Bridge2aid

Tanzania - November 2019

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday 17 November 2019

 

Welcome to all readers, whether you are new to this blog or have read it in previous years. As always, please do let me know where you are reading this blog and let me have feedback on the content.

I dropped off Liz at the airport, where some of the team had already at Costa Coffee in Terminal 2 (see photo). Liz had been sent various items of dental equipment that she shared out so that each of them could take something out in their luggage. In the end they all made it to the airport, despite the M4 being completely closed for a bridge demolition between J6 and J8, which was far from ideal.

It will be a long journey for them this time. Last year they flew out via Nairobi, where they changed planes to Kilimanjaro Airport but, unfortunately, their luggage did not make it onto the second plane and only joined them a very fraught few hours. This time, Bridge2Aid have booked them out to Mwanza via Addis Ababa and Dar-es-Salaam but this means that the whole journey will take exactly 22 hours of travelling time from Heathrow to Mwanza, including a seven hour stopover in Dar airport. Having been there, I can think of many many places that I would rather spend seven hours as, even in the terminal, it is quite humid! There are earlier flights but this would have given them a very small window at Dar airport and, this being Africa, it really is not a good idea to bet on the plane from Addis to Dar being on time.

The Ethiopian Airlines flight from Heathrow took off at 20:44, a few minutes late, but this is of no real concern as they have a 2 hr 45 mins stopover in Addis Ababa!

I was about to post that I had heard from a reader in Lanzarote, when an incoming email arrived from a friend who is on holiday in Vietnam and had just been reading this blog.

 

 

Monday 18 November 2019

 

 

They landed at Addis Ababa airport at 07:13 local time (04:13 in the UK) which was exactly the time that I set off to take our son, Adam, to Luton airport as he was flying back to Ukraine at 06:40. I wonder if they are feeling the altitude as Addis is some 7,726 ft (2,355 m) above sea level, which is 1,000 m higher than Ben Nevis.

Back to bed now for me!

They took off from Addis about 25 minutes late and have now arrived in Dar, just as Adam was landing in Kiev. Any delay will just eat into that long stopover and so I am sure that they are quite pleased about that. I have just spoken with Liz who said that she did not get a lot of sleep on either flight. She had just bought a Tanzanian SIM for an old 'phone she has taken with her in addition to her UK 'phone. They were in a brand-new international terminal and are going to wait as long as they can before going through to the old (now domestic) terminal. They probably would never have had enough time to change to the earlier domestic flight.

 

 

Above is a map of East Africa to give you some idea of where they have been. This evening they flew up to Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria, which is where the charity has its Tanzanian base. From there they will have a five hour drive by mini-bus to the village where they will be based, of which more later.

The plane took off 4 minutes early and the flight up to Mwanza was only 1 hr 30 mins. It's a shame that it was dark as the view of Mount Kilimanjaro on the right can be quite dramatic. In fact it landed at 20:41 (UK 17:41) and they will spend the night in the Midland Hotel in Mwanza (shown on the right above). I'm sure that, after a whole day of travel, they will sleep well in a proper bed tonight! Liz 'phoned from the hotel to say that it is quite luxurious. They were about to have a very late dinner (it was 22:00 there) with the staff of the Tanzanian charity, Education and Health for All (EH4ALL), who now run the Tanzanian end of the Bridge2Aid operation.

Tomorrow they will have to get up at 06:30 to set off early on the 5-6 hour journey to the village where they will be based for the next ten days (more in tomorrow's update).

 

Tuesday 19 November 2019

 

What often goes unreported is the amount of work that goes on locally before the team arrives in Tanzania. Staff from EH4ALL (see above) research which villages would benefit most from a visit from the team and which clinical officers in that area need to be trained. They will make arrangements with the local clinic and put up notices in the all of the surrounding villages, announcing that the team is coming. The primary aim is not just to treat patients but to train the clinical officers but, as I am sure you will read later in this blog, they DO treat some patients who are in awful pain.

A few days ago the EH4ALL team went to the clinic to set up some equipment and on the right you can see them engaged in this preparation.

Readers of this blog from previous years will recall that, once in Mwanza, the team usually splits and goes off to two separate villages. This year there is only one team, comprising seven dentists and four nurses.

Today the team will drive from Mwanza to the town of Shirati. As you can see on the map below, Shirati is in the far North-East of Tanzania, only about 10 miles from the border with Kenya. En route they will pass the motel where Liz was based during her first in 2008 and also the side road to Musoma where they were based in 2013. As you can see, they will also pass the entrance to the Serengeti National Park, famous for its wildlife migrations.

