Today was another division of labour. Most of the team stayed local and had a relaxed day with only about sixty children turning up for interview at Iyela, and a slow but constant dribble of children amounting to about the same number in Airport. We nearly left John behind at the Karibuni Centre, but Aneta spotted him running from the back of the lead truck and signalled for us to stop before he became too much out of breath. The slow rate of interviewing actually ended up being more tiring than the full on blast that we’ve been doing these past few days.
A smaller team consisting of Sharon, Mark, Nikki, Fiona and Nancy (with Violet, Zuwena, Baraka, Festo, Abia, Gibbons and Richard driving) went on safari. Their day’s travelling consisted of a two and a half hour trip to Ndala, an hour and a half to Tukuyu and a little over an hour back to Mbeya. All this at the sort of speeds that some of the team likened to a stage of the Safari Rally. At one point in the journey, a police officer stood, pulling all the traffic over to one side of the road, where she was handing out “speeding tickets” hand written on blank paper and demanding a fine of twenty thousand shillings (about £6.50). Since the whole thing didn’t seem particularly official, Richard refused to pay without a receipt, and when one wasn’t forthcoming, he drove off.
At Ndala, the team were met with singing and dancing. Nancy and the Tanzanians translated by themselves to speed the process up, while the Wazungu (foreigners) occupied themselves with other tasks. Nikki did the weights and heights (heights only in Ndala as there wasn’t anywhere suitable to put the scales), Fiona and Mark took the photographs and Sharon circulated, doing whatever Sharon does on such occasions.
Nikki discovered a new method for finding a drop toilet in the dark, which essentially consisted of sticking her left foot in the hole. Fortunately she managed to rescue herself before things became more unpleasant than the whole bush toilet experience happens to be in any case.
The team were fed baked cassava before leaving Ndala and were later treated to a feast at Tukuyu, which included something that tasted almost but not entirely unlike beef (although it was (supposedly)).
Nancy had the privilege of leading two of the mothers into a relationship with Jesus Christ during her interviews. There is a question on this year’s form which asks what religion the child is, and on two occasions, when the child answered Christian, the mother joined in the conversation to say she did not have the same experience or faith. Nancy lovingly told them of her experience and the basis on which it rested and each of them were soon praying with her to surrender their lives to the Lord.
Overall the long distance team spent about as much time on the road as they did interviewing. They took on about 30 new children, mainly from Tukuyu, and having left the Karibuni at eight in the morning, finally made their way back home by seven in the evening. Apparently jelly babies made an appearance on the trip back which was a new experience for the Tanzanians.