So it’s Saturday 6th February and I’ve just returned from the Year 5 trip to Musoma, which is about 200km north of where we live in Mwanza. For those of you who are teacher friends this will give you an idea of just how a trip here differs from one in England. So 7.55am on 4th Feb arrived and 41 children assembled excitedly with their clothes, tents and sleeping bags at school. We loaded the two coaches with all the luggage and we were off. It was about a 45 minute journey to our first stop, the Bujora Cultural Centre where we were going to learn some of the customs about the Sukuma – the local tribe – and listen to some drumming and watch the dancing. Richard, our guide greeted us and started to show us some of the artefacts when one of the children noticed a snake hanging above his head. Thankfully it was a small one and non-poisonous – we think. It certainly was minute compared with what was to come. So onto the drums where the children were allowed to play some of the ceremonial ones. One of them was apparently 500 years old. And then it was the highlight of our trip to the centre: the drumming and dancing. The drums beat out a hypnotic rhythm as the dancers came out and went through 3 dances with the children joining in. Then the climax; the snake dance which involved a live boa constrictor being teased, pulled by its tail (do snakes have a tail and if so, where does it begin?) and being draped round the neck of several children.
A brilliant morning. Back on the coaches for the 180km journey north. We finally arrived at 5pm and the children did a fantastic job of erecting their tents. A late night due to lots of children being rather excited. Like all first night on camps, the riot act had to be read – at 12:15am. All asleep by 12:30am but the tent was very hot to sleep in – more of that later.
Next morning and everyone was awake nice and early – how does that happen when they have had so little sleep. Anyway, breakfast was eaten and then we took 13 children into town on bikes that we had hired from the hotel. Main roads were negotiated and we eventually arrived at the market where we looked at some of the stalls and were told about the local fish which gets dried and exported in huge sacks on massive low-loaders. It was getting very hot so after an hour we headed back to the campsite to pick up the packed lunches and head to a water aid NGO but not before measuring the temperature in the tent – it was 125 Fahrenheit – that’s 51 Celsius in new money! Thank goodness we weren’t going to bed yet. So onto the coaches and off to see the water NGO – Go MAD (Go Make a Difference).