03 November 2011

The day we were Peace, Love, and Ninjas.


We awoke at 8 because we planned to leave at 9.  We really knew that meant we wouldn’t leave until after 10, but we were ready to leave on time, and that’s what counts. 

We wanted to pack light because we had a lot of stops to make.  We packed for a Halloween party, an overnight stay, and a swim on the beach.

We ate a breakfast burrito and had real coffee for breakfast.  Which is my favorite way to start a Saturday.  We were pretending that tomatoes and onions and “hot sauce flavoring” counted as salsa and that the eggs here taste normal.  And that our tortillas weren’t reheated.

All things considered, breakfast was delicious.

We wrote post cards while we waited for the bus driver to pick us up for the day.

He was only an hour and a half late, so judging by last Saturday when he was 3 hours late, we call that a success.


First stop in town was U turn.  We had very important items to purchace such as raisins, chicken, cheese, and Skyy.

I was in charge of getting us from U turn to the Post office even though I’ve only spent one day in Mwanza before, and I was on the verge of sleep-loss induced delirium at that point.

I almost got us there, but made one crucial mis-turn at the stoplight.  Thankfully, our driver found someone on the street to give us directions.


And finally we found it!  I was in charge of putting the mail in the slot while Julia walked over to buy us burgers.  They were delicious and came with chips for only 2 USD!

I’m not sure if the chips were good because some boys on the street asked for money and food and saw us eating our burgers.  Julia gave up her chips but they wanted ours too.  So Stephanie and I followed her lead.

It was for the best, they would have gone straight to our hips anyway.

Julia said that she can’t give everything she has to everyone, but God told her to give up her possessions if possible when people ask.  Which was a good way to think about our food.


We made it to the market with no problems.  Julia, in broken Swahili, told our driver that we would be at the market a long time so he should go home.  We would find a cab ride from the market to Tunza because we were told it would only cost 5 USD, and I’m pretty skilled at catching cab now.

We bought plenty of crafts, some new jeans for Julia, and fresh, delicious fruit at the market!

Our driver, that we thought we sent home 2 hours ago, found us just as we finished purchasing everything.

Good thing we didn’t hire a piki-piki (motorcycle) to take us to Tunza yet!

We’re thankful God led him to us before we left the market!


We made our way on a bumpy dirt road to Tunza, which is Swahhili for “a place to stay.”

We got to our room and changed into bathing suits and cover-ups.  We found yet another use for the konga/chitengue fabric.  We got some delicious (cold!) drinks at the bar: PINEAPPLE FANTA!!  Mega good.  And some other pineapple coconut soda that was equally as good. 

[our bungalow and our cold sodas!]

We walked out to the lake and walked out onto the dock, being careful to avoid all the broken boards.  On the way to the end of the dock, tons of Tanzanian guys offered to swim with us.  No, thanks.  I just straightened my hair for my costume, and there’s no way I’m getting it wet on purpose.

And Stephanie pretended to be afraid of the water.  Who knows, there could have been sharks in the lake. 

Julia decided to go for a swim.  Stephanie and I just soaked our feet. It was fabulous!

We walked by the bar on our way back and got more soda.  After not drinking anything cold for 2 weeks we were really excited about drinking chilled soda!

We also ordered samosas: beef and vegetable filled fried tortillas in a triangle shape.  They’re amazing. 

We sat on the porch of our bungalow sipping cold sodas, waiting for our samosas, and watching the sunset!

[the porch of our bungalow]

[the sunset on the beach of Lake Victoria]

After watching the sun set we decided to check on our samosas, which were supposed to be brought to our room.  We found our waiter and decided to go ahead and order dinner.  We each got something different, and we were excited about food we didn’t have to cook and that wasn’t rice and beans!

Our samosas finally showed up about an hour after ordering them.  We sat on the side of the beach watching the waves roll in until big wolf-like dogs encouraged us to move under the protection of the bar’s roof.  We sat at a tall table for another hour waiting on our food.  It was getting close to 8pm at this point, which is pretty late for dinner.

Especially if you know how grumpy I get without food. 

Apparently Julia does too.

Which left Stephanie, who wasn’t grumpy, to tell us stories of her young adult-hood. 

Even her hilarious stories weren’t enough to put us back in a good mood.

