Knud Henrik's diary 30 May 2006: Mwanza

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Last updated 2007.11.21

There is a distinct difference between Mwanza and the other cities we have passed so far: Here in Mwanza we can walk around without constantly being harassed by people trying to sell all kinds of merchandise or begging. Especially in Arusha the salesmen of the street were really annoying and very hard to get rid off. In Mwanza a minute shake of one's head is usually enough to make them understand that there will be no business here. That makes the whole atmosphere much less tense.

A lot of things has changed in Mwanza since I lived at Missungwi, 45 km out of town. First of all, the town has grown a lot. Secondly, many dirt streets have been paved and a lot of flashy corporate office buildings has replaced some of the less flashy buildings of the past. After having walked the streets for some hours I started to recognise some of the landmarks and now I feel quite at home, though I miss some places, or maybe my mind is cheating me.

Yesterday, Tuesday 29 May, we spent walking around, sniffing the atmosphere, shopping a little and trying to get access to the internet. The latter turned out to be both very easy and impossible. An internet café was found easily. Our aim was just to check email, so we just bought some time and used one of the café's computers (some of you got an email with no Danish characters - !). During the day we prepared diaries and pictures to be uploaded. In the afternoon we then went to another internet café that I considered technically more capable in order to get access using my own laptop. That turned out to be very difficult. After having tried hard for quite some time and having called a technician for help several times we had to give in. We couldn't make their gateway allow us access to cyberspace. This morning we gave it a second chance, decided to make it work. And we actually managed to do so, but not without quite some difficulties and interruptions. Though the technician claimed that the bandwidth was 100 Mbps (on the local network, yes, but definitely not to the internet) it was not possible to upload pictures in full size, only thumb prints. You'll have to wait to see the pictures in detail until we find a connection with a decent bandwidth (back in Denmark?).

The other prime goal was to make some invitations to Theis' confirmation party. That mission is not yet accomplished, but well on it's way.

We had dinner at one of the very best hotels in Mwanza, Hotel Tilapia. That place had grown enormously, but still it offered some very good food, which we enjoyed at the rooftop, overlooking the Lake Victoria. Unfortunately, Mai-Britt's stomach is still causing troubles and the kids didn't have much appetite either (what a waste).

Today the first destination was the fish market. That is, the place where I used to buy fish when living at Missungwi. It used to be an open space on the lake shore a bit northeast of town, where the fishermen hauled up their boats right on the shore, local handlers bought the fish, cleaned it, eventually filleted it, packed it for shipment and sold it on to shipping companies transporting it to destinations all over East Africa. After some driving around we finally found the place which had changed completely. Now, a huge roof spanned the then open area and apparently all the fresh fish had gone elsewhere. Now some small, dried sardine-like fish appeared to be big business. Boats loaded with large bags filled with these small dried fish were coming in from all over the lake area to this terminal and huge trucks were loaded here.

Our driver Japhet has been living in Mwanza for a period of time and his brother in law, Ibrahim (actually, he's the brother to his Japhet's brother in law) is living here now. We went there to have some homemade lunch. The house turned out to be a nice little house build in between the rocks on a very rocky hillock or knoll, called Capri Point, protruding into the lake as a peninsula. The house had a very nice view over a part of the lake and it was an exercise to walk the stairs going up and down and around and more up and down and around all the rock formations. After lunch we had a good walk up to the top of the knoll and we saw quite a number of very fancy houses with some fabulous views.