Leaving Musoma

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It was another very early started. We arrived at the bus station at 5:50 to find 4 coaches lit up like Christmas trees. The first two were fully. But the finally coach had one seat left. It was sad to say goodbye to Arthur and Amon, as they had been such incredible hosts to me. I got a seat on the back seat of the bus and waved goodbye. It was very cold, so I asked the guy at the window to close the window. However it open again straight away. There should have been two panes of glass in each window but ours only had one… The wind howled in as the coach was shooting along at over 110kmph. To compound matters the guy next to me then moved so I had no shield from the wind. Luckily when we reached Bunda (in nearly half the time it took when I arrived in Musoma) I quickly moved next to a lady and her child. It was a good job that I moved quickly as there were people and bags lining the allies.

I was fully awake due to my previous seat, but the view out the window was brilliant all the way to Mwanza. There was a quick toilet stop on the way, no service station, just go next to the coach and do your business, but we didn’t stop nearly as much as my coach on my previous journey. We reached Mwanza in a little over 2 hours and a half. I negotiated my way through the many taxi drivers and sellers to grab a rammed Dala Dala to town. The seat I had was like a bus stop seat at home; only big enough for half your bum and slanted downwards.

I went to a cafe Arthur recommended and had Mandazi, kitumbua, fruit and coffee for breakfast. I read my book and watched a replay of an Premier league game until 11. I bought a paper and headed to find a Dala Dala. I was very disoriented and walked in the wrong direction before finding a Dala Dala stop. However I was at the wrong one… So a man, very kindly walked me to the right one, via a packed market. I’m glad I left lots of time as I was pushing it a little bit.

I went through to ‘check-in’ to find just two counters there, one had a person manning it but nobody could check-in there… I had to visit customs before I left. I waited for 5 mins for one lady served a couple in front of me. There was another lady in the office, but she was reading her book instead of serving me. My flight was called and I was told to go through gate 1 (there is only one door to the runway, so I am unsure why its called gate 1…). The flight back was good, even if the stewardesses looked angry to serve me my drink. We flew over the lake, before flying over the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater.

I grabbed the shuttle bus back to town. The driver was uncharacteristically cautious, he decided not to do a triple over take or overtake round corners, so it took an hour to get back. It was great to be back, Faheem ran and hugged me as soon as I entered the compound. After seeing the kids, I had dinner and returned to SWIWSCO.

My night was good, very normal, until after the little boys went to bed. I then heard Nurdin, one of the younger boys, running and shouting into the house. I was about to shout at him and get him back to bed, before he told me there was a big snake in their room. Dula, one of the eldest boys, and I grabbed some bricks and headed to the room to investigate. We were shortly joined by 3 of the other boys (Gohgat, Haruna & Saidi) and some of the older girls (Tatu, {Pares, Vumi and Acia – the lady who works at SWIWSCO).

Dula and I saw the tip of the snake go under one of the beds. So we carefully moved it, but could still not see it. It had gone under a group of very large (9 by 4 feet) roof tiles were propped against a wall. I went to one of the top bunks with a brick and shoes whilst Dula, without touching the floor. Passed some of the tiles out. He then started to tip the tiles onto the floor. As we got to the last one suddenly the snake appeared for a second, with screams from the observers outside. It was a good 4 maybe 5 feet – actual a big snake.

The snake has now gone under the tiles that Dula has tipped on the floor… so he has to pass some more out and put the rest back on the wall. The last one was there and still no sign of it. Dula got a broom and quickly picked up the tile, as I aimed and threw my brick. I missed the head and hit lower down the body… So I panicked and started to throw shoes. Screams were coming from outside as Dula got more bricks thrown in… In a cloud of dust from 6 bricks, the snake lay dead. Victory. However the boys were now spooked and the room was a complete mess.

It took over 30 mins to get the room back together and get the boys back in their rooms. It was an exciting/scary reminder of how suddenly dangerous Africa can be.

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Sacrificing A Sheep

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Sunday morning was an early one. Francis was sacrificing a sheep that we would eat for lunch. A neighbour arrived at 6 and they killed the ram that had been tied up in the house over night. It was interesting to watch how every single part of the sheep was used. After eat rice and chapatis for breakfast, Francis drove us to the cathedral. The back of the land cruiser was then filled with visitors from a diocese in Tanga. It had taken them two days to driver to Musoma from Tanga! After a few minutes into our drive the ladies started to sing. They had brilliant voices and it was far nicer than having the radio on.

