In my last note I described our journey from Mansa town to Kasama in Northern Provice, and although the size and resolution doesn’t quite work on my blog, I uploaded a few photo’s from the journey. We were exhausted when we reached the provincial house in Kasama – Each province that has Peace Corps Volunteers has an office and resource center (we call them houses, because they are located in residential areas). We settled in, cooked a quick dinner, showered the 13 hours of sweat, dirt, and weariness from our bodies, climbed into our bunks and were out cold.
The next morning I woke up bright an early and watched the sun rise across the Kasama compound, and then wandered around exploring it. I’d been there once before, but it’d been over a year and a half now and I needed to familiarize myself with the area. A few new improvements had been made, and Northern province is known among our community as having the largest, and most beautiful compound (it’s exceptionally well maintained and organized). They have a barbeque area, a hammock lounge, a large Insaka (traditional meeting space for visitors and programs) a large conservation farming plot and demonstration area, as well as compost etc.
Here are a few of my morning shots:
The Hammock lounge:
The provincial vehicle and our logo painted by the volunteers on the side of our office within the compound:
The Northern House Insaka:
We cooked up our breakfast, and then packed up, steeled ourselves for another day of adventure and exploration and made our way to the hitching point. We were picked up at the gate of the Kasama house by a taxi and taken to a local market, then we stocked up on good water and some snack foods. After we’d picked up the perishable essentials we grabbed a ride out to the hitching spot, a sign and speed bump. We settled in, I put up my umbrella to create a modicum of shade, and we danced, joked around and chatted as we waited for transport to pick us.
Waiting for transport: hiding from the sun
We managed to get a hitch in a Ministry of Health Vehicle – a heavy duty truck that was part of a seven vehicle mobile hospital convoy – the ride was painfully slow (40kmph) but safe, comfortable, and in the shade. About 260 KM and four hours later we pulled into the junction outside of Mbala, and began looking for transport the last 30KM down into the rift valley and Lake Tanganyika. We could smell the moisture in the air, and the fresh breeze of oxygenated free air was intoxicating. We were so close!
Our MoH transport:
Our excited faces as we approached the Mbala/Mpulungu junction and the very last leg of our journey!
The Junction at Mbala
As we waited a cloud front moved in, and we watched the dynamics as the cool air from the plateau interacted with the hot lake air rising from the valley, the white fluffy cloud gave way to grey and dark brooding rain clouds, and as it began to sprinkle we boarded a private car and caught our ride down to the lakeside.
Exhausted we got dropped down by the lake. They’d wanted to take us all the way to our lodge, but the car bottomed out on the lake front road and high centered so we were forced to walk the last kilometer to the lodge. It was beautiful, the gorgeous lake – Mpulungu bay and town. As we walked along the waterfront we passed fisheries and informal markets, all overlooking the magnificent lakefront.