We finally got dinner and ate in record time.  Even I finished quickly because I was so hungry.  Stephanie spoke with Jan, the owner of Tunza, and he told us we only had 15 minutes to get ready before we left for the Halloween party.  Stephanie negotiated for 20 minutes and we ran to our bungalow to get ready!


[Dressing up]

Peace. Love. Ninjas? Now.

We were going to be Peace. Love. Tunza (which has a really nice ring to it if you ask me) when the party was at Tunza, but the party got relocated to the Yacht Club because Jan didn’t want to have a party that competed with them and we couldn’t come up with anything cooler than Ninjas.

[the finished costumes, which are decently appropriate in American culture]

Where did you get those colorful tank tops underneath your black ones? Honalie asked.

“Oh, they’re just bras.”  Thanks Julia.

[Our new friend Chad, Honalie’s son, who’s about 8 years old]

I feel like every kid wanted to cut holes in a white sheet and be a ghost when they were little.

We didn’t get a picture of Dr. Laura and her friend, but they decided to be Greek Godesses…and we were super thankful we had a last minute change of costume. 

Maybe they don’t live with any Masai.

We left Tunza as a big group.  We walked by some ladies that said “Happy Halloween” and then “Oh My God” before we were out of earshot.

And we thought our costumes weren’t that ridiculous.

Maybe not.

We hopped in the back of Jan’s truck with Chad for the ride across town. 

[Riding across town in the back of a pickup truck]

We arrived to a huge display of tents and lights and decorations.  We thought it was our Halloween party, but when we kept walking through we realized we were really just walking through a wedding party.


Then we entered the Mwanza Yacht Club.

Which was having a Halloween fundraising event.  Good thing we’re still supporting things with our partying.  We found out the money was going to support the Yacht Club because they only have 2 boats.  Interesting.  Lame.

Tunza has New Moon parties every other month and they give all the money to JBFC Children’s Home and School!  Way cooler.  Jan, who I realize I talk about a lot in this blog post, is a legit South African.  He was trained to be a tracker in the Apartheid movement, which means he can look at your feet and decide exactly where you are.  Which is decently frightening.

Somehow, he moved to Mwanza and opened up a beach resort called Tunza.  And somehow he became friends with Chris, the founder of JBFC, so we’re treated like celebrities when we go to Tunza, which is pretty cool.  Well, not celebrities exactly, but the management is super nice to us.

We were one of the 10 people dressed up.  Chad and the Greek Godesses that came with us were also dressed up.  There were a few others, but most people just looked boring.  There was a group of nurses and doctors wearing their uniforms, and there were about 20 of them.

They ended up winning the costume contest.  Wearing your work uniform is not a costume.  Way lame.

So, we lost a rigged costume contest.  And then raffle.

And there was no dancing.  The party was starting to get really lame.

And then we went to the bathroom.

[Using the squatty potties we look different sizes, but that’s just an optical illusion]

I gotta get better at aiming.


Dr. Laura complained to the management about us not even being considered for the costume contest, even though we were legitimately wearing costumes and they weren’t. 

She was able to swing us all free shots of Tequila as a consolation prize.

Why do we keep thinking Tequila in Africa is decent?  Because they were out of rum.

Which was still a respectable consolation prize.


The manager was a guy from Ireland, and he knew Jan pretty well (who decided on a shot of Jack Daniel’s instead of Tequila, very smart move)

Somehow, Jan got the Irish guy to sing.

So now I can say we got serenaded by an Irish man.

Which was pretty legit. Very similar to the movie P.S. I love You if you’ve seen it.


Honalie decided it was time for her and Chad to go home around midnight, and even though Dr. Laura was trying to convince us to stay out, we thought it was a good idea to stick with Jan.

Plus, Jan promised us a beach bonfire for an after-party, which we thought would be way more fun then drinking more at the Yacht club.

When we got back to Tunza and we were bought drinks by Major’s Dad, which Jan convinced us we needed.

I’m not too sure who Major is, but Julia and Stephanie tell me he is legit, and Jan tells us his dad is a talker, so Jan promised to escort us to our room shortly after finishing our drinks.

And I’m about to do anything Jan says because if I don’t, he can track my feet and kill me.

Jan told us to wait about 10 minutes for Major’s Dad to go to bed before we start a beach bonfire after party.

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