mwanza to mwakiwasha

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: home of paved roads, big buildings, traffic, and even a red light

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.

leaving mwanza

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).

ferry across lake victoria (or a finger of it)

The only town of any size between Mwanza and Geita is Sengerema, which is also where we turn off to get to Mwakiwasha village.

kevin in sengerema town

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.

mishikaki and chips in sengerema town

After a quick lunch, we’re off the paved road and towards Mwakiwasha.

on the road — loaded bicycles a common sight

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.

entering a village center
primary school in a village center
on the road again

Bicycles are the primary means of moving goods in most small towns and even more so when you get into the more rural areas.

yes, even in remote villages they consume beer and coke

Because of the deterioration, you can see in this picture the way in which a mud home is built.

framing of wood with mud slung into place both inside and out

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.

a witch doctor's compound

The further we get into the bush, the more spread out the huts become, with planting fields scattered in between.

huts across the countryside

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.

mwakiwasha village

Next post in the series: a visit in mwakiwasha village



Filed under just photos, living in africa, tanzania

15 responses to “mwanza to mwakiwasha

  1. Must be the dry season. The terrain is brown and the dirt road is dirt, not mud. So what is the temperature like at this time of the year?

    • it very much is the dry season… and i have the dust on my teeth to prove it.

      these days it gets down to almost 60 in the really early morning, and up to almost 80 in the early afternoon. the temperature stays about like that year round. though it seems it was 5 degrees cooler all the way around about a month or two ago. we’re technically in “winter” right now, though the lack of rain keeps it from getting much cooler than the rest of the year.

  2. Not a lot of time to comment, but I LOVE this kind of insight into your world. I know this takes some time to put together, so thank you 🙂

    • anytime you see a week of short posts, you might suspect i’ve got something like this in mind. i tend to store up time for posts like this one. glad you enjoyed it, bernard.

  3. I have to agree 100% with Bernard. I love seeing this insight. Puts a picture to a place you write about.

  4. I love these pictures! My favorite is the one of the huts dotting the countryside. And I also really like the first bicycle picture going down the road. Thanks for posting these!

  5. Beka

    Again, thank you for taking the time to do this. I find it intriguing. I really enjoyed reading about your daily life and seeing the pics.:)

    • in fairness, beka, this is not my daily life — going to the village, i mean. not yet anyway. christie and i did move to geita with plans of working mostly in villages and rural areas, but we don’t know that language yet. we’re finishing up our swahili learning these days, and then we’ll start sukuma. so right now our village days are relatively few, and we’re working in town (where they speak swahili).

      but i’m glad you liked the photos. you did at least get to see a few pics of our everyday life here.

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  9. Susan

    I love Mwanza… Thanks for the pictures. Was there 8 yrs ago… So good to hear the men from the mines were found… Praise GOD

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