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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 09 Feb 2013

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapOur One Person Project team is just finishing up our third day here in Africa so I thought I better take some time to start a blog. This yearís team consists of Pene Berthelsen RN from Summerland, Anna Toon RN, Dr Glen Burgoyne and Twyla Burgoyne RN, from Penticton, LeAnne Davies RN from Ashcroft and Nancy Comeau, a psychologist from Penticton.
Glen and Twyla have been volunteering for the past week in an orphanage in Moshi, which is a very-long-bumpy-bus-ride west of here. Theyíll be joining us here in Kahama tomorrow.
The other five of us flew into Kigali on Wednesday. Anna, LeAnne, Nancy and Pene have never been to Africa/Rwanda so wanted to see all they could in the short time we had there. We managed to visit the national Genocide memorial, two churches (which are also genocide memorial sites), my favorite market, we had a meal at Milles Collines (the hotel from the movie Hotel Rwanda) had a visit with Franklinís family out in Nyamata and had a few memorable motorbike rides and taxi experiences. The girls even got to have their first ride on the back of a bicycle out in one of the villages.
Today we caught the bus from Kigali to Kahama. We were supposed to be at the bus stop at 4:30 am and had a ride arranged in my friendís large van. We were eagerly waiting for him at 4:20am and then were panicking by 5 since the bus left at 5:30. When Wellars finally pulled up, he was driving a small SUV, not his van!! We didnít have a lot of time to get to the bus so decided to do the impossible. Cram 11 suitcases, a large sack of scrubs, 5 back packs and 5 women into and on top of the vehicle. As we were driving, one of the girls asked if Wellars had tied the four suitcases on the roof well enough. I hadnít actually seen him tie anything during our frantic loading of the vehicle and just as I was reassuring everyone that I was sure he would have, I saw a suitcase fly by my window and crash to the ground. Wellars jumped out, grabbed it and threw it back on top. We managed to make it all the way to the bus stop with four unsecured suitcases balanced on top of the vehicle.
The bus ride was great; a far cry from some of the other trips weíve made. We all had a laugh when Anna was trying to get something from one of her bags in the compartment above our heads and accidentally dislodged a bucket which then landed on the head of one of the other passengers. We were glad it was empty! Seconds later she lost her balance and landed on another passengerís lap.
Last year when we were here, Kahama was dusty, dry and everything was brown. This year, the drive here was so beautiful. Itís now the rainy season and everything is green, the rice patties are growing and the animals are plump and healthy looking. The only bad thing about the rainy season is the malaria-carrying mosquitoes it brings. Itís great to be travelling with all of this medical personnel, no worries if you get sick!!
Since itís Sunday tomorrow, we have some time to do a few errands like change some money and get our internet and phones working. Everyoneís anxious to get over to the hospital and check things out but thatíll have to wait until Monday!!!