Nyiha Survey – Week 3

First Posted 16/09/2004 - Last Updated 22/01/2005

Sunday: Sleep wonderfully well. I even wake up half way through the night and notice how peaceful and quiet it is! Praise God! We go to a Church service in one of the villages we’ve been working in which lasts for 4 and a half hours! At the end when they were auctioning the things that the people had brought for the offering, somebody had brought a really sweet little pig. aaaaaah…

Monday: Went to the last village that we’ll do work in in this area but unfortunately they hadn’t been told we were coming so they hadn’t prepared the people for us to talk to. So we spend the day doing random things that need doing. We find out that the government officials from Ivuna (where we’ll be going tomorrow) are in town so we have a quick meeting with them and get their permission to work in the area as well as some information about where the Sichela people are living. Looking forward to going there tomorrow although I think we might have to forget about electricity for a few days…

Tuesday: We arrive safely in the Sichela area after a long and bumpy 5 and a bit hour journey and go to a couple of the villages there to arrange work for the next 2 days. The whole area seems very poor in many ways, and the poor roads make contact with other places quite difficult. Unfortunately it appears that the car didn’t enjoy the bumpy roads we made it drive on and it says it feels a bit sick. It says it’s rear suspension hurts but I’m not sure what the problem is.

Wednesday: We wake up and examine the car and Louise finds that the bottom section of one of the suspension springs has snapped off. We radio the office in Dodoma to see what we should do and they tell us to try and tie down the spring until we can get to a place to fix it. They also give us the news that Wayne Rooney has moved to Manchester United - slightly bizarre to hear the news in the middle of a village when we’re miles from the nearest telephone or mains electricity! Anyway, Richard (the Tanzanian guy who is with us for this part of the trip) and I manage to get some strips of rubber and tie them around the base of the spring, hoping they’ll stay in place for the next few hundred kilometres…!

We visit 3 villages during the day and ask the people questions about the Sichela language. It becomes clear that daily life here is quite tough and they kept reiterating the need for help in things like getting clean drinking water and other basic needs as well as the need for better roads in the area.

Thursday: Am woken up by 4 mice in our room and a pig outside it (which curiously makes the same noise as the mice but about 10 times louder). We visit one last village to talk to the leaders about the language situation and then make a quick visit to Lake Rukwa before starting the journey back to the main road. As we arrive at the lake a whole group of fisherman see the car and hurriedly pack their nets into the boat and push off into the lake thinking that we’re government people coming to arrest them for using illegal nets – very amusing!

Richard at Lake Rukwa

The whole landscape is very dry and dusty in contrast to most of the rest of Mbeya region. We drive for 3 and a half hours before seeing the first car – the only traffic jam was caused by the occasional herd of cattle crossing the road.

Traffic jam

Somehow the rubber strips we tied to the spring are still there after about 10 hours of bumpety-bump driving! We arrive in Mbeya town where we’ll stay overnight before trying to get the car fixed tomorrow morning. It’s nice to be back to tarmac roads, petrol stations, mains electricity and toilet seats…

Friday: We put the car in to the car hospital and spend the day relaxing at the local country club. We’re the only ones there so it’s very peaceful and quiet, and I even get to watch some of England playing cricket on TV for the first time in over a year! The car gets 4 new springs for a lot of money but hopefully it’s better now. We arrive back in Vwawa where we plan to stay for the next 2 nights before moving on to Zambia.

Saturday: We do work in the last village in the main Nyiha area. Getting ready to leave for Zambia tomorrow to try and find out if there are any Nyiha people there. We only have a few sketchy reports about the Zambian Nyiha so we don’t really know anything about them – including whether they are still there, and if they are where they live, so we’re praying that God would guide us as we go tomorrow!

Quote of the Week: “Subiri kwa dakika 10” (“Wait for 10 minutes” – the traffic sign at a set of roadworks. Presumably the issue of cars coming the other way isn’t important, just as long as you’ve done your 10 minutes waiting…)

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