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Day 8: Bukoba

July 8, 2009

I'm not quite sure who won the battle last night, me or the mosquito net, but at the end of it, I felt like The English Patient, trapped in gauze, unable to sleep an hour with the sounds of scooters all night, Michael Jackson’s funeral on the big TV out on the patio which started here at 11 and was yet one more example of the haves and have-nots, how we reward pedophiles and drug addicts for a little bit of glitz. OK, Ms. Grumpy, at least this was the first day with a hot shower since the first day in Zanzibar before the electricity left the island. 

The little girls at the restaurant were fascinated with my sadly now-fading henna vines last night. Unlike Zanzibar, which is 90 percent Muslim, Bukoba is not, so they loved the French nails and red henna flowers in a 12-inch space, another anomaly. 

This morning the entire van of people made it to our third village. We were once again greeted with hugs, music, dancing and singing. They told us about their businesses, had a tea party for us and we bought their goods. Different Global Partners met with hugs and smiles. Through translators we exchanged our thanks and good wishes and asked about their needs. The biggest need is water. Most of these women go back and forth to the creek a few times a day, carrying large jugs on their heads, which creates back and neck issues. We have someone with us from UT studying what to do and we have been asking them what would help. I hope to learn a little more about solutions when I get back. 

This afternoon we drove out to The Hakima School, a girls’ secondary school run by nuns. It has 480 girls ages 16 through 20 and our partner, Women’s Global Connection, has been working with them for three years. As the van pulled in they began singing, "Welcome, welcome", hugging us all while they were singing. They then put on a native dance performance for us and a few of our women began dancing with the girls and nuns. Such a funny and fun sight. We then went in to the school for the presentation and the workshop. I had asked if I could teach a class on dream boards, so 20 girls were selected to attend. We brought magazines, scissors and glue and talked about dreaming and thinking big. They cut and pasted and we went around the room prompting them to think what they might want in their lives. Then when we were through, they each came up and talked about their dreams. It was very moving; they wanted much of what I wanted at the same age. At the end, they each got a workshop certificate. 

On the way out, we stopped at the school clinic and had Claire checked on, she has felt flu-like for a couple of days. Turns out it was malaria, so much for anti-malaria meds. They gave her pills and she should be fine for safari. Thank God there was a clinic there. I'm appreciating my mosquito tent more...

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