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MaryWhittaker’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 14 Jul 2012

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

Map4 AM comes very fast when you need to be up at that time. I had all of those typical dreams where I forgot to set the alarm and now I’m running late. Luckily that didn’t happen and we unfortunately woke up to the lovely sound of an alarm clock. We all looked beautiful as we piled into the taxi to take us to the bus stop. We are fortunate enough to have a friend that owns a taxi that was willing to pick us up so early. Wellers piled our 14 heavy suit cases into his taxi van and then we drove down to the bus station, hoping that the bus we had got tickets for was still as big as we thought it would be, and we weren’t going to be put onto a smaller more cramped bus. Luckily we were able to get on the bus, but there was a big commotion about the size of our suitcases that is a big blur now, but in the end we had to pay the ‘owner’ of the bus $33.
The bus was taking us from Kigali, Rwanda to Kahama, Tanzania – meaning halfway through our trip we had to get out and go through the border. The first half of the trip from Kigali to the border was through mountains, making the roads very windey and making me car sick. It was so fun; there was nothing in my stomach so I was just kind of ... .gagging. Great image hey? You’re welcome!
Arriving at the border we had to pile out of the bus and line up to a booth allowing us to leave Rwanda - that took about an hour. Then we had to line up to another booth that allowed us to enter Tanzania – taking up another hour of our day. Luckily for me the roads in Tanzania are relatively straight, but 75% of the roads aren’t really full paved yet, making our trip very bump. The bus was squeaking the whole way to Kahama. I felt like I got a free visit the chiropractor.
We then pulled into the bus station in Kahama and oh my goodness it was the most hectic and confusing thing I have ever experienced. The bus was packed and we had to squeeze our way outside, into a crowd of taxi drivers and people trying to sell us things. We had to rush to the back of the bus to show the bus driver which of the suitcases were ours. We had to stand really close to the suitcases to make sure nobody tried to take any of our things, and to make sure that all our suitcases were off the bus. We needed three taxis to go to our hotel so the taxi drivers started to take away our suitcases to their cars before we had a chance to count them all. I was so overwhelmed I felt the tear in my eyes, so many people taking to us at once. Trying to touch my arms and telling me they loved me, and they were all laughing and talking to me in Swahili so I had no idea what was going on. When we arrived at the hotel we found out that one of our suitcases was missing. This was very upsetting since I had seen both of the suitcases being taken out of the bus. My mom and Brenda took a taxi back to the bus and luckily the bag that was missing had been on the bus... I guess in the confusion it had been put back on. I’m really relieved we have all of our suitcases and I really never want to experience that again. Once is enough.
The hotel we are staying at is called Pine Ridge Hotel and it is a very big upgrade from the hostel we had stayed at for nine days. ‘Tanzanian Time’ is even slower than ‘Rwandan Time’!!! We went up to their restaurant at around 6 pm, ordered food at 7 and the food didn’t show up until 9:30, it made me laugh. I feel like when I go back to work in Canada, and someone complains to me that their food is taking too long, I will just laugh and tell them to be appreciative of ‘Canadian Time’. Next time we order, we will order before we get hungry and then we will go back to our rooms to hangout for two hours or so. Tonight I got to meet Dodie, Dr.Andrew, Dr.Subi, and two teachers we have been connected with to help us with our teacher project that we will be starting on Monday. Sheena, Erin and Brenda went out in the evening to visit an event for one of Brenda’s friends. They said they had a very good time and there was lots of dancing!