In Shirati they will be staying in the Owan Hotel (see photo below). It looks to be a reasonable hotel, in the centre of town but the main criteria, from previous trips, are:

  • How long does the food take to come, once ordered?

  • Are there holes in the mosquito net?

  • Are the toilets 'sit' or 'squat' ?

  • How close are they to the local mosque, if they are in a Muslim area?

By the way, sorry to disappoint, but I don't think that the zebras in the photo are real !

 

 

 

                                                     

 

When they get to Shirati, they will have an 'orientation' session, setting out the 'rules' for how they will go about running the clinic. In addition, they are always given an update on the work of Bridge2Aid and, as I have the slides, here are a few facts from that talk:

  • The charity has, to date, arranged 101 such training programmes, involving 966 volunteer dentists and nurses

  • Since inception, the charity has trained 586 clinical officers with a 92% pass rate

  • 57,000 people have been treated on the programmes but, more importantly...

  • ... 5.8 million people now have access to emergency dental care

In addition, some of the facts about dental care in Tanzania are sobering:

  • Nearly 61 million people

  • 64 years life expectancy

  • 1 Dentist per approx. 500,000 people

  • HIV 4.5% in adults

  • Average wage in rural Tanzania - USD 1 per day

  • All Regional Dental Officers have reported that they are aware of people in their regions dying from dental sepsis

 

I received two text messages with photos from their journey (see below). This is the team at Stop Over Lodge, near the gates to the Serengeti. Liz reported seeing zebras and wildebeest from the minibus. One of the team sent me a picture of this rather elegant insect, which I think I have identified as a milkweed grasshopper, although I am uncertain as to which sub species.

 

                             

 

Liz 'phoned, just before dinner, to say that they had finished their orientation and had met the Regional Dental Officer who will be briefing the clinical officers tomorrow morning. He is actually from Musoma (see map) as the Shirati district does not currently have anyone in post. Liz was in the dark as they were in the middle of a 'brown-out'.

En route they had seen two separate ladies carrying Singer sewing machines on their heads, African-style. they also passed a man on a moped carrying a coffin on the back which they hoped was empty!

 

Wednesday 20 November 2019

 

Image result for shirati kmt hospitalA first today, as far as Liz is concerned. The first clinic is actually in Shirati itself and so they are able to WALK there from the hotel, although it may be safer to take a short ride in teh minibus This will come as a very welcome change from the usual bone-shaking hour or so of driving along murram roads. The clinic is actually based in Shairati hospital (see photo left) which even looks as if it has running water and electricity - again quite a change from normal B2A trips. The hospital even has its own website see http://www.shiratihospital.org/index.php/en/. f anyone would care to research what 'KMT' stands for then their Googling powers are better than my own!

Shirati is in that part of East Africa that was 'owned' by Germany until 1919 and a fort was built there, together with a gravel road down to the shore of Lake Victoria, where the Germans built a pier.

I see that, on their way from the hotel to the hospital, the team will pass the Raura Best Look hardware store, which sounds just like something out of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, a series in which I am currently reading the nineteenth book.

Liz reported yesterday that they had encountered a few 'challenges' at the hotel. Have a look (below )at the way that this light switch has actually been screwed onto the wall. Only in Africa !

 

 

Some people have been asking me why Liz has gone out n November this year, rather than the February. The answer is that she celebrated a milestone (millstone?) birthday in April and we went to South America in February to celebrate. As you can see from the previous blogs, listed on the opening page, this is not the first time that she has gone out in November. The charity sends out several teams each year and, as they are very near to the Equator (Shirati is only 10 South of the line) the weather is fairly constant throughout the year. Liz reported a downpour yesterday in the morning but, as always in the tropics, by late afternoon you would never know that it had happened.

Well, I am delighted to report that one of my readers (well done, Neil!) took up the gauntlet and has identified what I had surmised, namely that 'KMT' stands for Kanisa La Mennonite Tanzania or The Mennonite Church of Tanzania, the Mennonites having been the earliest European settlers in this area.

