A whole moonth of activity and adventure has passed since last I was able to post from Bukoba on the shore of Lake Victoria. We now emerge from radio-silence like the orbiting command module during the Apollo missions in the 1960s. They had no internet then of course, and we had none for the past 4 weeks, thanks to rogue SIM cards, poor networks, slow and dropped connections and large areas without good signal. Actually it has been rather peaceful and I recommend it now and then, but today we are reconnected, having arrived in Dubai on the way back to Britain, and it is good to have news of family and friends.
‘Habari’ is the usual greeting in East Africa – ‘What news?’ – news of the day, of work, of family, whatever, and the initial response is always ‘good’ – ‘nzuri’. The news of the course in Ndolage is good.
We trained another group of 69 nurses, midwives and doctors in two courses over 8 days with a ‘rest day’ sandwiched in the middle during which we retreated to Bukoba by car but failed to gain satisfactory internet access yet again. Ndolage sits atop an escarpment and boasts a good little hospital and an excellent nursing school and we were greatly entertained in the last few evenings by the students of the school celebrating with wonderful songs of joy in the chapel accompanied by drums and whoops and ululations as only Africa can produce. The view of the villages scattered over the extensive plain below the escarpment is spectacular as far as the tea plantations on the distant hills and the edge of Victoria and some of the islands. It was too tempting not to climb down the cliff one evening by the rickety fixed wooden ladders placed to gain access to the generating house below where water diverted from the top of the falls blasts via a large pipe through two turbines which keep the hospital site supplied with power.
All too soon we were saying goodbye to another new group of friends and heading back to Dar for the next leg of the journey to Iringa, Njombe and eventually the village of Milo. And I must say goodbye to you all too because I’m writing this episode in Dubai and my flight has been called so I leave you in suspense while I head off into radio silence once more.
This time on the Airbus but well below the moon…