We were all going to a confirmation service at Nyamatare Church. The Bishop was holding the service along with Francis, another vicar and the vicar from Tanga. The service started in Africa time but in wonderful African style. Throughout the service there was wonderful singing and dancing – and when power permitted music from a keyboard. There were two choirs who would take it in turns to sing and dance. After each name was read out for the people being confirmed some of the ladies in the congregation would make a clicking/calling noise, that I can only compare to a stereotypical red Indian noise!

The service was close to 3 hours, near the end I was asked to come and introduce myself to the congregation. As the service finished everybody walks out and shakes hands. Once you’ve shaken everybody’s hand you join the end of the line. Everybody was again very welcoming to me, even if some of the, had surprised/shy expressions when looking at me or speaking to me. The choir master very proudly introduced me the choir after the service and he wanted me to do some singing and dancing! The Bishop and his wife, the church elders, the people from Tanga and Francis’s family all went to the vicars house after the service to eat the sheep that had been killed this morning. I tried the offal and it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either.

Francis brought me back to the Cathedral, where Arthur was waiting. I quickly changed and took some photos of the cathedral. I said bye to Francis before jumping in the car with Arthur. We had a man and his son in the car with us. I didn’t understand who they were until we reached their huge house with heavily armed guards. This man was the District Commissioner for all of Musoma. This is a very powerful position, he could imprison you with no questions asked, who was a member of the congregation at the Cathedral.

Arthur had no breakfast, so we grabbed some drinks at Mandazi at the same place we visited the day before. Even though he’d eaten nothing he still tried to give me the majority of the food, which I refused. We drove to Arthurs home and relaxed. Amon then took me on a wonderful walk to the lake and round its shore (the house is 100/200 meters from the lake). We saw men pulling fish from the lake. I wanted to take a picture but they wanted lots of money from me, their reasoning was that I was going to sell it and makes lots of money! A large fish could be bought for under $1!! We went to a really great spot by the lake and were followed by nearly 20 children, all shouting “Mazungu”.

Our final stop was up some large rocks to see the sun set over the lake. It was the best view that I have had my entire trip. The landscape here is so beautiful and the lake is huge. There is a great view of small farms too. Amon had great fun taking a few pictures and took some really good ones. As the sun was setting we headed back for some more wonderful food. I was again asked what I would like to eat, so we had Chapati, Pilau and Maharage.

As I would need to get a bus at 6 Arthur very kindly offered that I could stay at his house. Amon, Grace, Mary and I went back to collect my stuff. The power in the whole of Musoma was out so this made it a little difficult. Amon is a great driver, which I think you need to be at night! Arthur was very concerned about my bites, so he sprayed the room and check the net for holes.

I have had a such a great trip in Musoma (hence the use of so many adjectives and superlatives). Arthur is such a kind man, and was such a wonderful host. I will be sad to leave, and it was totally worth the time spent travelling.

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Exploring Musoma; Lake Victoria, An Orphanage And A Hospital

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I had a lie on Saturday morning. I woke to found I had been eaten alive by mosquitoes and had just over 40 bites on my hands and arms… I went outside the hostel to find some children have a lessons around the cathedral. I spoke to John again and he introduced me to some of the children.

Arthur came to pick me up and take me round Musoma. We first visited a carpentry workshop, where they were making the doors and windows for the Bunda’s girls school. As with the workshop near me in Soweto, much of the work is carried out with a machete and no safety gear (Sun glasses for welding, t-shirts and flip-flops being worn). We then did a few jobs Arthur had to do round town, before heading to a small cafe for breakfast. It was a simple self-service place but the chai (tea) and different bread products were really good.

Our next stop was a drive around the town, which is smaller than Moshi but busy very busy in a different way. We headed out to the hotel  which is on a little peninsula into the lake. We had a drink in a little hut right on the water. It was so quiet, and the lake and surrounding area were a fantastic sight. Some fishermen passed on their boat, and Arthur started to talk to them. He asked me if I wanted a ‘lake cruse’, I said yes and jumped aboard for a couple of minutes. It was great, and Arthur got some really nice photos of me on the lake. We walked around the rest of the hotel, and lake shore before driving back to Musoma.

We saw the fishermen walking into town, and Arthur gave them a lift. They had a chicken with them and Arthur got some discount for it by giving them a lift, he is going to call the chicken David. I was surprised to see the guys couldn’t get out of the car. After I left them out, Arthur explained to me they would have been in a Dala Dala before, but never a car… We did a few more jobs round town before going for lunch. Arthur very kindly let me have a quick drive. I was very nervous as there are so many motor bikes in Musoma, tens of thousands – Amazingly two years ago there were none! We had some brilliant Chips Mayi (a chip omelet).