 

 

 
 

Liz 'phoned after they had had their evening meal. Apparently the food was much better than their first meal yesterday had led them to fear. Andrew, the dentist in charge (Liz is his assistant) was delighted that they served up that great Tanzanian staple, chipsi mayai (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipsi_mayai). She gets the distinct impression that the hotel has never had so many guests at one time. They had no hot water yesterday but it seemed to be back on today. Liz said that it really doesn't matter that the aircon has gone off as all it seemed o be doing was re-distributing the hot air! The bulb in her room blew and the manager had to send someone out to the shops to buy a new one.

Some of the more energetic were up at 06:45, doing weight-training and running. I wonder how long that will last! They took the minibus to the clinic and Liz and Andrew were presented to a room full of 60 doctors. They started a bit later as the Clinical Officers had a briefing session. One of them is based at the clinic where they will move to next week. He had been up all night with a difficult birth until 08:00 and had then come 40 minutes to Shirati. After all day at the dental clinic he will be on call again tonight.

There were crowds waiting for them to open the clinic and they saw 105 patients today and only finished at 18:30 - a VERY long day. One of the patients was a 44 year-old man whose teeth had started to get loose about 2 years ago. he had not done anything about it and came along today to see what could be done for him. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was that he has a tumour in his sinus. All they could do was to send him back to his village with a very poor prognosis. Poor guy! Andrew did send me a photo of the guy's mouth but, as I don't know if you will be eating when you read this, I have decided NOT to paste it into the blog!

They also had a man who had been involved in a vehicle accident yesterday and had broken several teeth. They were able to sort him out, including sewing up his tongue.

The room they have been given has one light bulb and no running water (remember this is in the hospital) but, as you can see on the left, is very clean and light.

Liz has been training Christina, whose own clinic is about 80 km away but she is staying locally. She has two children 1 and 4 and Liz thinks the younger one may have come with her for the period of the training.

 

 

 

No wildlife to report as their journey to the clinic is through the town. I did receive, however, this photo of a bipedal goat!

As far as the weather is concerned, it is very humid but, so far, there has been a downpour in the afternoon, which has cleared the air. I told her that it looks like staying that way all the time they are there.

 

Thursday 21 November 2019

 

A postscript to the story of the man with the tumour from yesterday who apparently arrived at the clinic at about 18:30, just as the team were packing up. The team leader, Andrew, who is an oral surgeon, said that, had the guy turned up at his clinic in Scotland, there would have been nothing he could have done for him. The problem was that it had been left for two years as he was not actually in any pain. All of the clinical officers were urged to examine the patient,. so that they would know what to look out for in their own clinics.

Now that they are out there and the clinic is up-and-running, I thought this would be a good time to say THANK YOU, from Liz and myself, to everyone who comes along to the Quiz Challenge evening every October. Hopefully, as you read this blog, you will see that the money that you pay for the evening has a direct impact on the lives of the people in rural Tanzania.

 

They decided to walk the 1 km to the clinic this morning and below you can see a picture of them on the murram road out of town. The walk is past a bed shop, where men were welding an iron bedstead. They wondered whether it would actually fit into some of the huts. They have also found some material shops - oh dear, more African bedding for our house! They saw 104 patients today, including a few relatives of the staff of the hospital, who have no more access to a dentist than some of the people from the furthest villages. The Regional Dental Officer had, since yesterday, organised some sort of palliative care for the poor guy with the tumour. The RDO first trained to be a teacher just so that he could earn some money to pay for his dental training.

One of the team, Angela, is a Kiswahili speaker and so she has been giving tutorials to the Clinical Officers which went down really well as she was actually speaking their language. Liz (featured below treating a patient - note the caving torch!) will be in charge tomorrow, which she is not looking forward to. Noel, the CO from the next clinic, was back again this morning after only 4 hours sleep as he had been delivering another baby.

 

                             

 

Friday 22 November 2019

 

Well, the BIG news today is that Noel did NOT have to deliver any babies last night and so he was there for the tutorial this morning, which was given by one of the team as Dr Nila, the RDO, had to attend a funeral and will not be back till tomorrow morning.

They saw 104 patients again today but, by the time they closed, they had already given out 80 numbers in the queue to be seen tomorrow. They are expecting large numbers tomorrow because a) it is their last day at this clinic and b) it is a Saturday and the children will not be in school. It was very hot today and, by the end, they were all very tired as they had been on their feel most of the day.

The good news is that, after a shaky start, the hotel has come up trumps with some great food (Nile perch last night and some lovely mangoes and pineapple). They have had some nice potatoes, as well, which the kitchen served in a chilli roll for breakfast. They have sent off laundry to be washed, which HAS come back, which is a positive sign. The hotel is also reasonably quiet, which is a definite plus.

