THE HONEYMOON IS OVER!
Today we left the luxurious Mountain View Resort at Arusha for a short plane ride to Mwanza. We gave up hot showers, comfortable beds, a bar and great food. What were we thinking?? For a moment, some of us may have forgotten the real reason for our visit here – we‘re not on vacation.
Paula and Denny met us at the Mwanza airport and after gathering our bags, we had lunch at an outdoor airport café. Our food choices were fish, chicken or beef (all with LOTS of rice!!). Imagine Lori’s surprise when her lunch (fish) was brought over and it was staring back at her!! Yes, Lori was the lucky one to get the head of the Tilapia fish (eyeballs and all). After plenty of pictures and turning the fish around so it could stare at all of us, she did eat it and said it was quite good.
After lunch, the adventure started. We split up into two vehicles for the 40 minute drive to the Nyakato Health Care Center – our home for the next few days. My group packed into the first vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by “Bishop Francis“(a retired Lutheran bishop). On the way, the rains started and within minutes the rain came down in sheets – outside and also inside the Toyota! Yes, Sally and I were the last ones in so we were in the back and the rain poured in from above the back door. We squeezed over as much as we appropriately could towards Eric and Kevin (sorry guys!) but we still managed to get wet. We called it our Tanzania baptism! The rains continued and so did we – we went by Lake Victoria – largest lake in Africa and second-largest fresh water lake in the world – and probably the home of Lori’s fish.
As we got to the Nyakato Health Care Center, the rains stopped. We headed to the bungalow where we would be staying and Pastor Francis dropped us off and left. Then the rain slowly started again and we found out we were locked out of the bungalow. Then the rain came down in torrents! We clung to the sides of the bungalow walls but the short awnings did little to keep us from getting drenched. A Masai guard came over with one umbrella (one umbrella for seven people does not work well) so he took us to the nearby living quarters of the Masai guards. Their accommodations are small and sparse. They have a shower room where Lori, Kevin, Eric and Keith took refuge from the rain. (There’s that Lori again, first making faces with a fish and now sharing a communal shower with 3 men!)
The rains did stop and we eventually got into the bungalow where we dried off and got settled in our rooms. It would have been nice to have some electricity, but no such luck. In addition to sporadic electricity, we need to get used to NOT flushing the toilet and NOT putting toilet paper in the toilet (it goes in a waste basket). Make sure you appreciate your plumbing systems back there in the states!
We headed over to “The Birthing Center” which is where the operating room is located. We unpacked the surgical supplies we brought along in order to be ready for surgery in the morning. Unfortunately, daylight was burning, and we still had no electricity, so we had to work quickly. What a team we are!! We are now ready for the hernia repairs, circumcisions and anything else that comes along tomorrow. (We’ll have a generator for electricity while we’re doing surgery.)
We feel very safe – we have met some of the Masai guards who provide 24 hour security here on the complex. We are in good hands. Lala salama (sleep well). Tomorrow will be a very big day.
– Kathy F