HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsMwanza, the good the bad and the ugly

Mwanza, the good the bad and the ugly

This morning after an early swim for the boys we decided to brave Mwanza city for a bit of shopping and general look around. There is only so much swimming, reading and Cartoon Network one can take.

The Soda Pool Bar

After shaking off the taxi drivers that wanted to give a lift by telling them in Swahili that we were walking, we hit Mwanza central. First stop was the bank as we can get money out of an ATM here and then we braved the busy streets. Crossing the road here is a bit different to Ngara!! Between Rob and I, we made sure all boys were holding hands then we check and recheck then dash across the road.

Next stop textbooks. There is such a shortage of textbooks at the schools in Murgwanza and while Liz has quite a stash, I thought I’d get a few more. Some I will use to help kids myself till the end of the year and some (like the Physics) I will give straight away to students I know. I also got another English to Swahili dictionary. The one I bought in Ngara earlier in the year is falling apart and I fear it has more sticky tape then pages. While some books are available in Ngara they are generally a bit cheaper in Mwanza.

Books in hand, we headed into the market alley. Described in Lonely Planet as the place you can get anything!!! Not quite true but there were plenty of football jerseys which was next on our list. Earlier in the year Jake got a Tanzania jersey and has wanted to return to get one for his mate at home. Mitchell also was keen to show his patriotism to Tanzania. While I said there are plenty of jerseys, kids sizes are in short supply. We had runners all over the market searching for the right size. On our first purchase they tried to get us to pay 25,000Tsh – we weren’t taking that and I haggled in Swahili to reduce the price to 10,000Tsh. They tried 15,000Tsh but we walked away - they followed with 14,000 but we kept walking. 13,000 they said last offer. We said 10,000 and kept walking! He came back with 12,000 and gave me the shirt. I said 10,000 and returned the shirt. 11,000 he tried. 10,000 I said and finally he agreed. WIN for the wazungu!!! Obviously word got around as the next one we bought they started at 12,000 but we said 10,000 and the deal was done!!

mmmmmmmm - Ice CreamT-shirts in hand - next stop ice cream. Rob and I had seen an ice cream shop last time we were here so we went searching. We walked in to this dingy hot shop and no sign of ice cream. There were a few freezers all covered over with cardboard boxes. Under the boxes revealed the holy grail of ice cream. The boys were remarkably quick to choose and we hurried outside (where it was cooler than in) to enjoy our frozen treats. In Tanzania they have not had the same Keep Australia clean campaigns as we have. There are no street side bins, in fact the street is the bin. My western upbringing causes me great anguish to just drop my litter on the ground. Usually I will put it back in my bag till I find a bin, but with sticky ice cream wrappers and an already bulging bag, I dropped my wrapper. Mitchell too with ice cream cup in hand said he felt really guilty just leaving it there. I guess the old rule applies, someone has a job picking up that litter and if there was none, they would have no job – still feels very weird though.

By now we were hot and decided to head back to the hotel. We had stocked up on more apples at a local supermarket and some shampoo and conditioner combined as my hair is gross!!! On our return journey we discovered the ugly. While walking along the main busy street in Mwanza, something made me turn around and check my bag I had slung over my shoulder. A fellow quickly turned and walked away as I called out oui!! I was scanning his hands to see if he had anything but could only see some sort of blade. I looked down at my bag and he had slashed it with his blade obviously in the hope of grapping my wallet; he failed!!! While I only had about 9000Tsh in my wallet it also contains my Australian drivers licence. The rest of our documents Rob holds in a more secure bag. The boys were most curious about what had happened and the whole way home they were asking questions about the incident. Unfortunately this is a fact of life in a big city, and worse when you are seen as a tourist as they expect you are rich.

So while we are enjoying our break we are glad we are living in Murgwanza where it is quiet and rural – even if there are no swimming pools!!!

So this afternoon we are catching up on sermons, reading, doing all our computer updates (well Rob is) and downloading stuff (like SMBC Principles Hour talks - thanks Em - that is just too slow in Murgwanza) and generally having a rest.


Time Difference

For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.~

Revelation 7:17
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