Our next stop was at Musoma Children’s home. A baby orphanage just up the road from Arthur. It is run by Mama Daniel, who is a Finish lady who has been in Tanzania since 1979. The orphanage was beautiful; Very clean and simple. It was light years away from Upendo orphanage in Moshi. I told Mama Daniel about my experience in Upendo (how the kids can be almost force-fed huge plates of food, no toys etc) and she said it wasn’t uncommon.

After a short time relaxing at Arthur’s, with some brilliant cake, Arthur and I were off again. Last night Arthur had had very little sleep again. He got a call at midnight asking him if he could take a very sick woman to hospital, he stayed with her till the early hours. He did not know this woman. We were going to visit her. I was asked by many people to help them in the hospital, as they assumed I was a doctor. The hospital was a real experience. Arthur was really worried about the amount of mosquitoes in the hospital so we flew round town so he could buy this lady some repellent to ensure she couldn’t get malaria. I was really taken back by such kindness he showed a stranger.

I was taken back to the hostel to change and get ready to go for dinner at Cannon Francis’s house. I was collected by his wife, Pam, and the Bishops driver. I was asked what I liked for dinner, and felt a little embarrassed as I would have eaten anything.  I sat inside for a while before going outside to see what Freyda and Fiona were doing, their two daughters. They had two friends over and were all skipping and playing with an old bike tire. I joined in, much to the amusement of the girls. We had some lovely fish, rice and fruit for dinner – with Avocado juice. Cannon Francis wanted me to attend a confirmation service in the morning, so it was decided that I would stay at his house.

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Exploring Mara

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I was asked to attend a service in the Cathedral in the morning. Normally every weekday there are prayers, but for the last Friday of the month there is a short communion service. The service was lively and I followed some parts, as it was in Swahili. I was asked near the end to introduce myself, I did my best in Swahili but I also spoke in English, as nearly the entire congregation spoke English.

Arthur, Cannon Francis, the Vicar of the Cathedral and I all grabbed some lunch at the hostel. There were Mandazi, Chapati, eggs and many other bread products. I also had a cup of coffee, the water was heated up in a microwave… Arthur had to quickly go somewhere so I got myself ready for the day and waited for him at the office. I was greeted & greater many different people. I also had a really good conversation with David, who is a young man who just finished his military service.

Arthur was frustrated as we were waiting for others, so he showed me round all the offices and introduced me to various people – but most of the offices were deserted as the people were out in the villages. The Church here does so much for the community, in places replacing in the west what the government would do. They build schools, small boarding training colleges, agriculture advice, health care and much more. The people who use their facilities & services don’t have to be an Anglican, but just live in the diocese of Mara.

After a car changed and some more waiting we set off; Arthur, myself, Cannon Francis and two other men. We drove to Bunda, which is the other large two in Mara, which took over an hour. We collected Joseph, who is the head teacher at a secondary school. After another 15 mins drive, we arrived at the site. There is already a Bible college there, but the church is building a girls boarding school and a Boys Brigade training college. There we met some more officials, including Reverend Helen, who is an Australian lady who has lived n Tanzanian for 30 yrs and is now applying for citizenship. We had a tour of the site, which had several part finished buildings. I was amazed to find 3 months ago the land had not even been cleared for building. The builders worked really hard, even through the midday heat, and they were paid just over £3 for the full day…

We waited around for about 2 hours for a lady from the department of education, this really frustrated Arthur. Finally she arrived and she was shown round the site and asked what they needed to do to be approved for opening. She was also given a small gift, unfortunately that’s life here. We were just leaving when the Bishop arrived. Our car was turned around and we all greater him. After initial greetings he greeted Cannon Francis, myself and the lady from the education dept again. He has an amazing presence and changed the atmosphere entirely.

We drove back to Bunda for a 4 O’clock ‘lunch’, which was some lovely fish & rice. After lunch we drove to Bunda Girls Brigade, which Rev Helen helps to run. The site was amazing, so simple, clean and well constructed. I hope SWIWSCO new building is something like this. The girls are boarders and are taught sowing. I spoke to some of the girls who were cooking and was surprised that several of them were taking my picture on their phones.

We made the journey back to Musoma. I was going to stay at the hostel tonight, so I said my goodbyes and went to buy some Mandazi and fruit. On the way I bumped in the children’s choir, who were practicing outside, and John – who is assistant director of the youth department. After I introduced myself to the children, he very proudly took me to their offices and showed me their brilliant filing system and plans to build a centre for the children. The children are vulnerable children in the area, that are given extra tuition for free on a Saturday morning and some of them are also in the choir. We then looked at the site for the centre. The building began in 2010/11 but only some of the walls are constructed as money has been difficult to find, they need 52,000,000 ts to finished everything (£20,600/$32,200). The site will include classrooms, offices, IT room, library and a canteen.

