Day 6 – January 16 – More Shopping for the Boys

After a night at the Victoria we checked out and started to shop for our list of needed items:

  • Bentonite – 3 bags
  • Cement – 1 bag/ 20 bricks – 5 bags
  • Pipe – 20 sticks
  • Brick machine
  • Drill and pump
  • Petrol – 20 liter
  • Grease – 5 kg
  • Diesel – 40 liter
  • Drinking water
  • Pump – water
  • Tarp – 2
  • Pipe glue and primer
  • Well pipe – 20 sticks
  • Gravel – 4 yards
  • Trowel – 3
  • Shovels – 5
  • Water
  • Float
  • Butane torch
  • Pineapples
  • Scoop
  • Boots
  • Antifreeze
  • Overalls
  • Vice grips
  • Gloves – 2
  • Die

In America this would be a stop at Home Depot or Ace Hardware and maybe the supermarket but in Tanzania it is an adventure. First stop is Manji’s hardware, this is a chain store which means they have multiple locations in town. You must be invited to go beyond the vestibule to shop which means you look around on the display wall and point to what you want. We were successful on tarps, butane torch, vice grips, gloves and a few other items.

Next was across the street (pedestrians do not have the right of way so be careful) where we bought boots (Mabula aka Anthony Cisneros has been working hard to live up to his name – one who brings rain)

Next door was a hardware store which had the 4″ hard pvc pipe we wanted and we began the required ritual of negotiation. 13 – 20′ pieces would be 550,000tz (Tanzanian Schillings – about $250 US). We offered 450,000tz raised to 475,000 with some added items (pipe glue) and they countered with 455,000tz (yes I was confused too) but they would not give us a receipt so we left.

We ended up at this shop where we got the pipe for 390,000tz including a receipt. The pvc is the well casing and we also bought 1″ pipe for the pump system. We got glue and fittings (they use screwed fittings on the one inch so our list grew because we now needed a die). We asked for primer but they did not have any. Our journey began. Anthony and Denny and this gentleman who wanted to be our driver began to walk throughout Mwanza’s shopping district looking for primer. We finally ended at another Manji’s where the manager explained they do not use primer in Tanzania. They use the glue only and when it fails in 6 months they do it again or live with the leak. We gave up on the primer but our leader “knew” someone who could get us a pump, more walking. Shopping means that each place tells you the next place to look. “I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy”

We met up with Fr. Bulala and Floyd who left Geita at 5:00 AM. They take Anthony to go fix Fr. Bulala’s vehicle which has been in the shop for a long time with a blown head gasket. Magfuli’s is the shop. It is not long before they are all back because the heads had been machined too much and could not be reassembled. New heads will have to be ordered and the repair made on another trip.

Floyd and Sixtus with the manager at Magfuli’s

It is time for lunch, as everyone is hungry and grouchy from shopping. Pizza, fruit and soda again.

When we were in Geita yesterday the guy at Epson told us that Atlas Copco was the place to go so after an internet search and lots of discussion off we went. It was hard to find as there are no road signs and google maps is still in the future. We did find it and after they let us in the compound (every place has a compound to protect the contents), we met Nicklaus who was very helpful. They do offer drilling equipment but not the material we were looking for. They told us to go to Mincon, a mining supplier. When we got there the guy we needed was not available but we knew we were in the right spot as the sign advertised drilling fluids and lubricants.

Success! They had Bentonite and the manager, Wim from South Africa, lent us a Venturi they had made for someone else to use. That will be another story. The Americanos, Anthony, Salty and Denny bought work shirts there as well as they also sell PPE (personal protective equipment). Almost done for the day, we only need pineapples (in order to demonstrate the corers Anthony brought as gifts for Fr. John’s Family) and water to drink. We got these off street vendors.

Waiting for the ferry to cross Lake Victoria, beautiful at sunset but then the bugs come out.

Although we are tired, we still have one more stop, Fr. John’s house in Isole. We get there late but they had been waiting for us. They had a meal which we ate and then ran. We ended in Sengarema at the Gold Stone hotel. Time for a beer and then bed after 1:00 AM.

Washing hands before and after eating is a big deal.

View of the first Manji’s from across the street on the second floor where we looked for LED parking lot lights for the cathedral.

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