Mwanza

Today my son flies out to Mwanza in Tanzania. It marks the end of my family’s time in Tanzania. It was planned we would spend the last three weeks together before we all returned. Of course my illness suddenly cut short my time and forced me back to the UK for treatment and so I am here in England.

Mwanza

City in the hills,
City on the lake
Rock City
Red Dust Rising
Equatorial Metropolis
Mwanza

City of contrast
City of sunshine
City of rain
City of birds
City of fish
Tanzanian city
Indian city
Christian city
Muslim city
Rich city
Poor city
Empty Hotel blocks
Ex-pat oasis
Bars and restaurants
Lakeside retreats
Shanty towns
Corrugated rooftops
Mud and stone
No running water
Twinkling lights in the hills
Potholed Tarmac giving way to mud and dust
Manicured lawns
Rivers clogged with plastic
Burning rubbish
That unmistakable smell.
Beautiful views
Of deadly lake
Crocodiles and diseased snails
Not forgetting the mosquitos

Mountain City
Provincial city
African city
Western city
Finally a cinema
Shopping Mall vast
Largely empty
Towering over tiny dukas
Small shops and traders
Scraping a living on the roadside
Fresh fruit fresh from the market
Everything has a season
Pineapples and Mangoes
Avocados and Watermelon
Passion Fruit bigger than apples
Green oranges, lemons and tangerines
Always bananas
Onions and beans, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumber.
You can get most things in Mwanza if you know where to look.
U-turn, overpriced
TSN, overstocked
Delish, new kid on the block

Eating out is cheap
Roadside bars
Take aways
Pizza, chicken, burgers
Restaurants
Curries galore
Ugali and plantain
Chai and chapatti
Beer
Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Tusker, Castle, Ndovu
To name but a few

North city
West city
Frontier city?
German city
Second city
Growing city
Crowded city
People everywhere
Mostly young
Walking
Sitting
Chatting
Coffee
So many schools
Primary for all?
Tattered uniforms and exercise books
Classes of a hundred
In dark rooms with open windows
Just a blackboard and crowded desks
Secondary for some
Smarter, neater, expensive
Tanzanian education for the many

For the few
Isamilo
International
British, Italian, French, Finnish, Dutch, American, Canadian, South African, Indian, Pakistani, Kenyan, Ugandan, Zimbabwean, Irish, Russian, Swedish, Chinese, Tanzanian
Learning together
Growing together
Teachers and pupils alike
Under the hot equatorial sun
It’s not always easy here
There are struggles
Money is tight
Tighter than you might expect
But
The pupils are the stars

Big City
Dirty city
City of rubbish
City of opportunity
City of streets
Street children
“Mzungu”
“Give me MY money”
Police
“Mzungu”
Is there really an issue with the car?
Give them your money.
Street sellers
Arts and crafts
Street food
Hot, fried or grilled
Bottled soda
‘Full fat’ Coke
Stoney Tangawezi, tonic water, bitter lemon
Something to quench your thirst.

Mwanza
Almost three years my city
I will miss this place

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