Ok, so it has been quite a while since I lasted posted so I thought it was about time (plus Rob has been nagging me too!) So the Easter holidays finally arrived, the term went fairly quickly but there were a lot of things going on so I was incredibly pleased when the end of term came!
The first weekend of easter was a good chance to catch up on sleep and also help out with preparation for our friends wedding (which was on easter monday), so this involved helping in the icing of 170 cookies and hand cutting confetti! Rob was also the official photographer for the day and managed to take over 1200 photos! The days running up to the wedding were pretty wet and dreary so we weren’t too hopeful for good weather, but it turned out to be a beautiful (if not too hot!) day. Having never been to a Tanzanian wedding before we weren’t sure what to expect, but it had a British touch too as Grace is from England and she was marrying Jastin (who used to work in Isamilo school). The ceremony was in both english and Kiswahili, and had the quintessential African choir singing!
A Tanzanian wedding tradition is to hire a band in a truck, one of Grace’s friends decided to hire one (without her knowing) and they were very loud!! I have never heard 5 men making so much noise with trumpets, trombones drums etc, anyway they greeted them as they left the church and then proceeded to follow us all and play during all of the photos at Bismarck Rocks and the famous fish fountain (a landmark in Mwanza where everyone has their photo taken). I think Rob found the whole photo taking slightly stressful, not helped by lots of interested passers by stopping and getting in pictures! Also there were quite a few small boys playing in the lake naked behind the photos so I think Photoshop may be needed!!
The wedding continued into the evening at a local hotel, the decoration was very Tanzanian, with a big white throne at the centre of the room for the bride and groom to sit, there was an MC who led the ‘programme’ as he put it, which involved a lot of speeches, introducing people, dancing, gift giving etc etc, it was brilliant entertainment! I think that Grace and Jastin were pretty exhausted by the end of the day (having been made to wait in the car for 2 hours before entering the reception – they had to wait for everyone to arrive, and as you may know Africans are known for their lack of punctuality!) But it was a fab day, and I hope they both enjoyed it!
On Tuesday we decided to book a get-away from Mwanza so booked some flights to Zanzibar for a week. The most painful part of the whole procedure was queuing at the bank for almost 2 hours to get money out (note to self do not go to the bank after a public holiday weekend!), the money here is useless, cards are not accepted so all payments have to be cash, the highest bank-note is 10,000 Tanzanian shillings, which may sound like a lot but in reality is about £4, so when you have to pay for flights, hotels or even our car you need a lot of notes! and the bank is not very efficient in either withdrawals or deposits!
Anyway On Wednesday we boarded our flight for Zanzibar, the most humourous part being when I went through security with my large bottle of water, they allow you to take it on board as long as you ‘check it’ i.e. by drinking some in front of them! I’m sure BA would be delighted by such great security! We arrived in a very wet and stormy Zanzibar and wondered if we had made the wrong decision! But the rest of the week was very hot! We enjoyed time by the beach and also walking around Stonetown. During our time there we managed to see over 15 different people from school and Mwanza!
We managed to take a trip to ‘prison island’ off Stonetown and met the giant tortoises there (I tried to steal one but it wouldn’t fit in my bag!) We had a chance to do some shopping (something I greatly miss in Mwanza) and bought lots of kangas and kitenges (bright fabrics) to make some new clothes with (for both of us!), so watch this space…!! After our last trip back at Christmas we weren’t expecting a smooth journey home, however it was all on time, if not slightly early so very happy indeed! We got home just in time before a huge storm hit Mwanza, we had a bit of flooding but I imagine a lot of houses were destroyed in the storm so we count ourselves as very blessed to live in a proper building with a real roof. The roads were terrible this morning and a lot of trees have fallen down, I’m guessing that this now marks the start of the rainy season!
Anyway we are now settled back into Mwanza life, school starts back on Monday so back to the grind for both of us! (although we quite enjoy it really!!)