Sunday, January 01, 2012

Introduction to TZ and Mwanza

We’re coming to the end of our 3rd day in Mwanza and I’m just now feeling like I have the brainpower and energy to write a real blog post. It’s been a terrific few days, but the jet-lag really got me, plus we’ve been pretty much on the go the whole time.

Now that I’m sitting down to write this I feel like I’m at a loss as to say what exactly we’ve been doing. I think everyone probably expects these amazing stories and moving pictures that describe our experience. But the first few days have mostly been filled with getting settled in and acquainted with the area.

We’ve taken walks around the surrounding neighborhoods, gone into downtown, done a little shopping.

Getting veggies
Here’s David standing to the side as our host (not pictured) buys some fruit at the closest market.

For those who don’t know, Tanzania has amazing fresh fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, mangoes, avocados, cucumbers, pineapple, papayas. All for really cheap. So, needless to say, the food is amazing. Each night our hosts have been making a salad of sorts out of finely chopped cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber with a dressing that is to die for. It’s almost like a smoothie with purred avocado and dill. My favorite food so far, so yummy!

M&G's house
G&M's house
Here are some shots of the house we’re staying in. It’s a pretty typical moderate income house.

The neighborhood is in a “suburb” of sorts in the outskirts of downtown Mwanza. Mwanza is the second largest city in TZ, so the population is pretty high where we are. We’re surrounded by shops and houses, just like any suburban/urban area you’d have in the US. However, you can’t fairly compare this neighborhood to one in the states. It’s the developing world, so the infrastructure is just not there. The “roads” off the main thoroughfare are all dirt and rutted. There aren’t sidewalks, just paths through the dirt or grass. Cows, chickens, birds, and goats roam around or are tied to the side of the roads. And it’s the rainy season so there’s a lot of water flowing down culverts or sitting in large, muddy puddles on the roads.

Walking in the neighborhood
Here’s a pretty good shot of us walking down a street near the house with shops in the background.

Down the road from M&G's house
And here’s the road that leads to the house, you can actually see the house in the background.

Last night we had a great time with some of the larger MK society (2 sisters, 2 priests and a brother), as well as all the current missioners in Mwanza. We all got together for dinner and drinks and then played games and put together puzzles. To be honest, I was so tired I could barely make conversation. So when our hosts said they wanted us to put together puzzles and play games I was a little less than thrilled. But it actually helped me to focus and I ended up having a really good time.

The New Years party
The party is raging!

The New Years party
Chris engaged in conversation, what a champ!

Joanne playing the game on New Years
Playing games.

I would’ve put down bets that we all would have been passed out well before midnight. But after our guests left around 10:00 we got on the Internet and then right before midnight we started hearing quite a clamoring outside. There were kids running up and down the streets singing, hooting, and banging on pots and plastic drums. So we headed out to the yard to join them. It was so cute, all these giggling kids yelling and singing. I wish I had a picture of them, but it was so dark it wouldn’t have come out anyway.

Tomorrow we start our official orientation schedule of full days getting acquainted with the region and our sites. As a group we will all go to each person’s work site, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we’ll be working (at least for the first little bit of our time here).

Happy New Year to everyone!


Anonymous said...

Love the photo's! What a great soulful journey you will be having. Thanks for the updates. XO ((HUGS))

Maria T. said...

I'm SO grateful that you've taken time to post some photos and thoughts - it really helps us to feel close to you and understand what you're experiencing. Must be amazingly exciting getting ready to find out your assignment - can't wait to hear! Sending SO much love across the miles! <3 Maria T.