Thursday, 31 January 2019

Riding with volunteers in Tanzania

For the past year, I have lived in Kibondo in Western Tanzania, where I worked closely with the Tanzanian Red Cross. I'm describing one of many days working with the Red Cross volunteers in one of the three refugee camps, Nduta refugee camp, which is home to nearly 100,000 people...  

I wake up to crows making loud caws and take a look at the time. It's 7am already and the day awaits.
I get ready and off we go to Nduta camp, the camp is about 36.2 sq km
There are close to 300,000 refugees in the three camps in Tanzania. Although there is no conflict, the country has become a safe haven for people from nearby countries ridden with different forms of conflict.

Bumping and jostling in the car with every movement, the dust is all I see ahead of me as there is no tarmac. We arrive at Nduta just in time to catch the morning meeting. Right after the meeting, on cue, bicycles are rolled out. This is the daily routine. The volunteers ride the rocky paths of the camps to deliver family news to their fellow refugees. For some refugees, this is the only way to get any assurance of their family member's well being. They cherish these moments. Sitting at different call centres where we provide free phone calls to the refugees, I smile all the time till my face hurts. I see the way their faces light up when they hear a loved one's voice and it warms my heart.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

How easy is it to travel around Africa?

I've noticed how a good number of African travellers seem to prefer travelling to other continents. For some time I did the same, especially because it was the easy way out. But as I've started travelling more around Africa, I have discovered that there is so much beauty to discover. 
Unfortunately, there are factors that stand in the way. I'll share my top four below.

1) Flight connections - getting from point A to B around Africa is a major challenge especially where the countries you are trying to visit do not have airlines that fly directly from the originating country. The flight connections between countries are quite challenging. A trip that should take a few hours can take an entire day in comparison to flying to any country in Europe. For instance, if I were to fly from Abuja to London or to Paris, I would be there in 6 hours. If I were to fly from Abuja to Tanzania, I could spend the whole day. I would have to fly to Addis Ababa, spend a few hours there before I get to Dar es Salaam. Not to talk of the ungodly hour that the flight arrives in Dar.
Around West Africa, connections are even more tricky. To get to Dakar from Abuja, Asky airlines is one option. It would take 7 hours or longer to get there as there is a stop over in Lomé, Togo. Another option would be to use Ethiopian airlines, so I would leave West Africa to the horn of Africa, then return to the West and this could take anything from 18 hours or more. How ridiculous is that?

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Faith restored II

I wrote this post sometime in 2017 and somehow a few things have happened that have made me to write a follow up post.

We went by car from a town called Kibondo in Tanzania to Kigali, Rwanda. The driver in question had never been to Kigali so was not sure how to get there. The trip up to the Rwandan border was fine. The driver happens to be a restless man. He seems unable to allow things happen or allow people do things for him. He always wants to be in control. When we got to the border, he needed to do some paper work to be able to drive in Rwanda with a Tanzanian licence plate. He gave an agent the papers to process but just would not wait or let the agent do his work.
He ventured out on his own to get it done. In the end, he paid twice and wasted time going all over the place when we could have been on our way.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Mafia Island Tanzania

Does the name of the island bring anything to mind? My best friend could not stop laughing and kept teasing me about it.

According to Google, Mafia Island is part of Tanzania's Mafia Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean. Large swaths of the island's southern coastline and surrounding waters are protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Mushroom sauce

I went to the market and there were mushrooms everywhere so I got some. I was chatting with a friend and she asked for the recipe I would use. 
I told her that I would have to form one especially as I did not have fresh cream to make a usual mushroom sauce. She doesn't like cream anyway and was keen to know the outcome.

Cooking time: 1 hour