Mwanza, Tanzania

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Apart from a fleeting thought in undergrad when I wanted the job with the most travel possible, I don’t think I even envisioned myself as an international consultant. But I must say while I don’t enjoy the long hours and weekend work, I am really digging the travel, field research and learning opportunity. As part of this field research that I speak of I traveled to the north and far south of Tanzania to get a first hand view of the market. The second leg of our research was in the Northern region of Mwanza. This was definitely the smallest airport that I had been in, in my life (until our recent safari…but that’s for another post).

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The city itself was surprisingly modern with paved road throughout the majority of the urban area. It was only when we went to rural areas that we were faced with bumpy, rocky dirty roads where not seat belt could leave you with a concussion if you bounce too high and hit the ceiling of the car. Good thing we were traveling in company jeeps! It always amazes me the way that goods are transported in Africa (and other developing countries). Above is a drinks distributors delivery “truck” and of course the highlight of the image is the ladies selling flowers and other goods from the top of their heads. Amazing! Such strength! But I can’t image that they won’t have some back problems down the line.

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The most beautiful part of this town is definitely Lake Victoria, the biggest lake in Africa (and is bordered by several other African nations).Our hotel was perfectly situated for a lake view. We did spend a bit of time working from the hotel towards the last few days of research, so this was definitely ideal. It was also very interesting because there was a sort of plantation behind the hotel. We never quite figured out what was being grown there, but if you take a close look at the picture you will see the workers wading around in the water and doing something…This did however bring about lots of mosquitos making us paranoid about malaria.

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We made our way to the rural area to capture more data. The funny thing about traveling around Tanzania is when you continuously capture little bits of back home with Barcelona activation at bars and dukas (the local word for shop). This photo was taken in a remote rural area of Mwanza at bar that fits no more than 4 people inside. I doubt they even had a TV to watch Barça games. But they find a way. Tanzanian’s love their football and nyama choma (skwered BBQ beef or chicken called mishkaki). There is a crazy amount of branding throughout the entire country. I’m sure if you even wanted to paint the sand and rocks in front of this place, these guys would let you. Tanzanians are very amiable and agreeable people.

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Now this bird, the marabou stork, is one of the creepiest things you can come across on the streets. This picture maybe does not give it justice because this bird to huge, bigger than a small child, with a deadly, sharp beak, beady eyes and a bald head with a slew of little white hairs. A shop owner told us that they call him Mister Health because he eats the garbage on the street and essentially helps to clean up unwanted things. (It did not look like Mister was doing a very good job…) And it is illegal to kill on of these birds. Try it and you could find yourself doing jail time.

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The urban area was much like any other small city. Fully paved roads, tall building with terrace views of the lake, and people everywhere. The hardest part about being on foot is trying not to get run over by cars (there is no regard for pedestrians anywhere…best to stay in a car if you can to travel about). I was glad to have someone from the country with me the whole time to translate and make me feel more comfortable walking around the street. When you get to the market areas it is crowded with people and one could get overwhelmed very easily. We didn’t find too much good cuisine in this town. But, surprisingly, we never got sick.

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As our stay in Mwanza came to an end we spent a few days with this as our office view. Thank goodness for outdoor sockets!! It was great to experience life outside of Dar Es Salaam. I’m actually spending my last day in Tanzania today, off for some breakfast and pool time!

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2 thoughts on “Mwanza, Tanzania

  1. deeeemac says:

    I love this update! Amazing that you were able to travel to see Lake Victoria. Did you get to spend any time closer to it or even on it (not sure if that’s what you do there!)?

    Very interesting about the stork – i’ve never seen one! It does look quite menacing in that photo.

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