Final Week in Mwanza
As I write this blog, I am coming to the end of my final Thursday in Tanzania. We are flying out of Mwanza on Monday morning, and only have three more days left to say our goodbyes, celebrate, and enjoy Mwanza. Today I handed in my final project to the MikonoYetu staff, and yesterday Sima and I submitted the final report to Kivulini. Handing in both those papers was such a relief, because I was able to see something tangible that I had created, and also had a weight lifted off my shoulders now that I am able to relax and enjoy the last few days in this country.
I want to mention a wonderful experience that Sima and I were able to share with the Kivulini staff. We came into work on Wednesday, and after an hour or so at work, the staff told us that they were closing the office for the day and were taking us to a special goodbye lunch at a beautiful beach resort/restaurant. We all drove out (at least 20 staff were there) to the restaurant, and had such a wonderful time. The food was great and the company was even better. When the waiters brought giant Tilapia fish to the table, I was a little thrown off because we were given the entire fish with a face still on it. However, once I started eating it I quickly got over it because it was delicious. After the meal, we all stood up and made a giant circle and had a mini dance party. The staff at the restaurant were taking song requests, and everyone was dancing together. I loved this experience because it was one of those moments when you are able to see people who are normally your coworkers, as more than just work colleagues. Instead they become more like friends and more easy to relate to. I think my favourite part of the goodbye lunch was when the staff sung us a goodbye song, and then gave small speeches about the time we spent with them. I almost cried when Grace, a woman I have become very close with at Kivulini, said goodbye to us and told us how she was going to miss us. Kivulini also presented Sima and I with these wonderful African print bags as a send-off gift. The entire day was so wonderful and I am so happy that I was able to experience it with the staff who I have been spending the past three months with.
The same night, we had a potluck dinner with a lot of our friends who live in town. We all played board games and hung out until two am. It was a really nice night, and made me realize that I am going to miss a lot of the friends I have made here. Thankfully, we still have a few more days left. On Saturday, along with the other interns as well as our friends from Mwanza , I will be going to an Indian wedding! One of our friends is lending us all Indian clothes and I am wearing a beautiful turquoise saree. Tomorrow I am going to go get mendhi on my hands. I can’t wait for Saturday. I love how I came to Mwanza expecting to learn a lot about the Tanzanian culture, but never realized that I would be getting to partake in different cultural experiences from other groups of people as well.
We just got home from being in town, and Gabriella, Tara, Gavin and I took part in a karaoke night at one of the local hotels. On our way to the hotel we were singing all the songs from the Grease soundtrack while walking down the street, so we decided it was only fitting to sing one at karaoke. We sang Summer Nights from Grease, and although we were terrible, it was so much fun.
My next blog will most likely be my final blog, because it will be a conclusion of my experiences in Mwanza and final thoughts I have had. However, I will make sure to post photos from the wedding we go to.
I am going to sleep now… we are waking up early to go and pick up skirts that we got tailored for us by a local tailor!