Two days done and over a thousand kilometres travelled. Daunting as it sounds, it was actually quite pleasant. Doireann, Colin and Monica had gone to Tanzania a week ahead of the rest of the group to make arrangements for our trip. They hired a bus and were waiting for us at the airport on Sunday morning at 7 am. After tea and toast we hit the road. Traffic was busy but not chaotic as we escaped Dar Es Salaam but the roads were surprisingly good. Think of the old Dublin to Ashbourne Road. We headed west towards Iringa, passing through Mikuni National Parks. We were told to expect the odd giraffe and maybe some zebra – (there were plenty) – but much to our delight we also spotted gazelle, wildebeest, baboons, an elephant and Doireann even saw some lions. I, however, couldn’t pick them out.
It was a long day’s travelling up into the mountains near Iringa, but the bus was reasonably comfortable and I was able to snooze along the way. We reached Iringa at about 7 pm, just as the sun was setting. We lodged in a Christian brothers’ secondary school and we each had a room to ourselves with shower and toilets en-suite. Such luxury. Dinner was very pleasant. Rice, chips, peas cooked in coconut milk and some very tough old chicken.
Our second day on the road brought us south to Songea. We arrived after dark and met up with Kirsty (from Camara), Brother Cassian and some nuns. We split into two groups. Ray, Monica, Jan, Anna and Colin headed off to Peramiho to teach more advanced computers in the local hospital. Sean, Breandan, Kevin, Doireann, Kirsty and myself made our way across bumpy back-roads to Hanga Abbey – a Benedictine Abbey with connections to Glenstall Abbey in Limerick. We’ll be giving lessons to the teachers from four local schools starting tomorrow.
The food in Tanzania is excellent. Rice and beans are the staple and they’re very tasty. Chips are also common – which was quite a surprise.
I’m looking forward to teaching tomorrow. I hope I get a good night’s sleep, although there’s a dog outside my window that has barked incessantly since we arrived. I hope it shuts up soon.