I am amazed at the work that the church is carrying out. They are doing so much good for their community, but its sad that they have to do this while the government keep large sums of money raised through a flourishing tourism industry. The people of Musoma have been so welcoming and friendly to me, I couldn’t have imagined o would get this kind of reception, when all I’m doing is visiting.

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Another Power Cut & Traveling to Musoma

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Wednesday morning I sorted things out for going to Musoma, did some more text editing on the website and went to SWIWSCO. I came back home and sat outside with Witness. Suddenly I heard the noise of a chicken. I looked around and found a chicken had appeared from inside a carrier bag on the floor, its legs were bound. Our neighbour came out shortly afterwards and prepared to kill the chicken…

After lunch I again tried to go to the internet cafe, but it was closed today too. I came home and started to pack. I persuaded Witness to help me make Mandazi so I could take them with me for lunch the next day. Had another good session at KCMC with the frisbee team. After I had dinner, the power went yet again. I was hoping to Skype, but this was not just a local cut but all of Moshi. I went to SWIWSCO for a while and it was slightly mental with no power. I returned home and there was still no power, so I finished packing by torch-light and went to bed.

Omario came round to get me at 7:45. I was worried as we were held up by a broken down truck and they said ensure you don’t arrive after 8. I should have realised this wouldn’t be a problem and as the shuttle didn’t leave till 8:30 – the Precision Air shuttle is also 10,000ts (£4/$6.20). As I started to queue for check-in we were informed that their systems had just crashed… Luckily this crash didn’t last long. I signed up to be a frequent flyer with Precision Air and this meant I got to the front of the line.

I tried to buy some ear plugs at the airport but the few shops are just filled with over priced tourist stuff. I was surprised that we boarded the plane, which was under half full. I have been on quiet a lot of planes, and this was definitely the oldest commercial plane I’d ever been on. The flight was only 1 hour 15, we passed Mt Meru, which is 4,565m, and we were flying under the height of the peak!

The airport in Mwanza is brilliant. On the decent to the airport there is a wonderful view of Lake Victoria. Once we landed we boarded an old bus to take us to the ‘terminal’ and a seriously old tractor took our luggage. We waited in a small room for our bags. The room is raised up from the runway, a wooden hatched is opened at floor level and the bags were unceremoniously thrown in.

I grabbed an empty Dala Dala and jumped in the front seat, which was great as I had room even with my bag at my feet. The driver spoke reasonable English and told me I would be able to get the 1 Dala Dala all the way to Buzuruga bus station. The Dala Dala took forever. We were first held up, by what looked like a 3 man cycling race. Then we stopped for over 20 mins near a market with lots of other Dala Dala’s. All the conducts were trying desperately to fill their bus. They would grab passes by to try to get them in their Dala Dala. I even saw a few times a passenger being pulled by two different conducts at the same time.

When we finally made it a guy attached himself to me and showed me where to buy water and which bus to get. The bus was quite nice, with a cushioned-ish seat and even a TV. It took nearly 4 hours to make the journey from Mwanza to Musoma an I arrived just 4:30. The countryside was so different; With the lake, rolling hills and large Granite rocks everywhere.

I had arranged my trip with Arthur my trip to Musoma. Arthur is the link officer between Mara Diocese and Wakefield Diocese, as well as being head of the education department. After picking me up he apologised for not coming to get me from Mwanza and followed this up by saying correctly he knew nothing much about me. He took me to the offices, where I was surprised to learn 64 people work there. He introduced me to Cannon Francis, who is the assistant secretary for the diocese and Martha who is head of the Women’s Institute in Tanzania and the Bishops wife.

After receiving many warms welcomes we went to my room in the Anglican hostel, which is just behind the offices and the Cathedral. Arthur flew away to visit another village before the end of this day. I unpacked and walked around the beautiful grounds. A lot of noise was coming from outside. Hundreds of Piki Piki’s were flying down the street with flags. They were followed by hundreds of people on foot surrounding a car, which had their MP in, Vincent Nyerer (who is Julius Nyerer son). He is in the opposition party, which is the movement for change, so many of the people in the North support this party.

I sat outside reading my book when Cannon Francis came to join me. He arranged for us to get some lovely fish and rice. Arthur came to pick me up shortly afterwards to take me to his home for a second dinner. Arthur lives with his wife, eldest son, youngest daughter and Grace, who is a girl that they have helped through her final part of her education. I was treated like a king. The food was wonderful and Arthur’s family was so welcoming, to this stranger who had just arrived in their town. Arthur dropped me off at 9:30, before going home to do another 2 hours work.

