Day 5 – January 15, 2018

After a very long day and late night on Sunday, we started the day rather late for us with a celebration of the Mass with Bishop Flavian Kassala in the chapel in his home, beginning at 9:10 a.m. It was a great way to start the day. Then, after a good breakfast with Bishop, we set out in different directions on or various missions.


Our project needed drill bits for our drilling rig, because those we had purchased in the U.S. prior to the trip were lost in transit by the U.S. Postal Service. We also needed casing and other equipment and supplies, so those of us involved in the drilling project, Fr. Matthew, Fr. John, Sixtus (an employee of the diocese), Joseph (our driller), Anthony, Shemasi (Deacon) Denny and Salty began visiting and searching suppliers and fabricators in Geita. That took several hours and ultimately proved fruitless. So we decided we had to go back to Mwanza to acquire what we needed.

After a late lunch with Bishop, Fr. John, Anthony, Denny and Salty headed out to Mwanza with our driver, Augustine. Fr. Matthew was to come later after some repairs were made to his vehicle. The trip was interrupted when police officers stopped us on the highway for no reason of any violation on our part but rather to search for some technical violation with our vehicle. This is a practice of the police when they are looking to threaten a citation, in the hope that we will pay them cash in the spot not to issue. Two of them insisted that there was a crack in the windshield, but try as they might, they could not find one. Eventually they gave up and let us go on our way.

When we got to the ferry we had to take across a finger of Lake Victoria. There was a very long line of traffic, including passenger vehicles, trucks of all sizes and buses. Augustine placed our vehicle in line, and the rest of us went into the ferry terminal to buy our tickets to the ferry. Unfortunately, there were so may vehicles ahead of us, Augustine was not able to get onto either of the two ferry vessels the first time or the second time. Each time we missed the ferry, it cost us over an hour, because the round trip takes each ferry about an hour and a quarter. We had hoped to get across the lake before dark, but by the time we had a chance to get on one of the ferries, it was well after dark, and huge swarms of insects were buzzing all about. Although Augustine still wasn’t able to get our SUV on the ferry for a second time, the rest of us decided to get on the ferry, get across the lake and take a “taxi” to Mwanza and let Augustine catch up with us later.

Across the lake 30 minutes later, Fr. John negotiated a price for a van to take us to Mwanza, and by the time we got to our hotel, the Victoria Hotel, it was about 9:30 p.m. We checked in, put our bags in our rooms and went to the hotel’s restaurant for a delicious dinner of tilapia, chicken, rice, vegetables, “chips” (french fries), ugali and ice-cold beers that “Mr. Michael,” one of the hotel staff members procured for us from outside the hotel. (Denny and Anthony had gotten to know Mr. Michael from their original mission trip to Tanzania two years earlier.). Augustine joined us a bit later, and after dinner we finally retired to our rooms about 11:15 p.m.

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