One of my old buddies from college was traveling in East Africa recently, so Christie and I picked he and a friend up in Mwanza to show them around. On the way to our home in Geita, Kevin and Sarah accompanied me to a village outside of Sengerema town. This is the first post in a series and is a “photo essay” of our travel from the city of Mwanza to the village of Mwakiwasha.
Mwanza has a population of something like 1,000,000 people. It’s home to many of the government offices we visit, as well as our post office box, mechanic, various grocers we frequent, and a couple of western restaurants. I have a love-hate relationship with Mwanza — I despise the traffic and fast pace of life, but I, oh, so enjoy the occasional cheeseburger next to a swimming pool.
Every trip to or from Mwanza requires a 30-minute ferry ride across a portion of Lake Victoria. That 30 minutes, however, does NOT include time spent waiting in line for the ferry’s arrival. On this day, both ferries are running (you can see the second in the background) so the wait is short (30 minutes).
The only town of any size between Mwanza and Geita is Sengerema, which is also where we turn off to get to Mwakiwasha village.
Sengerema’s not a bad place to stop for a meal. This is mishikaki and chips, a pretty easy dish to come by. It’s just grilled beef and fat french fries, and if you can get past how chewy the meat and gristle is, it’s one of the best and most affordable meals available. A plate with a soda costs about $2.00, depending on where you get it.
After a quick lunch, we’re off the paved road and towards Mwakiwasha.
A village center is a place to which all the surrounding people can come to buy and sell goods. There’s a small market and usually a school of some sort. Geita was once a village center, but is now a booming small town.
Bicycles are the primary means of moving goods in most small towns and even more so when you get into the more rural areas.
Because of the deterioration, you can see in this picture the way in which a mud home is built.
African traditional religion is prevalent throughout Tanzania, especially as you travel deeper into the bush. Some witch doctors specialize in natural herbal treatments, while others focus more on black magic, witchcraft, and ancestor “manipulation.” The Sukuma people are famous for their powerful magic.
The further we get into the bush, the more spread out the huts become, with planting fields scattered in between.
And 3 1/2 hours after leaving Mwanza, we’ve arrived at Mwakiwasha. From Geita, this trip is only about 1 hour and 15 minutes — though we also wouldn’t have stopped for a meal coming that direction.
Next post in the series: a visit in mwakiwasha village