One of the challenges, but huge blessings when you get it right, is finding friends in an expat situation.
Mwanza is an extraordinary melting pot of nations, cultures, religions and personalities. The main areas of industry are around mining, textile manufacture, fishing and some supporting businesses around that. Mwanza has the second largest population in Tanzania, and that massive population truly involves allsorts.
Our joy is to have made friends from several nations: several American friends, British, Canadian, Dutch and Australians are among close friends after just a few months here… the expats here in Mwanza have got it right. We have all learned what gets us through, and generally pull together when there are challenges, and it has built strength and cohesion when there is not always a lot of reliability in life events.
We have been joined in our home this week by a great Australian couple, who will be house sitting when we visit SA for the month.
I am amazed at the outstanding people who come to this peculiar corner of Africa and enrich it with their skills. Derrick and Susan have retired from their jobs, and are now serving here. This is by no means an easy task.
Derrick is a highly skilled anesthetist, and is teaching, assisting with surgeries and helping to keep equipment in order at the big hospital here in town. The crazy trials that arise almost daily would drive a lesser person back to a leisurely life of sitting on a beach fishing all day! But Derrick has persevered.
Susan is also a trained doctor, and is very knowledgeable in the world of psychiatry. She assists in psychiatric care of patients at the hospital. We are also in a hard-at-it prayer team together, and she does every possible Sunday school class, and anything else she can do to help others.
Derrick and Susan work hard at learning KiSwahili (no easy task), take cold showers, because that is what there is at their house, and smile through difficulties. I am so proud to call them our friends and appreciate all that I can learn from them.
There are a few special places to eat out in town, and last night was our first time to try the Tepanyaki Grill on the lake. It was a delightful treat.
In a beautiful setting on Lake Victoria, with tasty food and good company
(including a Cambodian Australian and a Tanzanian!) we had a great time.
It was great to get out without being washed away, and even catching a photo of still moments on the lake was a challenge.
The rainy season has started!
So what?, you may ask. This affects just about everything. Finding a good time to get washing dry, getting out on roads where the surfaces are washed away to deep potholes, wading through mud on doggie walks (and co-ordinating those walks to non-rainy times… and I may NOT skip a walk!), and Deon feels it very closely with the geology teams unable to get into the field through swollen rivers.
We have a rather personal sadness at the effects of rainy season. Last weekend there were troublesome storms on the lake that hammered our poor Marge, and she is pretty cracked up about it. Her roof was destroyed, sides are cracked and even hard metal poles were broken off. We believe that she was totally rolled over, hitting the bottom of the lake.
Our boat-askari very dramatically showed us how huge the waves were, with much splooshing and roaring. He called the storm “Katrina”. He said that three fishermen had died in the storms too. Lake Victoria is rather more challenging than just a little puddle. (I did read somewhere that across the whole lake over 5000 people lose their lives each year. Nature’s power cannot be ignored!)
We are looking forward to a break of about three weeks in SA. Seeing family,visiting doctors and hopefully a little sea visit in there would be just up our alley before returning to more storms here in Mwanza.
The great thing is knowing we have precious friends to return to!
Wishing you a chocolate-cake-smeared-yummy-wonderful week.