Discovering A Gym & A Cloudy Sunday

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We were hoping to make a visit to TPC Club on Sunday; In the south of Moshi which does a famous brunch, swimming pool, wifi, golf = Perfect Sunday. However the weather decided we shouldn’t go and it remained overcast all day. I read a lot of my book and very little else. After lunch Josephine and Annie joined myself, Maria and Melina in a trip to town. We showed Josephine round and went to Fifi’s for coffee and wifi. I went to SWIWSCO before and after dinner.

Monday morning, I set about rewriting more of the SWIWSCO website. A few of the older kids were at home this week so I went round there before lunch to play cards, I learnt some new words in Swahili and had great fun. After lunch I played some more cards and then started to do a large pile of washing I had. I did my washing with Rohgat but he finished his in lightning time and insisted on helping me. It’s great fun doing it with the kids and I find it interesting how they all have different techniques.

Melina returned early from Upendo. We met Annie at the Dala Dala cross-road and headed to a local gym. I had walked past it many times and it looked like nothing from the outside. However inside was a fairly impressive and clean gym. There is pool and table tennis outside. Inside there is a gym and a carpeted area for classes. The girls went to a frantic class and I went to the gym. I stayed for about 90 mins and felt great, I haven’t been to a gym in years! For the price 5,000ts (£2/$3.10) you get a class or the gym and use of the changing facilities which have a warm shower! I will definitely be returning to the gym a few times, I can’t believe I didn’t go before.

We had Chapati and Choroko (which is like a kind of lentil dish), which is maybe my favourite meal. I ate far too much of it. I had a good night at SWIWSCO just doing very little with the kids.

I continued working on some of the website on Tuesday morning. I asked Rohgat to come with me to the fruit market to get some Oranges, Bananas (these two make up my breakfast) and Avocados (which I have everyday for lunch and sometimes dinner). He was surprised at the prices we were quoted… but I managed to get the fair price of 500ts (£0.20/$0.30) for an Avocado, which was a fantastic success.

After Lunch Annie came round and we headed to Memorial Market, which our translator, Rohgat. We were going to buy some trousers which Annie had been told an old lady made cheaply on the market. After over an hour we couldn’t find here and none of the shop keepers knew where she was. We had an ice-cream and experienced the mental market once again.

Witness went with me down the road to get some trousers of mine taken up. He quoted 2,000ts, which is the Muzungu price. Between us we got him down for the correct price of 500ts (£0.20/$0.30). I had an African Pizza while we waited (fried bread like on the outside and stuffed with egg and vegetables). After cutting the man started to drink Konyagi, the local spirit… The lines he sewed were surprisingly straight.

I wanted to go to the internet cafe to Skype with Jen, but it was closed and “unavailable today”… So I tried to Skype on the internet at the house but it was futile. The power was out at SWIWSCO after dinner and it was a mad house but good fun. I brought my torch\ and it was the only light for the whole room as the kids ate. Faheem and some of the younger ones would run and touch. They would wait for me to chase them before I would hold on for a while and not let them go. They found this incredibly funny. I did some torchlight homework before heading home for an ‘exciting’ episode of My Eternal with Pam.

Frisbee, Food and Football

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I spent Friday morning adding a few more features onto the SWIWSCO website. After lunch I added some credit to my Skype account and I went to the internet cafe to ring my Grandad’s, it was his birthday. Typically when I rang he was out, doing some jobs, but I managed to speak to my Granny for 10 mins – after she realised it was me and not some sales man!

I tried again to create the DVD’s for the frisbee team, but I gave up and just put the files on a flash drive. I brought lots of plastic bottles to SWIWCSO and with Dula’s help, labeled them with all the boys names. They should all have a 1.5L bottle for football training, but as the bottles are all the same they keep losing them… So I have given them all a bottle with their name on and if they lose one they have to tell me, then wait a week to get a new one.

I headed to training in typical African time. I managed to grab a driver on the street outside my house. He had a really nice bike but drove so slowly. There wasn’t a brilliant attendance at training but there was some really good play. Franki wasn’t at training so I had to try to find another driver to take me home. However I couldn’t find one so I grabbed a taxi instead. After a very long negotiation I got a taxi for a good price.

Melina, Maria, Annie and I were heading out to c-aFrica for dinner tonight. I tried to use the same driver I normally use and I spoke to him the previous day going out tonight. But he suddenly had to go to Mombasa and couldn’t pick us up… The new driver we got didn’t know the way so we had to ring the bar to get directions for him. c-aFrica was brilliant again. The prices are a tiny but more than other local places but the atmosphere is fantastic. We tried some Konyagi, a local spirit, with bitter lemon and it was quite good. The girls were really good and all spoke English all night, which makes me feel bad as there are 4 of us and 3 people are all speaking their second language! Faheem went a little crazy when we came home, running around and jumping on all of us!

