Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

These three photos from my first day in Mwamza represent memories of what now seems like weeks ago.

I mentioned in my previous post that I had hoped to be met at the ferry landing by a tour guide. Of course, I stood in a flotsam of arriving passengers, taxi drivers, vendors and dock workers and saw no one assigned to pick me up. It wasn't exactly hard to pick me out of a crowdwith my white skin, backpack, camera around my neck, and pushing a carry-on. I waited for an hour and then, with the help of a policeman, decided to find a top-quality hotel. The front desk clerk made a few phone calls and after much confusion, located the errant guide. While waiting for him, the hotel manager introduced himself and gave me the royal treatment, showing me his hotel and even invited me to have a complimentary breakfast before leaving. The middle photo shows the manager and my guide, Peter. Most foreigners seem to take photos only of rural people and the poor and present thereby a stilted image of the country. Tanzanians, to whom I have shown my blog, have asked me to balance this bias by mentioning that there is a significant number of people of education, wealth, and refinement.

The bottom photo of some fishing boats on Lake Victoria was important to me because it conveyed such a serene view and I wanted you to see the lake. I thought of massive Lake Michigan that I had known from my childhood. Yet this lake is twice its size, borders three countries, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya and provides jobs and fish, mainly talapia to millions of people.

After leaving the city I realized how much the countryside had changed. There were now low plains instead of the high mountains filled with bananas plants to which I had grown accustomed. Here there were people working in rice fields. The top picture, of a youngster standing on a patch of rice, may be one of those exotic photos foreigners seem to take. Children and women are seen everywhere working the farm land all day every day, while men on loaded bicycles or cattle-driven carts clog the side of road taking huge bundles to market.

Tomorrow I leave Africa . I don't want to think about the idea that I may never be here again. I console myself that I will always have my pictures and blog to keep the memory somewhat alive. Yet, even they are so far from the reality of this amazing place.


  1. This is a nicely-chosen set of photos. I loved them all. After reading the text, I went to Google Earth, stuck a digital pin in Mwamza, and zoomed out. It gives at least a glimmer of an idea of what a huge lake that is. It was also fun to click on the Google Earth photos and see more of the lake and the land. There were not too many people photos, so I'm glad that's what you showed us.

  2. Your text and pictures today are just beautiful! I was especially drawn to that top picture of the little boy in the rice paddy. I didn't even realize that clump of what looked to me like grass was rice until I read your post. I don't care if some people would consider it a cliche touristy picture. To me it's exotic and wonderful, and also a very strong composition. And it's something I've never seen before, but that goes for a lot of things.

    I won't even attempt to describe my feelings reading the last paragraph of your post, except to say they are very strong. Aside from that, I don't actually have the words for them yet.

  3. Marvelous post, Lee, I love the photos as always and your pictures are also marvelous as always!! I'm so glad you've had this opportunity! What a gift it has been! I can so relate to your feelings expressed in the last paragraph. Looking forward to the next installment!! Have a great week!


  4. I've enjoyed your continued posts Lee. It is, for sure, a different viewpoint than I've been afforded before of the country and people. Have continued safe travels.