Tag Archives: Village

A Bird a Day in June: Day 14 -Spectacled Weaver

Day 14 of a series illustrating some of the fantastic birds we see here on Lake Victoria and across Tanzania. Many of these are seen in our garden like this regular visitor.

Spectacled Weaver

Other Weavers

Catch up on  other days


Fishing Village

IMG_2749The village of Kigombe just down the beach at Peponi is reputed to be the oldest in Tanzania. Regardless of that claim there certainly was a large fillet of ships in the bay and each evening just before sunset  a number of villagers  would make their way down to the beach. Laden end with buckets and other containers carrying lamps or ropes they would wade out into the shallow waters heading for their boats.

They would then spent the night on the waters of the Indian Ocean their lamp lit boats strung like pearls across the horizon. IMG_2306

The following morning they return fish ready to sell or take home for food.


Ten years ago I visited a different Fishing Village on the other side of Africa in The Gambia

Village Visit: A Day in Nkome

After the journey out the day before. I woke up, having had an excellent sleep and was offered water for a shower.  Definite reminders of life in Malawi, having a cup-shower in an outdoor bathroom.  The water was hot and afterwards I felt refreshed and ready for the new day.

I walked round to find out what was happening in the family and found 2 of the daughters preparing breakfast – chapatti + beans.  A meal I would usually associate with evening time!

One of the daughters started to bath her niece in a bowl (and reminded me of when I used to bath Bex like that when we were away, at a similar age).  I helped too – baby Jane is a real cutie.



After breakfast, one of the sons, Majid, who is a secondary school teacher, took us all around the local area.  It was really interesting to see all the different crops growing, including chilli which made me think of my sister + brother-in-law’s chilli sauce business “Chilli Bugs“.

Part of the walk took us through a fishing area and then to the main centre of Nkome

We ended up quite a distance from home, so we took 2 pikipiki’s (motorbike) back to Onyango + Jane’s house)….
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…in time for lunch (at 3pm).  This time we had a lovely meal of chicken, goat, rice, ugali, greens and also some mango.

The building which will provide the office and centre for the project that Joel is working on.  It’s only recently been finished, but needed a bit of the painting touching up which Joel attended to, whilst I chatted to other members of the family.

Nkome, is situated by the lake and so many people earn money through the fishing trade.  Jane, took us out to the nearby lake shore, and we met people drying fish and fishing nets.  Later, after we had all gone to bed, Jane, went out in the middle of the night, when the fishermen return to the shore with their catch of dagaa (small fish), to buy some that she will later sell at the market.  She returned to the house at 2am.  She told us that most of the time she breaks even and it’s a bonus when she makes a profit!  However, she takes the view that she has to try to help provide for the family.

After we returned from the lake shore, we were offered masala tea which is spicy, sweet and refreshing.  However, as the sun was also close to setting, Joel and I walked to the lake shore (only about a minute’s walk away), together with our cup of tea, which caused great hilarity by the locals! – to try to get a good sunset photo!

Dinner was chicken, plantain, ugali, greens and also some pineapple.  Again delicious.  We then chatted together before turning in early as we had to leave the house at 4:30 am to catch the 5am bus to return to the ferry port.  It was going to be an early start and in the dark as sun rise is at 6:30!

Village Visit: Into the Unknown

Ever since I lived in Malawi (in the early 90’s), I have longed to return to an African village. One of the expats I have got to know is Joel, from the USA, who also goes to language school ( although a different class to mine). He has been involved in a project in Nkome, a rural community a few hours away from Mwanza. The project aims to support orphans in the community, who are taken in by the extended family, however, this results in a considerable financial burden, on an already tight budget. School, is not free. So, for example, if a family has 3 children and then gains 2 from the death of the parents of a relative, they will take them in, but if they can only afford school fees for 3 children, then the additional children won’t go to school, but will help the family by working out in the family farm. The project aims to provide these families with the funds to enable all of the children to get an education.

I was thrilled to be invited to visit Nkome with Joel. So, on Thursday, I met him in Mwanza by the ferry port, intending to catch the 12:15 ferry across to Kamanga. He’d already purchased our bus tickets so we put our bags on the bus, that we would take from Kamanga and then walked to the ferry’s ticket office, as you have to buy a ticket and walk onto the ferry. The ferry arrived about 12:30 and we boarded it, together with buses, lorries and cars.

This ferry company requires everyone to hear a safety briefing (in Swahili) and this also gives “machinga” (street sellers) the chance to sell things to the passengers.

Once the briefing was over, Joel and I decided to board our bus, to escape the free-for-all of everyone trying to board the bus on the other side. However, the question was how to reach it! The vehicles are parked with very little space between them, so we chose the best route next to the left-side of the bus before our bus and the ferry side. However, the gap between these got steadily narrower as we made our way towards the front of the bus. Me being not quite as thin as I might like, made it most of the way, but realised that wishful thinking was not enough to get me all the way! So, when I reached the door, I boarded the bus and then asked the driver if I could go out via the driver’s door, on the other side, which provided a solution. Having negotiated getting down from this bus, I then was able to get to our bus, passing 3 people and made it to the steps of our bus – phew!!

After the 30 min crossing, we began the 4hr journey to Nkome. There were a number of stops on the route, and although the bus seats 62, there were over 100 on the bus. At each stop more people alighted, including a young woman and her small child. This little boy was probably 2 years old,
but obviously wouldn’t be able to stand for the whole journey, and the mother asked me to help her, so I picked him up and sat him on my lap. After a short while he fell asleep, and stayed that way for most of the way. I was pleased I could help her in a small way.

We arrived at Nkome and walked the short 30 min walk to the home of our hosts, Onyango & Jane. It was nice to stretch our legs. En-route, I was really surprised, to see a pine forest – really didn’t expect that in Africa!!!! Upon arrival we were welcomed and offered tea – hot, sweet, black, spicy and delicious.

Joel has a tent which he keeps at the family home, so I helped him put it up. I was given a room to sleep in, complete with bed & mosquito net. The loo (a pit latrine) was obviously outside and I was really impressed with how immaculately clean it was. There was a bucket of water and jug to act as a flush. There was even a toilet brush!

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The project’s office building has only recently been completed and is located nearby Onyango & Jane’s house. A meeting had been arranged for the project, to which I was invited, to discuss the formal opening ceremony of the office.

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Afterwards, we were offered a lovely meal of rice, beans, and greens. Although there is no electricity in Nkome, the family have a couple of solar lights in the house, which gave good light inside. After the meal, we played some cards. I taught Onyango how to play a simple game, I’ve known as “Strip Jack Naked”. He thought it was hilarious, and we all laughed.

It’s amazing how the lack of electric light makes you want to go to bed earlier, and I was more than ready to go to bed by 10 pm, and soon fell asleep, wondering what the next day would hold…..

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