The girls were heading into Arusha again on Saturday morning, so I joined them on the Dala Dala into town. I went to write a few more postcards and have some lovely coffee at Fifi’s. After lunch another Swedish girl – Josephine arrived. She is staying at Annie’s house is working at Upendo with Melina and Maria. Rather embarrassingly I had to ask for her name 4 times… She pronounced it in the Swedish way so I didn’t have a clue what she was saying. I thought at one point I thought she said her name was Lucifer… Bad start.I made a hasty exit and headed to SWIWSCO to round-up the little boys and some of the girls to watch the football match.

Many of them weren’t there to watch the football, but to run around like crazy people – which is fine but the ‘stand’ at Memorial has no railings and they all want to run near the edges… Suddenly hundreds of people were running towards the market and shouting. One of the kids told me a thief had been caught. They worked out it was a young Muslim girl and she was surrounded by hundreds of people screaming and shouting. Somehow a car made its way through the masses to collect her. The crowd surrounded the car and banged on the windows and roof as it drove past.

The game was messy and the boys went down 2-0 early, it looked ominous. However Innocent again worked his magic and scored one goal either side of halftime. Some sloppy defending led to another cheap goal and it took an amazing overhead kick from Innocent to level the game – he hit the ball near the edge of the penalty box, a fine way to bring up his hat trick. The game was close all the way to the end. With 2 minutes to go we pressed forward and captain Godfrey managed to smash home the winning goal. Bruno wasn’t overly pleased with the performance but a win is a win. He reminded the boys they needed to train more seriously – clean and proper kit, water bottles turn up ready to go. He is really trying to instil some fantastic values in the boys.

SWIWSCO Website & Frisbee

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The budget is finished for SWISCO so I am now starting on the website. I don’t have much experience with websites but the software looks easy that Collin’s uses online so I am giving it a go. I am re-writing lots of the text before starting out on the site. This took a really long time for me to do. It doesn’t help with the internet and power cutting too.

I popped round to SWIWSCO for a little bit before meeting Annie and heading to the golf course for the exercise class again. I did better and he taught us better this time. It feels like it’s really good exercise. After dinner I had a really funny night at SWIWSCO. I did homework with some of the little ones first, which was difficult as they were tired. I then had some of my hair braided by Peres. The older ones also thought this was really funny. Servera wanted to send an email from her to Jenny and a few of the other girls wanted to contact some of the other volunteers from my phone. I came back and watched the end of a film with Collin’s before going to bed.

I was really behind on writing my blog and going through photos, so I spent time on Tuesday doing this. After lunch I did a bit more text editing for the website. I left the house just after 3:30 as I was heading with the Frisbee team to ISM (International School Moshi). I was running late and was going to grab a Boda Boda when Franki drove past in the opposite direction and told me to wait and he would come and get me. After dropping me off (at 4 which is when we were suppose to meet) he drove home and got some others. The rest of the team arrived nearer 4:20.

I was really surprised at the amount of questions they gave me before I could get into the school. The school was incredible, and it should be for $16,000 a year. A fully equipped music room, gardens that were immaculate and horses. There were loads of stables, a menage and perfectly kept ground for them to exercise on. The pitches we played upon were perfectly flat and watered to perfection. It really blew me away when comparing this private school to some of the local ones.

The session was good. Most of the kids had never played before but did some really good stuff. I tried to teach my team a simple drill, but it’s very difficult with the language barrier and with nobody to demonstrate apart from me. We played a game and my team did well. I had a few conversations with Isac, the ISM coach as he was using some rules incorrectly. I spoke to Isac afterwards and they are having a 600 student strong Ultimate event in December at ISM – which is fantastic. I hope to give him some material to help him coach before I leave too.

I had a normal day on Wednesday. I have started eating just fruit for breakfast and eating a lot more fruit throughout the day. Witness and I went to try to buy some blank DVD’s, we found some for 4 times less than I was being quoted in town… We also bought some fruit at the local market too. I tried to make the DVD’s most of the day and failed. A slow connection and basic laptop make things difficult. I have some training videos and games I want the Moshi team to watch to help improve them, especially the better players so they can make the Tanzanian team.

Training was really good even though we only had enough for 5v5. It was a more intense session and I again taught Innocent a few tips and he carried them out in the game. I think he can become really top player for Tanzania. The guys don’t know how and when the team will be selected so I hope to find out before I leave so I can help them improve their selection chances.

