After our failed attempt to take the mythical ferry from Kampala to Mwanza, we eventually got a bus and made our way to Mwanza, aka Rock City (They call it Rock City because the town is built on top of and around giant boulders). We arrived in Mwanza, Tanzania about 9pm after riding the car ferry with our bus. It was dark and we had no reservations, no Tanzanian money and no idea where we were exactly. We stumbled around in the dark (not a lot of street lights in Tanzania) and finally found a place to stay for the night. It was questionable at best (there was no shower door and a hole in the shower floor) but the owner was nice enough and she quickly made friends with Liz.
Over an extremely overpriced dinner (the owner was nice enough to join us at the hotel restaurant) she invited us to Church with her the next morning! We agree without a second thought, people in Tanzania are so friendly!
The next morning we arose and met our host and realized on the way to church we were going to a Catholic church… I say, “No worries, Liz, I got this… 8 years of Catholic education finally paying off. Just follow my lead!” #OverConfident
ALL IN SWAHILI.
We understood ZERO. We were trying so hard to “pay attention,” stay awake and not offend our host but we had no idea how long it would be. I expected a typical 45 minute mass; I think I whispered “10 more minutes max.” probably 15 times. It just kept going and going; 4 separate offerings where EVERYONE walks up to the front to give money (everyone together, just the girls, just the guys, everyone together again). There were over 600 people (I counted to pass the time for a while). I tried to laugh along with everyone else to the jokes in the sermon.
Somewhere around the 3 hour and 30 minute mark I must have started looking a little bit bored and wasn’t as “focused” on the priest when I heard “something, something, something, Muzungo, something, something Muzungo” and then EVERYONE looks at Liz and I and starts laughing. Muzungo, basically means “white person” in Swahili. Apparently the priest made a joke about the 2 Muzungos in the crowd making it through the whole mass and only “a few more hours left.”
After the service we waited for another 30 minutes for our host to get her gallon of holy water blessed and then it was on to the market. Our host did her grocery shopping and then finally called her taxi driver to take us all back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel our host stuck us with the bill for her taxi for the day! Then she was asking us what we wanted to order from the hotel restaurant for lunch, it’s almost 4PM now, and we had to politely get the heck out of her hotel before we went broke with our “new friend.”
Our first stop after leaving the hotel was to the ATM (she had taken us for all we had at the time) and we ran into an American girl at the ATM that was getting out of a safari jeep. We had wanted to look into safaris in Mwanza, so we asked her about her experience and next thing we know we’re in the jeep with her guide going to the Hostel she was staying out to see if there was room for us (which there was for 1 night) switching our luggage from the crazy hotel and finally breathing a sigh of relief.
So we had ourselves a safari guide and we worked out the details of our safari!