I’m in Karagwe through the end of the month where the internet is quite slow (2G. Seriously). I would likely fall asleep waiting on multiple images to upload, so this post is just a bunch of words.
To get to Karagwe I flew from Mwanza to Bukoba – short, 40-minute flight – and then rode 2.5 hours down a very bumpy road. The Bukoba airport has one runway that runs toward Lake Victoria (and almost into it) so when you’re landing you get quite close to the water before touching ground. The runway itself is dirt. Before heading to Karagwe we stopped for lunch across from the airport. I had been warned that Bukoba was known for snacking on grasshopper and within 3 minutes of sitting down to eat a man approached us with some of the treats. I was with a team of folks (4 Americans, 2 Africans) that I had just met so when one brave soul purchased the grasshoppers, I wasn’t about to back down from the challenge to try it. I’m willing to try things here that I wouldn’t dare at home.
Grasshoppers are crunchy.
The ride into town was full of crazy stories and sights. There are ruins from a church that sit atop a hill on the outskirts of Bukoba. The church – and town – was destroyed by Idi Amin. As we drove a bit further a gaggle of monkeys (I have no idea what a group of monkeys is called) ran across the road. As we continued, Brighton (our driver and partner with the NGO) pointed out the Chinese camp. They are building a new road into Karagwe and the Chinese are doing the work. I’m quite fascinated by this and intend to do more research once I have more reliable internet.
We eventually made our way into Karagwe and were greeted by all the folks who have been working on the University being built here. It’s an interesting concept to establish a university in one of the poorest areas of one of the poorest countries. I am incredibly impressed by the vision and people I get to shadow. When folks are passionate about something, it’s inspiring. I never thought I’d be wearing a smile while listening to someone talk about termite mounds. Seriously. I even asked follow up questions.
This next week has a very full schedule, but I should be able to bow out of a few of the meetings (you can only take so many pictures of people sitting around a table). I so wish I knew the language better as I would love to wander around the town a bit on my own. It feels quite safe but should something happen I don’t run very fast with a backpack full of equipment and Chacos on my feet!
I’m most excited about visiting farms in the area. Yesterday included a fascinating discussion about coffee beans and bananas. Did you know that you can make beer with a banana? It’s apparently popular here, but I doubt I’ll try that one!
That’s all for now, friends. I’ll try to get some photos posted soon, but it may be February before I can.