I started to watch the latest Batman film at home before going to SWIWSCO to finish it. I have seen parts of it so many times when being here and I was determined to finish it. The Tanzanian power God’s didn’t think so though. First the signal went for 5 mins and then the power was out for nearly an hour. I returned home and wrote some PC’s in candle light before the power returned for the end of the film.

I had written a lot of what I wanted to post for some part of the website so I started to upload and fiddle around with it. It’s slow going as the connection is so slow and I am learning lots at the same time. But I was really happy with what I did. I walked to Highway to get some milk as I have started to buy proper milk. It’s so nice to have it! Even if it is long life… I went to SWIWSCO before and after dinner. It’s always a really nice way to end my day, helping with home and just messing around with the kids.

I am starting to make some progress on the website. If anybody has any comments about the website; What to add, what needs changing, comments about the changes I’ve made. Please add a comment here. http://www.swiwsco.org

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Car Racing And A Quiz

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Melina and Maria were heading to Arusha so I went with them to the bus station so they knew where to get an Arusha bus. There is no public transportation so all the buses are privately owned and come in many shapes and sizes – some with questionable homemade modifications and repairs. We found a bus on the main road outside the bus station for 2500ts so they jumped on.

I walked to Fifi’s after buying some stamps and PC’s. The post office was being rebuilt inside but was still open. There were no barriers between the new build and the open part of the post office…. The lady who served me look angry that I wanted stamps. Customer service isn’t always a thing. I had another brilliant coffee and wrote a load of PC’s. I also ordered a Chocolate & Banana Crepe as it was international chocolate week. Despite being the only person in there it took around 40 mins and my crepe was accompanied with tomatoes… It was very good though.

I wasn’t feeling so great, so I headed back home via the post office to post the PC’s (I had put stamps on some of them a week ago, but I just kept forgetting to post them!). I got harassed by two guys on my way back. There are always people trying to sell you tours, hotels etc, but normally they leave you alone quickly. One guy was angry because I ignored him, but he want to get money from me for condoms for a NGO – I didn’t believe him. The second guy was really angry. I accidentally knocked over a shoe on the street. I apologised to the person who was selling it. Yet he tore after me and started to shout saying I damaged the shoe (which I hadn’t) and how I needed to pay for it. He followed me to a shop and said he would wait outside to finish this… Luckily he left when I came back outside.

I jumped on a Dala Dala and manged to get the front seat, something I wanted to do for a while –  there is far more room in the front. I was feeling really ill and was worried it was from the chicken curry. I drank lots of water and just chilled with the kids at SWIWSCO the rest of the day.

I was concerned about feeling so ill on Saturday, but luckily I woke up the next day feeling fine. The two girls and I all needed to do washing, so we sat down for two hours and did it. The girls found it a bit difficult and I think needed a bit more elbow grease! I rushed to get ready as I was going with Dula and Godfrey to what I thought was a car rally at Memorial Market pitches. The boys thought we could run in and not pay, but this wasn’t the case as all the gates were closed round the market. Loads of kids were peeping at the cracks in the gates or standing on the walls to get a look. It costs 2,000ts (£0.80) each to get in. There were around 100 people at the gate just trying to see what was inside.

As soon as I we entered I realised this was not a car rally. The football pitches and surrounding ground had been turned into a race course. Motorbikes were flying around on the uneven ground. The more dust the made the crazier the crowd went. The crowd would run after the drivers as they went to different parts of the course. The rich people brought their safari vehicles and popped the roofs for a good view – one Indian family put a parasol up in the back of a pickup with some chairs in there too!

We headed to a part of the course which joined a few of the loops (as there four different circular loops to create the course). The cars raced 5km circuit in a time trial format. The fastest time would win a trophy and by winning you would increase your reputation and attract sponsors.  I didn’t see them hit anybody but they chased after a few people who ware dare to run across the course. The amount of dust brought up by the cars was quite incredible. Some of the cars were normal cars and I don’t know how they managed to race on such rough ground. The crowd control was done by Policeman with batons. When I car would approach where we were standing police would walk towards us, batons raised, and would all run a few meters back from the tape – This was quite comical and happened every time. The boys would pull me behind them to protect me every time.

The boys seemed to have a great time, and dressed up for the occasion. I had to leave early as I was meeting Amber at Impala hotel for 2. I was running on African time and had to get a Boda Boda to make it on time. We had a great time just relaxing by the pool and swam. We spoke to a few other volunteers who were there. I was preparing a quiz for the kids as an American couple had brought Tic Tacs earlier in the week. There was enough for 1 each but not 2. So this was my way of distributing them fairly.