Liz has been training Timothy today, who is only 22. Tomorrow they have been promised a tour of the hospital, including the operating theatre (so there must be some electricity in the building. There does not seem to be much to do on their day off, Sunday and so they may just stay around the hotel.

Unfortunately, I had to deliver the news to Liz that she had missed the official Switch-On of the Christmas Lights here in Knebworth. I know she was bitterly disappointed but I think that the clinic tomorrow will help her to get over it (to be fair, it was very good and extremely well attended).

No photos received from the team today and so I thought I would include a picture that I have found of the market in Shirati; very colourful!

 

Saturday 23 November  2019

 

The photo on the right came through late last night, when I was already in bed, and shows the team outside the hospital, whilst the one on the left is of Liz (with one of the COs) in some scrubs that she had made up from some material that she purchased on a previous trip.

There was also a photo (too dark to use) of Dr Nila giving a tutorial to the COs. By the way, he is the only trained dentist for 1.8 million people and so you can begin to understand how important it is that the team train up clinical officers to be able to offer at least some sort of dental care.

 

I received today the picture on the left which is of the Shirati Fish and Chips shop. Not quite up to the standard of the one on Knebworth High Street but definitely  'room for improvement' !

I received an email from Liz today, which must email that she is using the 'phone with the Tanzanian SIM as a WIFI hub (sorry, got a bit techie there!).

They were shown around the hospital by the chief administrator, who thanked them for coming over. It is a teaching hospital, with 200 nurses and midwives and they went round the maternity hospital, where there was a baby who was just a few hours old. I know that one reader (hello, Janet) will be going 'Ooh' at that news. They have 300 births a month, of which 5% are C-sections.

There are currently 167 patients in the hospital, with mothers staying with their sick children in the children's ward, which has African animals around the walls. They perform (the hospital staff, not the patients nor their mothers!) between 5 and 10 operations per day. Funding is from US and Canadian charities but the patients pay TZS 5,000 (= GBP 2) per night on a general; ward, TZS 10,000 for a private ward and TZS 25,000 for intensive care (7 beds). That may not seem much but, given the VERY low average wage, it must make health care for some almost impossible.

They are hoping to train pharmacists and doctors, as well, if they get the funding.

The hospital has a separate area where people live who have leprosy. They were treated at the hospital but now choose to live in a community, rather than in mainstream society, because of the social stigma.

 

Image result for bare-faced go-away-birdIn total, whilst at this first clinic in Shirati, they have seen a total of 405 patients, which is a lot, compared with some B2A trips. All of the equipment is now packed up and ready to be taken to the next clinic, of which more on Monday. Tomorrow is a rest day and so Liz, ever the keen birdwatcher, may get to see some of the birds. They may go in the minibus to the shores of Lake Victoria, which is only about 5 miles away.

Today one of the team saw a Bare-Faced Go-Away Bird (see picture on right), one of a family of birds that get their name from the sound of their call, which acts as an alarm for all the smaller creatures, when there is a predator around.

Needless to say, by the way, they are all taking anti-malarial tablets. Whilst Liz was on the 'phone this evening (a much shorter call as she could send all of the update details by email) she spotted a mosquito on the ceiling. It only takes one bite and, on the NHS Fit for Travel website, the whole of Tanzania is coloured red for high-risk.

 

Sunday 24 November  2019

 

I woke this morning to see an incoming email from the friend who was in Vietnam (see earlier entry) but who is now on a beach in Thailand. I have suggested to him that he really is missing oiut and that he should make Shirati his next holiday destination; they clearly have a better quality of fish and chip shop and there cannot be many zebras in Thailand.

On reader has asked how much liquid each of them drinks per day; the recommended amount, given the humidity, is 2 litres per person.

Andrew, the team leader, sent me this picture of the hotel kitchen (yes, this is for real!) with the comment that it is amazing that they serve up such good food.

 

 

Liz has sent me this picture of the view from her hotel room at sunset.

Incidentally, you may have seen in the news that there has been heavy flooding in the West of Kenya, resulting in at least 36 deaths. This is in the county that lies on the Eastern shore of Lake Victoria, about 200 km north of where they are based.

Not unsurprisingly, therefore, Liz reported that it has been raining most of the day. Hopefully this will not that the road to the second clinic becomes impassable.

Today some of them went to buy material from the market but Liz ploughed on with reading the latest Shardlake novel, Tombland (a marathon read!) and then got some sleep.

