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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Friday, 16 Sep 2011

Location: Journey Over & Kahama, Tanzania

MapFriday, Sept 16 2011

Greetings from Kahama, Tanzania.

I definitely think the trip over from Kigali to Kahama is blog-worthy. All of you from last year will totally relate to this!!

When we purchased our tickets ahead of time, we were very clear about what we wanted. We wanted a big bus, not the taxi vans and we asked to travel directly over to Kahama without having to change buses at the border. We were lead to various people at the bus stop until we thought we found the right person. Our very helpful ticket agent assured us we were getting what we wanted and even showed us the type of bus we were going to be riding on.

We were pleasantly surprised that morning as we left the city in a nice bus and right on time!! There weren’t even a lot of passengers in it!!! After a 10 minute drive we stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of town and were asked to switch to another bus. We unloaded our 3 packs and five suitcases and reluctantly climbed onto the near-full, much-old bus as instructed.

An hour later, on a very windy part of the road in the mountains, we suddenly pulled over to the side of the road. To our surprise, everyone obediently climbed off the bus and waited on the side of the road while they changed our flat tire. We didn’t even know we had one! After a few hours, and many stops, we arrived at the Rwandan boarder where we were asked again to get off the bus. A shiesty-looking man in sunglasses and toque told us that we would be taking a different bus but we had to walk to it. We first had to purchase Visa’s which presented another problem when they read the letter from the Kahama District which was supposed to make things easier for us. Apparently special permission is required if you’re volunteering in Tanzania. We promised to visit the immigration office first thing Monday morning and we were able to go on our way.

We walked across the bridge to the Tanzanian side and up a very long hill pulling our luggage behind us. We boarded another older, crowed bus and continued on our way. No too far down the road, our van pulled over. Without needing any explanations, it was apparent that our transmission was gone. After a cell phone call, another bus was dispatched to pick us up and we loaded our luggage on to that one. The rest of the way was very bumpy and dirty as we drove over the broken pavement and dirt roads that ran parallel to the new highway that’s still being constructed. They’ve made slow progress since last year!!!

We arrived at the busy Kahama bus stop 10 hours later. Daudi, a friend of Daniel's (at our house at Xmas) was a welcomed sight as he climbed on the bus to meet us. We looked outside at the chaos and were happy as he ran off to arrange a taxi to transport us to the Resthouse.

After washing the layers of red dust off our bodies, we headed over to the Pineview Lodge for dinner. Joseph, the young man who always looks after us, was very happy to see his ‘mzungu’ friends once again! Dr Subi (who is in Mwanza) managed to track us down and sent the new doctor, Dr Andrew, Emmanuel (the pharmacist) and Jackie over to greet us. After a quick visit it was time to go home to bed.