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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 25 Sep 2011

Location: Arusha, Tanzania

MapSunday, September 25th, 2011

This morning our taxi arrived at 5am (1/2 hour early) so there was a bit of a scramble to get our stuff together. The Kahama bus stop is always a busy place at this time of the day as all of the buses leave around the same time. We managed to find the right bus, checked to see that our boxes were underneath and then climbed on for what we thought would be an 8-10 hour bus ride.

Our bus travelled slowly and we soon found out that the driver was new and also did not know the road. About 1 ½ hours into the journey, we pulled over to fix a flat tire which took an hour. During the trip we pulled over at many of the small towns but only once was it long enough to use the toilet. I wasn’t too worried; my plan was to drink very little so I would last through the trip.

After we turned on to the road that cuts over from west to east, the pavement ended. We drove what seemed like forever beside the new road which was in various stages of construction. It was a VERY rough road and the dust poured into every crack of the bus.

Karen was starting to feel that same symptoms that I had last week and now we were worried about when we would be near a bathroom. I finally had to ask them to stop and she had to go out and use a bush.

At 3 pm we asked how much longer it would be and were told that it would be another 2-3 hours. We were a little discouraged but were hoping we would get there before dark.
Three hours later when it was time to turn the lights on, the driver discovered that they weren’t working. Driving in the dark was nerve-wracking and he eventually had to pull over. We lurched to a stop and found out the lurching was because we were also out of gas.

The passengers piled out of the bus to the side of the road and we texted our friend James for the 10th time to give him an update. He had been waiting for us in Arusha since 2pm.

After some time, a small bus came and all but two of the passengers got on. We didn’t want to leave our books so were staying with the bus. Eventually a motorbike arrived with a jerry can of diesel and after one of the crew fiddled with some wires, we were on our way.

The lights were so dim and I’m pretty sure not too many people here are used to driving at night, so we were only travelling at about 50-60 km/hr. Also, our driver did not know the road. Every time an on-coming car would approach us, he would pull over and almost stop because he couldn’t see. We eventually ended up in Arusha after 9:00pm. We met up with James, who had been waiting there with two of his helpers for seven hours. He went to make arrangements for another bus to transport us the rest of the way to Moshi. After reloading we were on the last leg of our long journey, arriving at Ibrah’s at 11:30 pm. We had only had a sandwich and cookies, etc on the bus so were very happy to be served a wonderful meal when we arrived. Thanks Ibrah!!!! Karen still wasn’t feeling well but managed to eat a bit.

Will write more about here later……..we have a big day at the school tomorrow!!!