It’s been a little over a month now since I’ve been in Mwanza City. When I was growing up here it was still a town, but was upgraded to city status about fifteen years ago, which was coincidentally around the time that we left. The skeleton of the city has remained the same, but things seem a lot closer now than they did when I was a kid, and the city feels a whole lot more crowded. The main language spoken here is Kiswahili (or Swahili).
Businesses start as early as 7am, and by 9am the city is bustling with people. Stalls are set up on sidewalks with a variety of merchandise. Some vendors even lay out their merchandise on tarp-like mats on the sidewalk. Walking here definitely puts to test the maneuverability of every pedestrian. At every few blocks, rows of motorcyclists stand awaiting customers to drive and at other blocks there are rows of taxis instead. Whenever I pass by these rows, at least one driver calls out to ask if I would like a taxi or would like to take the piki piki (motorbike). I shake my head and say, “asante” (thank you).
The cars here drive on the left-hand side of the road. The driver sits on the right. This is different from Canada, of course, and took me some time to get used to, especially when crossing the road!
Due to the rocky and hilly nature of the city, a lot of the houses are built on hills with large boulders surrounding their vicinity. It’s an amazing set up: tall, green hills spotted with aluminum roofs and brick houses. It all looks very well-balanced and dangerous at the same time.
The food is absolutely delicious! My favourites are all the street foods. These include mishkaki (grilled beef skewers), nundu (grilled beef fat skewers), mogo (cassava), and vitumbua. Other foods include ugali (cooked corn meal), spinach curry, and potato bhajias. Of course there are a whole lot more foods, and drinks such as coconut water and sugar cane juice from the streets and my favourite soft drink: Stoney’s Tangawizi (strong ginger ale). The fruit here is also exquisite. One fruit that I don’t think I’d find anywhere (even on the internet!) is called zaamburao here. It looks like a purple grape, but the skin, the inside flesh, and even the seed are all purple. The fruit gives an edge to the teeth but they’re sweet.
Mishkaki and Mogo
Strong Ginger Beer
Ugali and spinach curry
The Lake And ME!
They say pictures are worth a thousand words. I hope the beauty and serenity of Lake Victoria, which surrounds Mwanza city, comes across in these pictures.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself in Mwanza, and my most favourite times are the times spent by the lake.
The “Wild” Life
Of course Africa is known for it’s safaris and wildlife that roam the Serengeti plains and Ngorongoro crater (these would be the lions, wildebeest, zebra, elephants…the big animals). However, there are some intriguing animals that reside in the city itself. I haven’t yet been able to take a picture of the humongous storks that feed on the city’s garbage. But here are some pictures of other animals.