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Africa » Tanzania » North » Mwanza
December 24th 2011
Published: December 24th 2011
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I liked this chap, even though the bike was larger then he was, it still didn’t stop him from riding it. I admired his spirit.
Hello everyone!

Since last post I have left the School with great sadness. The people there, both fellow teachers and students left an indelible mark on me. I do, and will, miss them. Good and decent people, all of them.

Now I am back on the road and I have to admit that Tanzania is a tough country to travel in. Far harder then I expected however the Tanzanians make it easier by being so nice. And colorful. And musical.

Due to the predictable nature of Tanzanian transport everything I had planned had been delayed or cancelled. Both the train to Tabora, and the Boat to Zambia I dreamed about catching. I was disappointed to the point of tears. So sadly two of my ambitions had been lost, but I did make it to Kibondo which was my third ambition.

In Kibondo I managed to lay claim to the honored crown of only Muzungu* in the Village. Truth is Kibondo had a certain Border Town feel about it, rough and tough. That said, it was still great to know that I was sleeping with in a few square miles of where my Grandparents had lived and where
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Why, oh why, does 3rd world transport ALWAYS have to be SO packed FULL of people?
my Uncle John had been born.

So, I was going to try and make my way from Kigoma down to Lake Malawi but this would have involved rushing and the one thing I have learnt in this country is that trying to do anything quickly just leads to stress. This place does not dance to the beat of your drum. It dances to the beat of its own, slow and unreliable drum. It takes a while to stop trying to control your own future, but it makes life much easier when you do.

Anyway, to cut a rather long story short, I did the only thing a sensible rich westerner would do and flew from Kigoma back to Dar Es Salaam and booked myself in to a nice hotel courtesy of HSBC. Bland it maybe, but it is comfortable and has a swimming pool. So I am going to spend Christmas day by the swimming pool. Drinking over priced drinks

On the 27th I am going to try and catch a train to a town near the border with Malawi called Mebeya and, if god wills it, will spend New Years Eve on Lake Malawi hopefully having
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A familiar vehicle in a very unfamiliar environment.
a jolly party. After this I am going to try and hitch my way down the Lake using local fishfolk and their canoes.

So, from sunny Tanzania I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a simply fantastic new year!

Love, very much

John

*I should explain the whole Muzungu thing. Here, the Swahili word Muzungu is used by the local folks to describe a White European and you get called in a lot. But is not meant in any malicious way, it is a mere observation .If you shout back “Umbongo” (Black man) it is met with smiles.

Its not long before you start to refer to yourself as a Muzungu. In fact, its not long before you start shouting “eh Muzungu!” at the occasional white folks that you see. They don’t always smile back, because they are grumpy, which is a characteristic of the typical Muzungu.


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Bus packed to beyond capacity? Roof full of people? Don’t let that stop you catching a ride!
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I never liked cabbage, but I really hated this one. You have no idea how uncomfortable a cabbage shoved between your legs makes a 12 hour journey on a bus. I cursed this cabbage, bitterly.
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The road to the village reminded me of Mongolia.
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The dining room. Kitted out with tables to suit our namby pamby Western needs.
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The bed room. Kitted out with a foam mattress to suit our namby pamby Western needs.
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Think of Africa, and this is the sort of scene you imagine.
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Life in the village has not really changed in thousands of years. Truth is, life for a millions of rural Tanzanians hasn’t changed in thousands of years.
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The great tradition of African children making their own toys is still strong.
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On Sunday, we went to church. I want to make it clear I am very dubious about the introduction of foreign religions to tribal people, I think Missionaries have much to answer for, but it was still interesting to see.
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These yoof were taking their confirmation. It was sad to see them not wearing there traditional dress, which contrary to my previous post, they DO wear most of the time.
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Good or bad, the Church did attract much attention. Inside when singing Hymns, several ladies started to do the traditional dancing, with their necks pulsating up and down. Sorry, not sure that makes any sense.
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You see a pile of rocks, I see the graves of the 16th Century Danish colonialists. This is because I was told the pile of rocks were the graves of 16th Century Danish colonialists otherwise I would have just seen a pile of rocks.
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The chaps decided to kill a goat. They kill animals using suffocation because it doesn’t waste any blood. It was over surprisingly quickly, after 4 or 5 minutes it stopped struggling.
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But just to be sure a knife through the heart will finish off the animal.
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I will try most things, but I must admit I stopped short of drinking the blood from the carcass. They bloody loved it though. Boom boom.
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I enjoyed making fire very much, sitting in the woods surrounded by wood smoke is one of my favorite environments
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I think there was no doubt that the goat was indeed dead by this point.
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Ahhh, a timeless scene. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can do without living in a mud hut with no electricity or running water, BUT, I dearly wish we Brits could do more of this stuff.


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