Monthly Archives: December 2011

The 23 Hour Night

We are now on our way to Dubai, where I hope to be able to publish this post.  Yes, the post name is correct:  tonight is about 23 hours long for us.  We left Dar es Salam at 5:00 pm on Tuesday and expect to arrive in New York around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  Of course there is this little 8 hour time difference to take into account.  By “body clock time” we will be arriving we will be arriving at 3:30 in the afternoon.  We are flying on Emirates, and I just got my first taste of cheese and chocolate in two weeks!

IMGP4190I left our previous post in Mwanza, where Bishop Makaya’s brother, Herman, kindly took us under his wing for five hours or so, as we had a 7 hour layover.  We had a delicious  fish lunch/dinner at the Victoria Palace Hotel, which a friend of his is a director of (his friend is also a director of an import/business).  The hotel was very nice and the breezes off of Lake Victoria were marvelous.  After our dinner, Herman showed us some of the sights of Mwanza.  We drove along a bit of the lake shore and saw some of the really fascinating volcanic rocks in the area.  He showed us the Buganda hospital, one of the five largest hospitals in Tanzania.   There is a medical school right by the hospital which, I was fascinated to see, seems to be run by Baylor University and the Texas Children’s hospital.

IMGP4211The we headed to the fish market.  There we met another of Herman’s friends.  This one has an interest in the fish market (“the best in East Africa”) and also runs a taxi service.  It seems that successful business men in Mwanza have more than one business.  The fish market specializes in very small fish, a lot of which are sold as chicken feed and larger salted fish, which I understand, are exported, much to the dismay of Tanzanians.  One of the things that I found fascinating was the birds.  There were very large Pelicans and what smaller white birds that I believe are egrets.

Herman dropped us off at the Mwanza airport in plenty of time for our flight to Dar and we made our way to our hotel for the night,

IMGP4194Normally we stay at the New Africa, which is rather expensive, but we were unable to get reservations there for last night so Bill made reservations at a new-to-us hotel, the Tanzanite Executive Suites.  This hotel is much less expensive than the New Africa and is in the Islamic part of town.  It is also Islamic run, which is clear from the clearly posted signs in the lobby that alcohol is prohibited.  Our suite, and it WAS a suite, had way more room than we needed.  It consisted of a main room with sitting room, eating table and kitchenette and TWO bedrooms with full baths.  One bedroom had twin beds, we took the room with the king-size bed.  The baths were large with fantastic huge showers.  The décor was simple, but everything was very clean and the floors were tile.  The only improvements I could suggest would be more towels (there were two bath towels, and I had to “steal” the hand towel from the bath off the other bed room) and softer mattresses.  The mattress in our room was extremely firm, which may be a cultural expectation, but I would not be comfortable spending more than one night on it (our beds in Kasulu were softer).  The Tanzanite Executive Suites included breakfast in the price of the room, and wi-fi internet, so it was altogether a good deal.

We spent the morning transferring some unused cell-phone credits from one of our cells to Daudi – no point in letting the credits go unused and they would be lost by the next time we return to Tanzania.  We visited our Imagination Computers, our in-country source of all things technical to pay off some of our out-standing bill for a replacement piece of equipment for the solar power which had been fried by an electrical storm earlier in the year and the keyboards, and to order some additional equipment for the Bible College.  Then we headed back to to hotel, got cleaned up for the long flights home and headed for the airport.

Bishop Makaya had flown into Dar today for business at the British Embassy and we met him and Emmanuel Bwata at the airport. Emmanuel had left of Sunday, by bus, for Dar, and we had been sorry not to be able to say goodbye to him.  We were delighted to be able to share a final meal with him and his uncle at the airport before checking in for our flights home.

This will be my final post before landing in the United States, but it will not be my final post for this trip.  There will be at least one more post of reflections.