Today they went by minibus to the shore of Lake Victoria as I received the photo on the left from from Andrew. Liz has now realised that, in the distance, she can actually see the lake from her bedroom.

They have seen lots of mint growing at the side of the road as well as jacaranda and bougainvillea trees. Liz saw about 50 pied kingfishers on a telephone line. Like hummingbirds, these birds can hover without a headwind.

 

Monday 25 November  2019

 

Today they move operations to the second clinic, which is in the village of Utegi. Whilst it is a 40 minute drive along a murram road (see map), the good news is that it is on their way back to Mwanza and so, on the last day, they will not need to go back to Shirati, once they have finished.

I woke this morning to find an inbound email from my sister in Utah, who has been reading the blog every day. She commented on the fact that they seem to be very busy but the blog also proved its worth as she had not realised that there is a new Shardlake novel out ! Perhaps CJ Sansom would consider paying commission?

As part of my background research, trying to find a picture of Utegi Heath Centre, I learned that the local market in the town had to be shut for a while in 2015 due to an outbreak of cholera. I think that the Health Centre is new and so I wonder whether this was before or after it was built. Having failed in my quest, I have used the one that B2A supplied.

If my Kiswahili serves me correctly (only joking, Google helped me a bit as Kiswahili is a VERY difficult language) WODI YA WIZAZI means PARENTS' WARD. Liz did a course in Kiswahili at SOAS a few years back and has retained a bit but any language that has prefixes (rather than suffixes, as in most European languages) to indicate plural and case is just trying to be difficult !

 
 

The aforementioned friend who is Thailand sent me a photo, this morning, of the results of just one hour's litter-gathering on a beach. This was organised by a local group and was quite a salutary lesson. What has this got to do with Liz? The team were warned not to have any plastic bags in their luggage as Tanzania has banned all plastic bags with effect from June of this year (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tanzania-plastic-bag-ban-plastic-pollution-tourism-a8926971.html). I've just checked the manifesto of the Green Party and even they don't go that far but just talk about the 5p tax.

 

I also had an email from someone who is reading the blog in Roeselare in West Flanders in Belgium and a very nice email from a friend in Watton-at -Stone which is only about 3 miles from Knebworth and the beach is nowhere near as nice as Thailand.

Liz sent me a very long email from the minibus as they drove home from Utegi. It took them about 50 minutes to get there and there was lots of standing water on the side of the road due to the heavy rain. En route they passed a coffin shop, of which Andrew has sent me a photo (right).

The section of the clinic where they are based is brand-new and will become a maternity unit with 2 small wards. The new government (elected 4 years ago) has invested a lot in building hospitals but, unfortunately, there is not much funding for maternity staff.

The unit actually has electricity with ceiling fans but, as usual, no running water in the taps!

Andrew and Innocent (from B2A in Tanzania) went with Dr Nila to meet the Regional Medical Officer

In total the team saw 81 patients, one of the first (no coincidence) being the chief of police who was very nice lady.

 

 

Liz spent the day training Eustachius, who is based at the clinic and lives in Utegi with his wife (a teacher) and a 3 year-old. He has been excused all duties for the time of the training and so, hopefully, he will not be called off to deliver any babies in the middle of the night. He is very excited about all of the new facilities he will be able to use.

It has been a pretty traumatic today. Lucy, one of the dentists, was treating a lady and had to remove a tooth. The lady then fainted and was out cold for about 15 minutes, despite the best efforts of all of the clinical officers. Eventually she came round and then they put her on a glucose IV drip. Only then did it come to light that she had walked 10 km to the clinic from over the border in Kenya and had had nothing to eat. She had a history of fainting but had not said anything in case they wouldn't  threat her. As always, woe betide any of Liz's patients who complain that they can't find a parking space near the surgery! The team gave her the 1 that she needed to get a bus back to her village.

Liz treated a 65 year old man who had a tumour in his salivary glands which was about the size of a tennis ball! He cam to the clinic because he couldn't close his mouth and his teeth were biting into the tumour. Unfortunately, as with the guy last week, it was too late to treat him and the local CO arranged palliative care for him. About 18 months ago he had been seen by someone and just given antibiotics as they had not recognised what it was. It may have been treatable as it is a slow-growing type.

Tomorrow the lady from the hotel bar may go with them in minibus as she has toothache and has finally summoned up the courage to ask if the team would see her.

