make tea on, I was followed by three people who worked at the park, and were happy to come and be my guests. They three gentlemen enjoyed the tea, and I told them, I came all the way from Egypt to thank you for this water which we share with you.
After making tea for the three guests, I made one more bowl of tea and poured it in the waters of Lake Victoria. With the remaining water, I had my bowl of tea, as a symbol of sharing it with my guests and everyone who lived along the Nile.
The remaining tea, and tea whisk, I gave to one of my guest since he wanted to let his family try this special tea.
It was a very touching and profound experience to say the least.
After two years of bringing my own tea room to the German University in Cairo for an activity week, I am now supervising along with a colleague of mine, 11 students who are designing their own tea room on campus, with its original garden, furniture, utensils, even designing sweets, inspired by Egyptian nature, and by only using local material.
The students have completed half of the work, which covered research and concept develpment. In the coming semester, they are expected to finish implementation, and graduate from the faculty of Applied Sciences and Arts.
Seeing how those wonderful students have gotten involved in this topic, which has changed their perception, and inspired them, is truly a tea dream come true.