Trying & Tremendous times in Tanzania

I wrote a bloody essay on our time in Tanzania last night but then I lost it. As I know you are all agog to know what we have been up to,  here is a summary of our time in Tanzania.

We left Zanzibar a week ago to get our visas from the Mozambican embassy.  After some rigmarole, we found that the embassy was closed due to a public holiday. Given we were told to come back on Thursday at 3pm AND so had missed Eid in Zanzibar, I was a little annoyed. Cue mini hissy fit no 1.

We had to get our coach to Dodoma the following morning. Our tickets stated that we needed to be at the station for 4.30am and we would be leaving at 5am. We arrived at the bus station at 4.15am to be told that our tickets were wrong and actually would be leaving at 11am. Apparently our tickets were in Swahili time, where the day starts at 6am and finishes at 6pm. Cue mini hissy fit no 2. We were able to get an earlier coach but had to wait until 6.30am. Grumpy faces all round. We then were squashed for 6.5 hours and the walls of the coach were leaking so I was damp and squashed. Ach!

We finally arrived in Dodoma and have been having a great time in the village of Mvumi which is an hour away from Dodoma. I originally wrote lots about the arid expanse and mine and Fu’s attempts to buy food in the village but you’ll have to wait to hear it in person.  Our host Ned is lovely, as are his school assistants, Kelvin, Freddie and Sarah who are staying with us at the ‘gappy houses’.  It was Sarah’s belated birthday celebration a few days ago which was really nice. She cooked lots of food and we found out about the Tanzanian ritual of the birthday person feeding the guests the birthday cake. And yes, I have been baking in Tanzania as Ned has an oven and both cakes were a great success.

Fu has had food poisoning the last few days and is in turns wan, grumpy and hungry. He is working on the school website from home whilst I have been preparing an assembly with Sarah on Gender & Development for my last morning at the school. I have really enjoyed my time here and wish we could stay for longer. However school starts at 7.20am which means I am getting up very early indeed!When the students are not staring at my hair and general foreignness, I’ve had some cute conversations and I’d like to do some teaching and get to know them more.

What’s next? Well the plan is to overnight in Dodoma on Thursday night and get a coach to Dar Es Salaam, first thing. We hopefully then can get a train from Dar to Mbeya which is close to the border with Malawi. I am a little concerned with the time we have left and am considering flying back from Malawi to Nairobi when we are back from Mozambique. Not sure either of our budgets will hold up to this though! If any has any thoughts on the best ways to travel from Dar to Malawi & Moz, facebook me and let me know.

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