On the flora and fauna front, Liz has seen a kingfisher on a wire and I have sent her photos of three to choose from. I will include the appropriate photo tomorrow.

 

Tuesday 26 November  2019

 

I received the photo on the left today, which shows the team tucking into their packed lunches.

There are quite strong shadows in the picture and so it would appear that the rain has stopped. More updates later when they get back to the hotel.

The important news today is that, as they drove to the clinic, Vanessa got out (after the minibus had stopped!) to save a tortoise which was crossing the road. Her heroic efforts were captured on camera (see below).

Liz has identified the bird as a striped kingfisher (see below).

There were lots of babies for Emily to cuddle today and Liz was training Nakhomowa. All of the COS are doing really well and are enjoying the various tutorials that Liz took with her on her tablet.

B2A are going to expand their activities into Malawi and today they were joined by some visitors from the Malawi Dental Association. The situation there is very similar to Tanzania, with only 35 dentists for a population of about 18 million (about 1:500,000).

They are staying at the same hotel and so the team will have a chance to talk to them over dinner.

They saw 66 patients today but tomorrow they may see fewer as the COs have their exam tomorrow morning.

 

     

 

Wednesday 27 November  2019

 

I have just received this picture of the team at a de-briefing session this morning, probably talking about the examination that the COs took. Good to see Liz's batik scrubs in evidence again.

Liz has been training Noel today who runs a clinic not that far from Utegi. He has on his books 10,000 patients and sees 800 patients per month. Of those 10,000 patients, 1,200 have been diagnosed as being HIV positive. As part of a government-led AIDS initiative, every new patient at a clinic is tested for HIV and, if they test positive, is given antiretroviral therapy.

Kiz told me that Dr Nila is arranging for all of the COs to meet up - in 6 months - for a refresher course at Shirati Hospital.

After this morning's examination for the COs, the team treated 60+ patients and Liz sounded VERY tired.

En route to Utegi they pass lots of small brick kilns, like the one featured below. They also pass a number of the rocky outcrops (see below), known as kopjes. Think Lion KIng and Simnba being held up by Rafiki.

Tomorrow they aim to finish around 11:00 and back up by midday before the long drive back to Mwanza.

 

           Image result for brick kilns tanzania              Image result for kopje mara tanzania

 

Thursday 28 November  2019

 

I received, this morning, the photo (below) of the team outside the Utegi clinic and another of the clinical officers, each of the holding the kit they are given they are given by Bridge2Aid, which comprises instruments, a pressure cooker (for sterilisation), a model of teeth and a flip-chart. They also get a sign, saying EMERGENCY DENTAL CLINIC in Kiswahili so that they can run a 'dental day' for their patients. She advised me that each of the COs passed the examination.

As mentioned before, each CO has a 'patch' of 10,000 patients and so this means that, as a direct result of this trip, some 60,000 more people will have access to basic dental care who previously had nothing.

They saw 34 patients, one of whom was the village elder, who then gave a really impassioned speech about how grateful he was that the team had travelled so far to come and help them.

Liz 'phoned me from the Midland Hotel in Mwanza, where they are staying in the Midland Hotel again, as they did on the way out. She said that, after the remoteness of Shirati, Mwanza was chaotic, with animals on the road, sofa shops along the road and people cooking on fires.

This evening they will go out, with the dentists from  Malawi, to one of Mwanza's better restaurants on the shores of lake Victoria. This restaurant, the Tilapia, is shown below.

 

                             

 

Image result for tilapia restaurant mwanza

 

Friday 29 November  2019

 

Below is a photo of the team enjoying their meal at the Tilapia last night.

Four of them set off today on a mini-safari to the Serengeti, whilst the others commence the long journey home. The good news is that the time of the first flight, from Mwanza to Dar, has been rescheduled for 2 3/4 hours later, which has two definite advantages:

  1. They will be able to have a lie-in before setting off to the airport

  2. Their stopover in Dar airport will be halved.

The journey home (from Mwanza to Heathrow) is now only 19 hours 50 minutes. Incidentally, it is only since the election of the new government, four years ago, that Air Tanzania has been reborn, having previously almost gone into liquidation.

Flight TC101 - from Mwanza to Dar -  took off 5 minutes early, which means that they are now on their way home.

Liz 'phoned me from Dar, just before they boarded the plane to Addis.

As that is now, effectively, the end of the functional part of their trip, I am now signing off. If you have enjoyed reading this blog, do drop me a line at colin.stringer@ntlworld.com.