26 June 2014

getting our groove back.

So far, life has been difficult for us in Mwanza. We haven't minced words about that, from discussing the separation of our electricity meter from our neighbors to dealing with issues with our night guard. (Update: We're on to Guard #4. But that's a story for another day.)

Recently, we've been able to catch up with friends and family back in the United States and they expressed serious concern for us.

"Are you guys… okay?" they asked.

"Yeah, we're okay," we responded.

"No, but really. I'm worried about you. Your blog makes it sound like things are bad."

Sorry, guys! We're here to tell you: we're okay.

After over two months in Mwanza and about one month in our home, we're starting to find our rhythm. Stella's gettin' her groove back! Here are a few fun things we do in Mwanza to relax and get us back to normal.

1. Play with Noli

We have a dog. This is still crazy for us to remind ourselves. But yet, there she sits in our yard, waiting for us, her owners. Yikes!

Since she's an outside dog, Noli is really very little work, other than cooking her dinner every night. And because she does such good work for us - barking at every living thing she sees - we try to pay her as much attention as we can. 

this is noli. yes, she's asleep.
She loves to get her belly rubbed and most of the time, flops onto her back at the sight of us, hoping she'll get a good scratch. She also loves running after her "ball," which is an old shriveled up lime that fell into our yard from the neighbors' tree, so we throw that around the yard. Mostly, she loves being active, so we'll chase her around the garden and the yard, as she jumps up and down with excitement.

All in all, she's a pretty great dog. Except when she brings a dead rat to our doorstep. And then, eats it. Ew.

2. Visit the International School for a Swim

The International School is a beautiful primary and secondary school here in Mwanza, where children of Maryknoll Lay Missioners have attended. In addition to being a great school, it has an awesome pool. It's open in the afternoons on weekends. The pool is a decent size, so you can swim laps or just hang out in the shallow end and chat. There's also a lot of shaded seating, to take a break from the pool and read a book.

the beautiful international school in mwanza.
The pool is a great place to people watch, as it represents this strange sub-culture of Mwanza. You see, the International School is the most elite school in the city and really, the only acceptable school for most Western families to send their children, as its one of very few schools where beating students is not accepted. Because it's the best school in Mwanza, the student body is represented largely by Western, Indian, and Middle Eastern families. So going to the pool is almost like going into a fake world for us. For most of our week, we're surrounded by local, native Tanzanians, almost never seeing Westerners or other foreigners in our neighborhood to then, going to the pool, where we're suddenly not the minority. 

3. Go Out to Eat

Yum! There are a number of good restaurants in Mwanza. Although they all serve the same types of food, Michael and I are happy campers, because there's so much Indian influence in the cuisine. No matter where we go, we can find Indian in addition to basic American food, like pizzas or burgers. Most of these restaurants are situated at beautiful hotels, so not only do we get to eat some delicious food, but also we get to enjoy a lovely view and "get away," if even just for an evening.

If you're visiting Mwanza, we recommend Tilapia, La Kairo, Ryan's Bay, and Kuleana's Pizza.

See, we're not doing so bad!

This last weekend, during a conversation with a friend, we explained our current mood like this: For the last couple of months, we've felt like we're at the end of a long tunnel. We couldn't even see a light at the end. What was worse was that we thought there should be a light at the end of the tunnel. "Will there ever be a light?" we started to wonder.

This week, for the first time, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're still in darkness, fumbling around a bit, but we know we're moving in the right direction.


  1. That, I can say with all honesty, is the main draw back of living overseas. As you start to get your feet under you, things become less foreign. It takes some time, no matter where you live in the world. Glad to hear things are looking up for you!

    1. Thank you, Tracey! I know you can relate to a lot of what we write about in these first months. Hope all is well on your side of the world!


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