HomeMissionTanzania 2011Posts3 countries in 1 day

3 countries in 1 day

Today we skipped church and had a family outing to Mafiga Matatu. Mafiga Matatu is the name given to the three hills that surround the tri border between Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.  Mum decided to stay home as she had done the walk last week with Rob and some others. She was left to deal with the hodi’s at the door so soon shut the curtains and took herself back to bed!!! Good plan.

Rob realised that his memory of the drive to the start point was not so good as we took a wrong turn and we think inadvertently ended up in Burundi so finally we stopped to ask directions. This only confused Rob more as the directions we were given were the total opposite to his feeling of where we were. However we managed to finally find our destination.

The photo of the 3 boys looking over the river has all 3 countries. We are standing in Tanzania. The hill to the left is Burundi and the hill to the right across the river is Rwanda.

Crossing the Kagera River in a dug out tree. Risky? Maybe! But kids love it and will always remember the experience!!!

The boys were super excited about the prospect of a dug out canoe ride across the whirl pool river to Rwanda with NO passports!!! As usual we caused quite a stir when 5 wazungu appeared out of the bush to the canoe launch (of sorts). Thankfully one of the canoe drivers spoke English and we arranged transport across the river. This river is the Kagera River which feeds Lake Victoria which then feeds the River Nile.

Once on the other side we tried to explain we would go for a walk then return on a later canoe trip but I think the driver was a little anxious to leave us there and feared he wouldn’t get his overly inflated fare from us. We agreed to return with him straight away but by then the canoe was full. We said we would wait here and he agreed he would return for us.

We took a seat on a rock and took in the view. We were of course quite an attraction. I spoke poor Swahili and this made them laugh, they spoke Kirundi and laughed with each other and one fellow tried a word or two of English. I brought out some sweets we got in a recent parcel from home and offered them around. Of course all hands were out but I insisted the watoto were first. Kids don’t have a lot of status in Africa so I hope I didn’t offend. It was quite funny to see the responses and facial expressions to the sugary/sour chewy lollies. We explained it was a sukari and matunda pipi (sugar and fruit lolly). I had not had one and didn’t know about the sour till later but it sure explained some of the facial expressions. Of course food is never refused or wasted in Africa so they all soldiered on and finished the sweet whether they liked it or not.

By now the canoe had returned and we boarded for our return journey. There is no such thing as a queue in Tanzania and certainly no ladies first rules. It is survival of the fittest to get your spot on the canoe. We have experienced this before at borders and buying ferry tickets –‘it’s not wrong, just different’! On the return trip there was much chatter and laughing amongst our fellow travellers, I am sure mostly at our expense! James loosely translated the video Rob took saying they were laughing because we had made the canoe owner rich by paying a mazungu price for our fare. This is Africa!!!

Once safely back on Tanzanian soil with no passport stamps or visa payments, we headed back up the hill to find a secluded shady spot for our lunch. We didn’t like to pull out our lunch box of sandwiches and bananas amongst the crowd; many of whom may not have eaten at all yet for the day. After lunch we began the hike up, up, up. Oliver took off like a rocket; he certainly has his dad and grandpa’s genes when it comes to walking. I was left behind with Mitchell and Jake who were moaning with every step. Finally I stopped and gave Jake and drink, and then he took off in pursuit of Oli. Just Mitchell to go, one minute he was so far behind I couldn’t see him and the next he came jogging up the path saying he was pretending he was running up ‘heartbreak hill’ in the school cross country. This now left me at the rear chasing down Mitch the rest of the way back to the car.

So three countries in one day, no passports or visas and some good tired legs tonight!!

Tomorrow back to work and school. I have the nursing school library to tidy up as it is closed for stocktake and all missing books have been returned, I am finding many that were not on my original catalogue. On Tuesday I start on the bible college library. Rob is meeting with Andy first thing to talk about what he has been up to the last six months and make some plans for the next 6 months. I am hoping and praying that the boys remember the stern talking to we had about school last week. The plan is four days of good work and they can Friday’s off. I fear Jake will be spending a few hours in his room tomorrow. As much as it pains me, the only punishment that he cares about is to be forbidden from playing outside. Mitchell I have to beg to go outside and play!! Such different kids!!

 

Time Difference

Faith is the key to fit the door of Hope, but there is no power anywhere like love turning it.~

Elaine Emans
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