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Half Term Break

Me writing the blog by candlelight!

Me writing the blog by candlelight!

It’s almost the end of my half term holiday so I thought I would update you on our shenanigans from the past week!

Half term started last Friday, which was a public holiday – Nyerere Day, remembering the achievements of Tanzania’s most loved president. It was a pretty miserable day! The first day that it has rained constantly for hours. It was probably good for me though because it gave me the chance to relax and unwind before our safari! So Saturday and Sunday we were off visiting the leopards and elephants as Rob has already told you about (here)!

We were absolutely shattered after the trip and fairly burnt (apparently no amount of suncream would protect us!) but on our way back we got a text from some friends inviting us on a boat trip on the Monday, so we thought ‘why not’!? The trip was to an Island called Ukerewe Island which is the largest Island in lake Victoria. The boat was to leave at 9am, which gave us a few hours on board followed by a couple of hours on the island before setting back for Mwanza. As usual here the boat left late, took longer than planned and so we only had 30mins on the island to eat lunch!! (in the end we could have had longer because the boat left late again!) It felt like a real African experience, it wasn’t a tourist boat, it cost us 3600TSH each way (about £1.45) for a 3 hour journey on one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. We were the only Mzungus (white people) on board and it was fascinating to watch everyone else. Young toddlers would sit silently for the whole trip and most people just sat silently or slept – there were all were with books, cameras, colouring books (for the children) and chatting all the way. As I was reading my book I had a lady over my shoulder try to read the pages too! They were fascinated by Hayley’s iPad she was using! Anyway it was a really relaxing day, I think we will return, but maybe we’ll try to spend a little longer on the island!

View of hills near Mwanza

View of hills near Mwanza from the boat we were on.

Boat to Ukerewe Island (you can spot our friends John and Dawn!)

Boat to Ukerewe Island (you can spot our friends John and Dawn!)

Tuesday we tried to use productively to get some house supplies from town (we had saved this job up for half term because it takes a while to get anything, and shops shut saturday at lunchtime). We went in armed with our list and were surprisingly quite successful! Rob is getting fairly good at bartering for items! We bought some beautiful material to cover our sofas for 12000TSH – £4.80, when we got home we realised that it was about 10-15m long!! We also invested (finally!) in a fan which is lovely on warm evenings!!

Wednesday was a work day (ish!). Thursday we returned to town for part II of our shopping list, and we were very successful! We managed to buy a plastic table and chair set, a parasol, cutlery, a toaster (bread kept in the fridge goes very dry!!), mugs and a cake tin!  We were quite a spectacle walking through the streets of Mwanza carrying all of our stuff – Rob with the 4 chairs on his head (African-style) and me – a white woman actually carrying something!! Anyway we gave them all something to laugh at!! Our ‘balcony furniture’ looks very nice and has already been used so we are happy with that purchase! One thing still on my list is a tortoise… I’ll have to keep looking! (I was however offered a rock hyrax when we were in the Serengeti from some random Tanzanian man – I’m not sure if he really had the authority to smuggle me a wild animal so I resisted!!)

Enjoying lunch on our newly refurbished balcony!

Enjoying lunch on our newly refurbished balcony!

Friday was another (more successful!) work day, I am taking on another 6th form psychology class this term so lots of reading and planning to do! Rob spent half the day trying to work out how to pay money from our UK account into a Tanzanian account! He was also extremely helpful to me, helping type presentations for my psych lessons!

Anyway it has been a really lovely week, I feel that we have achieved a lot, enjoyed a couple of trips out of Mwanza and feel relaxed for the start of the next term. (I won’t be saying that by the end of next week I know!!) It feels strange to read on Facebook that half term is next week for you guys, I hope (those of you lucky to get the week off) have a good time too! Let us know what you get up to!

xxx