Daily Archives: September 3, 2014

Life In A Northern Town

T + 12

We live in a Northern town in Tanzania – and  this post is all about living in Mwanza.

Although we are a little sheltered by the bubble of living in a compound and working in a school, life is very different here as you might expect.

These are the main differences so far

  • Power

Power cuts are a regular occurrence here – though generally short lived we have had one most days in the past week. This is apparently due to a variety of reasons – people stealing cable, decisions to divert electricity without warning e.g. to cut a hedge, transformers blowing up etc. Today – thus far we have has no power cuts – hooray!

  • Roads

The roads here are mostly dust and dirt and stones – the main road is tarmac, but the side roads most definitely are not. The road outside our compound is undulating to say the least. Even the main road runs out of tarmac before we get to Isamilo Lodge Hotel – it seems that when the money runs out so does the tarmac.  Pot holes in the UK have nothing on the ones here

  • Litter

Rubbish is everywhere even in beauty spots like Dancing Rocks. There is a lot of plastic and vegetable matter. This is most apparent outside the centre of town and in the grassy areas. I guess it  is just a fact of  life here.

  • Food

Food is a lot cheaper in general for most things – there is a supermarket (U-turn) where you can pick up most things although this is a lot more expensive. There is a good bakery in town and apparently a good butcher too (though we have yet to go). There is tons of fruit and we have eaten lots of vegetarian food and some meat. Our houseworkers do the shopping as they get much better prices than we do – though I think we need to expand our diet a little.

Eating out is a lot cheaper – even for a family of 4 at the best hotel in town it is less than £40.

  • Drink

Don’t drink the water! It is not advisable to drink the tap water – though we clean our teeth in it. Water needs to be boiled, cooled and filtered. You can buy bottled water with the seal in tact and of course there is beer and soft drinks too 🙂

We have just started getting milk from the milk man (two young girls) who come in the evening with a litre or two from their cow. This too must be boiled, cooled, skimmed and filtered. This task is undertaken by the house girls.

  • Pace

The pace of  life here is a lot slower than the UK – you can sit in a restaurant for at least an hour before getting your meal. You can request a repair to be done and it will take days to be sorted. There are things in the house that were requested a week ago which have yet to be  sorted.  Things get done but in their own time.

  • Bugs

We are being bitten a lot – although we continue to take Doxycycline for Malaria,use repellent and sleep under a mosquito net it doesn’t completely stop the beasties from biting. It’s something to factor in.


  • Daylight

The sun rises rapidly just before 7am and sets rapidly just before 7pm – it is a constant here. You don’t walk out at night and we have had lifts or taken a taxi where appropriate. Getting up in the dark is a bit of a chore (like winter in the UK). School starts at 7:55 but we need to be on site by 7:40 and I  generally leave about 7:20 – not a dissimilar time to when in the UK (though it’s a 10 minute walk these days rather than a 50 min drive)


There was a song in the 80s of this title – which no doubt referred to the North of England.