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Day 10: Bukoba

Our last day in Bukoba. We have somehow managed to convince them to fly us to Mwanza today. Too tired the night before to even think about a hotel, I get up and call the hotel I had heard about from the guide. It’s 8:00am and we leave at 11:00 and miracle of miracles, there are exactly 5 rooms left. Later I find out that the hotel stays booked 100 percent of the time.

Stuart meets me while I'm eating breakfast with 98 beautiful handmade necklaces. I am taking them back to the US to sell to fund some more Global Business Partners. He tells me that he was orphaned as a child, so he now teaches orphans and widows how to make jewelry so they will be able to take care of themselves. I am struck once again with the generosity of the individuals and their loyalty to their people. He is so happy that perhaps he has found a partner that will sell his necklaces in the US, we exchange contact information. The day before, a young man who taught at the Hakima School had come to visit Denise to learn from her how to start a counseling program at the school. They went online and she helped him look at Masters programs and agreed to mentor him through the process. He was 32 and had spent 10 years working with NGOs in an effort to help his people.

Our friends from WGC and BUWEA take us to the airport, a small building with one red dirt strip. A lot of hugs are exchanged, hopeful requests for us to come again as soon as possible. It’s taken me a lifetime to get here so I can't imagine returning soon. They leave and we get checked in. I go out to the patio and see all of our luggage in a big pile in the red dirt waiting for the plane. A beautiful young woman comes out to talk to me while we wait. She goes to the seminary school in Bukoba, but is on her way to Dar es Salaam to attend a two-week peacekeeping seminar. She wants me to have her contact information and wants to join BUWEA in Bukoba, I will connect them.

The flight to Mwanza is uneventful and we go straight to the Hotel Tilapia. It’s the nicest hotel we have stayed in since we arrived in Africa, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Nice towels, hot water and a hair dryer (although getting a brush through my hair is a whole other matter)! When Joanna and I arrive at our rooms, they are on a boat on the water that is called The African Queen. It looks just like the one in the movie but bigger. I'm in The Humphrey Bogart room, though I think I should be in the Katherine Hepburn room! It is on the top of the boat so I have to climb two ladders to get to my room. I feel like a kid going to my tree house. It has a beautiful view of the water as does the entire hotel. We enjoy the pool and bar area. As the evening goes on, more and more expats show up. There are a number of gold mines nearby, so many work with the mines and many young women are working with local NGOs. It’s definitely an interesting mix of people. We eat dinner out on the water on a covered dock with only two people, enjoy some South African wine and call it a night.

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