Tuesday Catch Up–In Dar, heading home

The last two days have been very busy and I have been too tired to post at night, so here’s a quick catch-up of what has been going on from my perspective.  Those of you who have been following our other blog, know the general shape of the last two days.

IMGP4095When we arrived back at the compound after finishing up all of our work on Saturday at the Bible College, we were treated to the sight of a wedding party that had come to use the compound garden for wedding pictures.  It was delightful.  Everyone was dressed in a way that was obviously for a wedding, but also distinctly African in style.  We went out to dinner at a hotel with our friends Olivia and Daudi. DSC00602 The best part about this experience was that Olivia did not have to cook (This is Olivia’s Kitchen).  The menu was very familiar: rice, potatoes, spinach, chicken, beef stew, followed by fresh fruit, bananas and pineapple on this occasion.

DSC00617Sunday was wonderful worship at Murusi Parish, another confirmation and installing our friend, Cannon Daniel as the zone director.  This was a big deal.  Media coverage, including the local television station, ITV, recording the service for later re-broadcast.  Of course there were three choirs: the Murusi choir, the Murusi women’s choir and the Kasulu Cathedral choir.  (Murusi is actually a district of Kasulu and the church is only about 3 kilometers from the cathedral.  Of course Bill and I sang too.  We were hoping to do an additional song with Cathedral choir, but 2/3rds of the way thru the service the lights went out.  I mentioned how you have to pay ahead and have credits added to your power meter earlier.  The Murusi Parish forgot to check their meter and buy more credits before the service.  Being “on the grid” is still very new for them.

The confirmands, especially the girls, were all beautifully turned out.  It is easy to see the Murusi has a much higher standard of living than Msagara Parish, which we visited last weekend.  While the Msagara girls all wore black school skirts and white school blouses, the Murusi girls all wore new white dresses, many with silver motifs.  Many of them had elaborate hair-dos with strings of small white pearl beads and rhinestones wrapped around the up-dos, not to mention other “bling” of necklaces, bracelets, and in some cases, earrings.

Dinner Sunday night was a get together at another hotel (can you guess the menu?) with most of our friends from the diocese and Bible College.  A guest speaker, who had been spending the weekend teaching at the Cathedral about stewardship was also present and thanked.  The diocese and Bible College thanked us with a framed certificate and a surprise:  a painting of Bill and I that had been done from picture that Daudi had taken earlier in the week.  The stretchers were too big for the painting to be able to fit in our luggage so Daudi took it off the stretchers Monday morning before we left and it is currently folded up in Bill’s guitar case.

It was sad saying goodbye to Olivia, my Tanzanian sister.

We left the compound Monday morning at 7:15 after a quick chai (breakfast) at the Bishop’s house.  Daudi was coming with us to the airport along with Mama Askufo.  We were also carrying another young man who had an earlier flight to Dar es Salam.  As we had a couple of hours before our flight, we headed into Kigoma where we hit the fabric markets.  Our flight to Mwanza left on time.  I have to admit that I am VERY impressed with the changes to Precision Air since I last flew them 5 years ago.  We had a great time in Mwanza.  I am going to end here as we expect to board our flight Dubai soon.  I’ll try to post more from Dubai.


We are once again at the Bible College today, finishing up some final work on the computer system.  The new TTCL broad band connection is working very well, we just have a few final things to  install to make it easier to support the system when we are back in Connecticut.  In the background the Kasulu Cathedral Choir is practicing for tomorrow’s service in Marusa, where the Bishop will be doing confirmations and installing our friend Daniel and the Parish Priest.  We will be meeting with the choir this evening to practice the music we will be doing with them.

As I don’t have much new to report, I thought that I would share some of my favorite pictures from our trip thus far:

These are pictures from the road to Masagara last Sunday.

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These are views from around the compound:  The turtle kept in the garden, our guest cottage and the sheep that was grazing in the center of the compound.

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Here we have more scenes from the Kasulu main street and market.

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Have a good Saturday, everyone!