"Mzungu! mzungu! mzungu!" Kids called our attention, waving their hands, smiling like it's Christmas Day. Ever since this overland journey began, we've pretty much been getting the same reception from young ones who get fascinated with "foreigners". Now that we're biking in Musoma - our lakeside pit stop before heading out to the great plains - the constant presence of kids remind me so much of the Philippines.
It was a sizzling day. Not everyone in our group wanted to bike. Some merely wanted to chill out. But we all had one common agenda: exchange US dollars for Tanzanian shillings. Walter, leader of the pack, recommended banks in the center of town. So half of the group went walking to the banks while the rest of us prepared to explore Musoma from a handlebar height.
Leading us on this $20-biking exploration was a local named Samuel. From our Tembo beach camp site, we pedaled on dusty roads into the center of town. There was a long line at the local bank so Samuel steered us instead into this dingy appliance/clothing store where the exchange rate was basically the same.
Close by was Mwigobelo market just next to the ferry terminal. It's a hodgepodge of rickety stalls with women selling produce from both land and lake. A few blocks away, even more goods are for sale at the much bigger Musoma market. There was nothing for me to buy but it certainly was worth peeking to see what locals buy to bring home to.
|Beans & lentils|
|Fruits & veggies|
|Household wares at Musoma market|
From the beehive of commercial buzz, we biked further and farther away, into dirt roads and villages. We parked our bikes outside Baraka Orphanage Day Care Centre. Kids came out to greet us with more "mzungus". Two adults care takers welcomed us, explaining what they do for these orphaned kids, some of whose parents succumbed to AIDS.
Inside their classroom, kids anywhere from 5 to 7 years old are taught their ABCs, arithmetic, all the basic things to learn to prepare them hopefully for bigger challenges ahead. As it is, maintaining a day care center for orphans is in itself a big challenge and that's where they depend on other people's generosity.
|"Shake...shake that mango tree!"|
On our way back to the camp site, we biked through another village with houses made of concrete and corrugated roof. Samuel stopped and motioned for us to follow him. It turns out, he wants us to see where he lives - in a rental house with five rooms and four families all sharing a communal "living/dining room". His wife and young daughter shyly poked their heads out from this dimly lit room which he calls home.