Ukerewe Boat Mwanza Ferry Gone: Demeanors

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    Locals paddling to the ferry to sell fish they had caught to the passengers.
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    Checkers was fun!
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    Playing checkers with the locals on the boat.
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    Rival ferry boat race...
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    No matter what happens in this existence, you never want to come back and end up as a chicken in a bag.
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    Mwanza aka Rock City.
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    Wenje and his friends. Wenje is the one wearing the hat.
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    Engine room of the Serengeti boat.
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    My temporary name.
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    My sleeping quarters.
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    Guest mess-hall on the ship.
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    Ferry and supplies.
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    Arriving in Bukoba at 06:40.
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    Lake Victoria beach at Bukoba.

Ukerewe Boat Mwanza Ferry Gone: Demeanors.
Jan 21
So some days are strange…You start out with a bad day and then it becomes a fantastic day.  When you are up, you are up and when you are down, you meet the right people to bring you up…

No matter what happens in this existence, you never want to come back and end up as a chicken in a bag.

No matter what happens in this existence, you never want to come back and end up as a chicken in a bag.

I met Consolatha, the girl I had made plans with last night, as we were going to Ukara Island today.  Consolatha showed up to meet me at a juice bar an hour late.  Rather than showing up on time, she sent me about twelve text messages over that hour and it was driving me nuts. When she showed up, she told me that we had missed the boats for the day to get us to Ukara and said we should go tomorrow.

I did not know what to do and I was not sure if I wanted to spend another night in Nansio, Ukerewe.  I was going to have to check into a guesthouse again.  I figured I would rent a motorcycle for Consolatha and I for the day and we would cruise the island.  After I found a motorcycle for three hours for $5, I asked her what she wanted to do for the day.  She said she wanted to sleep and that maybe I could take the motorcycle on my own…

Communication with her was hard and the Mwanza Ferry was about to leave in twenty minutes.

I weighed the situation, shook her hand and said, “Okay, I do not feel like riding a motorcycle around all by myself all day.  I am going to go to Mwanza.”  The Mwanza Ferry would leave almost as soon as I would arrive, so I would have to hustle.

I was sort of frustrated and we said goodbye as I headed for the ferry.  Once she realized I was not staying, she called as I was going to the ferry.  A phone conversation was far too difficult so she sent me a text asking me to please stay so that we could go to Ukara together tomorrow.

I told her that it was too late, I was on the Mwanza Ferry, and that communication was too difficult.

Locals paddling to the ferry to sell fish they had caught to the passengers.

Locals paddling to the ferry to sell fish they had caught to the passengers.

The boat started off across Lake Victoria and I immediately regretted my decision.  I had made far too hasty of a decision.  I had a self realization on the boat ride of the Mwanza Ferry, where I did not really want to go, that I make bad decisions when I am frustrated with or disappointed in people.  It really came to light in my consciousness today.

Slower decisions during frustration…for the rest of your life.  Stop and think.  Then you will not beat yourself up for hours over a quick and poor decision you have made…

On the Mwanza Ferry that I did not want to be on heading to Mwanza, the locals got out a checkerboard with soda bottle lids for checkers.  I knew I needed to change my demeanor so I picked up my backpack and went to them.  They had started a game and looked at me.  I pointed to the board and asked, “Next play?”  They smiled and readily nodded.  I studied their game for three rounds.  They play so fast that their hands hardly stop moving and they play a slightly different version than what I learned as a kid…It attracted a crowd, was a lot of fun, and I made friends with a nice man.

Checkers was fun!

Checkers was fun!

I asked the man, Raphael, about transportation and made the decision that I would cross Lake Victoria by ship to a town called Bukoba, which is right next to Uganda.  At 17:30 the Mwanza Ferry arrived in Mwanza and there happened to be a boat leaving at 18:00 to do exactly what I wanted. I went to buy a first class ticket so that I would have an overnight room for $18.  The rooms were sold out, but the guy called an engineer on the boat and I bought his room off of him for $23.  The man, Teacher, who showed me his big room I just rented, was a 64 year old cross eyed man who was super cool.

When I went to say goodbye to Raphael, I ran into my favorite person I have met in Tanzania. Wenje is a security man at the ship yard.  He is the guy I met three days ago when I needed information about ferries and asked him if he spoke English who told me, “No, but I have heard it one time!” in broken English so bad that those were nearly 40% of the English words he could say…He is missing a front tooth and radiates a really positive energy.

When I ran into him today, his work friends were all around him. He was introducing me to his friends and was making all of us laugh without really using words.  We got photos together and I gave him a Beaver sticker, which I held up to my crotch to show him it was a vagina. The last I saw of him as I looked back walking to the ship, Wenje was laughing so hard and showing the sticker to his friends.

Wanje and his friends. Wanje is the one wearing the hat.

Wenje and his friends. Wenje is the one wearing the hat.

Wow, certain people sure can lift you up sometimes…!

At the ship, I unloaded my bag in Teacher’s room, he gave me his key and thanked me for renting it from him because he said he will buy vegetables for his family with the money.  He told me that since I am in his room, I am now, “Temporary Chief Engineer” until I get off the ship.  He left and when he did the door of the room was still open.  A local man walked past and said, “Hi Boss,” to me.  I told him to, “Get back to work!”

Teacher later took me on a tour of the ship.  We went to the engine room and met his #2 man.  The boat is propelled by two Caterpillar V-12 engines and two inline-4 cylinder Cat engines that run the generator. Teacher said that he has a great staff right now and they actually overhauled the engines on the boat themselves a couple of months ago.  It takes 3000-4000 liters of diesel fuel to go to from Mwanza to Bukoba and back.

My sleeping quarters.

My sleeping quarters.

My spirits were great on the boat and I was so open to everyone that I was the ship socialite and met a lot of people.  I drank beer, had dinner and spent some time in the bridge of the ship.  I had a very good chat with a man named Ischmel from Uganda, who found out his brother died this morning and was trying to get home.  He was not sure what had happened.  As it got late, I met a British man on the ship, who is on his way to do charity work teaching children, and the Chinese girl I met two days ago (the one that made me realize I am being too much of a little bitch) was sitting with him.  I befriended them both and sort of made short plans to travel with Jasmine, the Chinese girl.  I went to my own engineer’s sleeping quarters at midnight to get some sleep.

Today turned out to be an amazing bounce-back day.  Down to really high up…higher than I have been in a long time….What a day!

**FYI – Calling someone a Somalian in Tanzania is a fun, teasing, insult among friends.**

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1 Response

  1. Paschal Phares says:

    Hi there!

    First I would like to introduce myself to you! This is Paschal Phares on Ukerewe Island, Mwanza Tanzania. I was born here and I am a true kerewe man. I live on tourism as a local tour guide on the island. I work under One Way Tours& Safari LTD, a tour and safari company in Tanzania. I also have my online tour information on Safari Junkie(, an online travel blog focused on Africa.

    Now my point! Sorry to hear that Consolatha was not open to help you to explore Ukara Island, and that she did not like to go around with you on pikipiki(motobike) that later you decided to go back to Mwanza, something which was not in your mind at the time. But i am happy that you made some friends in Mwanza, who looked to restore your happiness although not all.

    Also, I would like to take this time to welcome you again to Ukerewe.
    Thank you. Paschal!

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