The JBFC schedules a trip to the city (Mwanza, pop. 1 million) for most of its guest groups, so we set out in the morning for the market. Half of us rode in the school van (a "dala dala"), which featurerd narrow, shallow seats with very little legroom, no seat belts, and loose attachment to the floor. The trip into Mwanza was really interesting, especially because it was the same road we had traveled on our first night, when I couldn't tell what people were walking to or from. Now, in the daylight, you could see the markets, the garbage piles for burning, the bus stops, the carpenters manufacturing over-stuffed chairs and sofas...list of things for sale on the road...
Our first stop was a bank, where we took turns exchanging dollars for Tanzanian schillings. There was a rate listed on a board, but when I sat down with my U.S. twenties, she punched a worse rate into the calculator and explained that the listed rate was only for big bills. I decided to try some negotiation and asked for the calculator, punched in an in-between number and, after she discussed it with her supervisor, successfully exchanged some money at my rate! I found out later that she gave the same rate to all the other "mzungu" (white people/foreigners) in our group.
In the market were many heavily loaded stands crowded together selling produce, meat, wooden and beaded goods, cooking utensils, souvenir items, spices, etc. There were rain covers overhead, and an irrigation ditch underfoot, where vegetable refuse and meat drippings collected. We stuck together mostly, doing a little bargaining for gift items, buying fruit and veggies for the dinner we had offered to cook for our hosts that night, and trying to think through how we would keep 10-12 DA students from getting lost or scared. After hanging out for a while in the parking lot and buying some Tanzanian music cds, we met up with Chris on the veranda of a lovely lakeside hotel restaurant. Chris had ordered tons of Indian food, which we enjoyed a lot. After lunch we split up to run errands in two teams: mine went to a grocery store (lots of packaged goods I recognized, not a whole lot of local items), the butcher (where Ben bought 4 lbs of goat leg for a curry he was planning), an ATM, and a gas station.
I headed straight for the lake when we got back, and spent 2 hours there writing, thinking, and talking with people when they drifted down. Around 7 I headed up to the Big House to help cook dinner. Ramesh was working up a pancetta/tomato spaghetti sauce, and Ben, Ivory, and I put together the curry. The kitchen was really really hot (the whole house gets closed up at night because the bugs are so bad--"karate bugs: they chop right through the screen," Chris said) and the lighting was really dim and the water pressure was really low, but we managed to put a big, tasty meal on the table by about 8:30pm.