We left the pool at 4:30 and walked back. Amber was leaving the next day and I was sad to see her go. We got on really well and it was great to have a friend who was a native English speaker. She had come over on a great project and it turned out not to exist here. So she was happy to leave as she had nothing to do here, but sad to be leaving at the same time.

I power walked back, dropped by bag and headed to SWIWSCO. I told Dula and Goddy to have to the kids ready but they were still lying around. With difficulty I rounded them into the front room, moved the tables and picked teams (spreading the older ones and good English speakers). As soon as the quiz started they were brilliant. There were two rounds inside; a language round, English to Swahili and vice versa and questions about the volunteers. I did 2 rounds outside too. In the first each team would nominate 1 person and I would call out a vegetable or animal and they would have to impersonate it as best they could. The final round was a dancing round. They would have to make up a short dance in their teams and we would mark them on their originality, teamwork and entertainment. They didn’t quite get preparing it, but they did dance well when we had the music on. So many of them are such natural dances.

There were 75 points on offer and the results were really close; 42, 44 & 45. This was really pleasing, as was how good they were during the quiz. They seemed to really enjoy it so I will be doing it again. I returned to do some homework after dinner with the kids, some of the little ones were really tired to this was a struggle.

I am getting a bit frustrated at the more aggressive street sellers in town. The car racing was a bit crazy but great fun – the Health and Safety was interesting as was the parking organisation. It was sad to see Amber go as she was the last person to leave who I met at the beginning of my trip. Everybody speaks great English but to be able to speak totally normally was really nice. She is travelling to the UK in October so hopefully our paths will cross again.

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Spreadsheets, Frisbee And El Rancho

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Wednesday and Thursday the kids were off school as P7 have exams. Maria and I went over before 9 to SWIWSCO but everybody was watching a terrible American show, which is dubbed really bad in Swahili – so we decided to go to town. I went with the purpose of writing and posting post cards. We went for a proper coffee at Fifi’s before heading into town to buy a few things. I again forgot to go to the post office…

After lunch I went over to do my washing at SWIWSCO so I could spend some time with them. I went round to where the boys sleep to do. Some of them were also doing their washing or just kicking a football around. Many of them wanted to help me and it was difficult at times to stop them helping! But I did it nearly all myself, expect Abdul and Hassan helped with two dirty t-shirts I struggled with. I said hi to the girls, before hanging my washing and grabbing a Boda Boda to KCMC for training. The session was good and I managed to teach a few more little things.

On Thursday I tried to get the budget finished. I also tried to buy some more fruit. I had switched from eating lots of bread to trying to eat lots of fruit. It can be very difficult to get a good price and I couldn’t on Thursday so I had to frustratingly ask Witness to get it for me. I had the Swahili and the haggling skills to buy what I needed, but being a Mzungu does have it’s downsides. Witness had finished doing a course at college earlier in the year and she dressed up to go and collect the certificate.

After spending time with Pam on Thursday night we had finished the budget and I formatted and coloured it in. I started to work on a small spreadsheet for her to calculate the drinks business she has started – buying beer, soda and water for the house and selling it to us and Collin’s friends. I also started to create one for the SWIWSCO shop. It has a large inventory so it was time-consuming to do the typing. She was really seeing the benefits of spreadsheets and was enjoying creating them with me.

I went to training again at KCMC. I had a new driver and his bike and driving skills weren’t the best. The session was good. I did some throwing with Innocent at the beginning of the session; He is one of 3 really good players in the team and I hope he represents Tanzania at the beach Championships next year. His English isn’t amazing but between us I think he understood what I was teaching. The game was really competitive and I taught a few more rules to everybody. The view is truly stunning from the pitches, the sun sets and turns the mountains snow pink and orange.

Franki wasn’t at the training session but I rang him and he came and picked me up, taking back on the very quick ‘sheep trail’ path through the maze. I quickly showered and changed as Annie and I were joining Amber at El Rancho as Amber was leaving on Monday. We had a really nice meal, even if the service was typically non-existent – A large group came in and we were told to move to another table, but we had to carry our own drinks and place old plates on a tray on our new table…

The three of us made a slightly treacherous walk to Glacier, which is a large outside bar. It has large hut like buildings with a DJ, dance floor and bar. There is then a large grass area with tables and some swings. Amber and I had one drink and sat out in the wonderfully garden, taking in the starts and the fresh air. I haven’t seen some many white people on one place in Africa. Typically the Brits weren’t drinking copious amounts and making fools of themselves.

I am making slow progress on the changes I want to make at SWIWSCO and ones which I feel need to be made. But slow progress is better than no progress, really I’m just running on African time. Witnesses cooking is brilliant (and the more I tell her the more food I get that I like) but I do love going out for food.