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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Monday, 25 Feb 2013

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

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Monday, February 25,

In the morning, LeAnne and I, and about 11 barrels were picked up at Pineridge by the lorry. We went down to the container and loaded up all of the tools for the woodworking shop in Ilowmelo village and also grabbed everything we wanted to drop at the Busende primary school.

In twelve hours, on roads that looked like goat trails at times we visited 11 schools in 11 remote villages and handed out soccer and netball uniforms (26 sets) and soccer balls. The uniforms were donated by Laura Carlton from Ironman Canada so THANK YOU. The kids were over-the-moon excited!!!!

Much of the time we were riding in the back of a lorry. It was like we were in a parade; riding through village after village or past people pushing bikes with vegetable-filled sacks ties on, heading to the market. Everyone would stop, take a double-look at us, and then wave excitedly with a big smile on their face. Little kids would run towards the truck yelling “mzungu!” We did the queen-wave all day long except when we were being tossed around the back of the truck while our driving was trying to navigate the never-ending ruts and large rocks in the road.

At every school we went to we were met by yelling, waving children. Thanks to cell phones, most of the time the kids knew we were coming. We would be asked to sign the guest book and then we would make our presentation. Sometimes when the roads were in such bad shape and we were unable to drive in to the school, we would honk and the kids would come racing out to the road. The guest books would be brought out there, we would sign it and do our presentation there.

At some schools the kids went crazy, yelling and waving and a teacher would come by brandishing a big stick at them. At others, the kids were very disciplined and would be standing in rows, singing or drumming. We found out that a good soccer ball is about $50 USD here in TZ which is about the same as a lot of people make in a month. That would explain the mass hysteria and why many schools don’t even have one soccer ball!!!

Our last stop of the day was Ilomelo where we were handing out tools and a generator to a wood-working group that I know in another remote village. They did some awesome traditional singing and dancing for us and served us a meal. The whole village gathered around to watch us eat!!!!! (That was weird.) I only made a couple of kids cry this time. The only other time they ever saw a "mzungu" was the last time I visited. Actually most of the kids we met today had never met one.

We decided that it would be best to sit in the front for the long journey home. Especially after the men we were with started hurrying us along when we were eating, telling us that there was a problem with bandits on that road at night. It took us 2 ½ hours of night-driving on bumpy roads to get back to Kahama. Every once in a while, after we would go over an especially big bump, we would think about the two guys in the back of the lorry and be glad it wasn’t us!!!!