Alison, Claire and I - inseparable!
On Wednesday morning (the 12th), I prepared an English lesson and we met with Maimuna to get details about the Kivulini bank account, then hurried to City Council to meet with Mr. Luanda in the Urban Planning Department to get an invoice for the Nyamhongolo plot… we waited pressed up against a throng of people all pushing to get into the office – not really something you’d experience in municipal offices in Canada! After getting the invoice in hand, we met with Mr. Ngowi in the TASAF office and left to pass the news on to Canada at the internet café. We unsuccessfully attempted the bank on the way home and gave ourselves a quiet hour lunch at home, knowing that we were in for a busy evening. In the afternoon, we went to Mabatini to teach English and then came back home to cook a massive meal for the mamas – bananas, rice and fish. We were ready to go for 7pm, but we didn’t have any guests until 8.30pm and then only 5 of the 10 mamas arrived!! Needless to say, we had LOTS of leftovers but they were happy to take them home wrapped in foil for their families. I gave each of them all a goodbye letter and photos (they love to have photos of people who they meet). The goodbye dinner was lovely… we had lots of good laughs with the mamas and were able to reflect together on our progress over the last 4 ½ months.
Alison & I & Mamas Elisabeth, Leah, Joyce, Sabina, Asha in our apartment.
On Thursday morning (the 13th), we organized ourselves at home before heading to the city market with Ruben so that he could show us the curios section (which we had been unable to find after months of searching!). We were all able to complete some shopping for people at home and then went our separate ways. Alison and I trekked up to the Dubai Bazaar to investigate the details of making a purchase of a new refrigerator, spent some time online and then split up – Alison going to immigration and me making a trip to the bank and to a lab equipment store to purchase plastic Petri dishes to boost NIMR’s supply. In the afternoon, I had a meeting with Dan from Kivulini who was interested in speaking with me about what I had discovered about Tukwamuane’s business model. I had a very interesting talk with him which motivated me to move forward with the preparation of a research paper… I feel like I have a lot of things to say about the structure of the project and recommendations to offer for the creation of similar initiatives. After my meeting, Alison and I drove out to Dubai Bazaar to give them the payment for the fridge (from donor funds) and then went on to Tunza for our final yoga class. We had dinner after class and came home early for a good night’s sleep.
I prepared the day’s English test (my last one!) on Friday morning (the 14th) before running into town to do last-minute banking and internet. We rushed from town to Mabatini to ensure that I would be able to maximize my last day with the mamas. I was able to present the mamas with the bill for the fridge and give them pick-up instructions, shared a final chai with them and then set off to Forever Angels. I dropped Alison off on the main road en route so that she could grab a dala-dala to the airport to pick up her mom… so exciting!! I loved every minute of my final afternoon with the babies (even though I witnessed some of the most colossal tantrums of the year)… spending time with them really enriched my experience in Tanzania. I stayed later than normal and then returned home to welcome Mrs. Chen to Mwanza. We went out for dinner with Ruben and Ania to the Teppanyaki restaurant at Tilapia – a very big indulgence to celebrate Mrs. Chen’s safe arrival!
Watching my last African sunset with Manuela at Tunza Lodge.
Saturday (the 15th) was my last day in Tanzania so I wanted to soak up every last drop of the tropics. Alison, Mrs. Chen and I went for a last lunch at Kuleana’s in town before heading out to Tunza Lodge for a relaxing day on the beach – funny to be laying on the white sand beach listening to Christmas carols… tis the season! We were joined by many of our friends who wanted to say goodbyes… to our surprise, “Tiny” and Chris from the Buhimba gold mine also showed up. It was great to be able to see them again before I left! In the evening, we enjoyed a campfire and BBQ on the beach (thank you Jan!), I had a drink watching my last African sunset, a champagne toast courtesy of Alison, and a final night of dancing with friends. It was a perfect final night and so wonderful to be able to say a proper goodbye to the people who made my time in Tanzania so much richer.
A champage goodbye toast - Ross, Mrs. Chen, Major, Jan, Alison and I.
On Sunday morning (the 16th), Alison helped me to calm down and jam every last belonging into my very full & heavy suitcases. Ruben took me out on the back of his bike for a ride through town, fulfilling my dream since my trip to Amsterdam to ride on the back of a bike with a Dutch boy. I left for the airport with the Chens and managed to get through security paying only a relatively minor fee for my extremely heavy baggage. I got all the way back to Toronto without delays (what a miracle!) and spent my layovers in VIP lounges (I paid my way into the one in Nairobi and was thrilled to be able to use a pass from my Dad to get into the Heathrow Maple Leaf Lounge)… I was focused on getting through the trip home as painlessly as possible! I was ecstatic to be able to walk through the arrivals door at Toronto Pearson to be greeted by my family and Adam… the whole moment was over so much faster than I had expected but it was amazing to come home to my loved ones.
Taking a final spin around Mwanza with Ruben.
I still can’t really believe that I’m home. I’ve arrived home to the coldest Canadian winter in 20 years… my body doesn’t really know what to do with itself! Overall, my trip to Africa was more than I could have ever imagined it would be. I’m completely satisfied with my progress in terms of project work, the relationships I was able to establish with others, and my personal development. I look forward to working closely with the project in the future and can’t wait to see the progress that is made by future interns. I will never forget the time I spent in Tanzania.
Watu wa Tanzania, nitakukosa, nitakukumbuka, nakupenda sana! Nataka kurudi Tanzania baadaye… mpaka lini!
A group of Maasai walking along the main road in Mwanza.
Stirring the milk in the community kitchen.