my love affair with Kigoma

Kigoma Travel Blog

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The lady with the stick in her chin!!!

When they called me for a position in TZ, I was really excited; I have never been in this part of Africa …. Dar es Salaam…ouaw I was actually going to live for a whole year in Dar… So I arrived in TZ in September, did my check-in and all the administrative bla bla bla. The next thing I knew, I was being transferred to a place I never even heard of….Kigoma!!!
I must admit when I reached Kigoma and saw that there was only one main road from the airport to the town, no decent restaurant (I love my food, I have to have good food!) and (guess what) no decent looking or cute guys walking around town… I was devastated!
But then something happened… I did my first repatriation convoy… hundreds and hundreds of people voluntarily choosing to return home and boarding a ship that would take them there.

MV-Mongozo, the ship that will take the refugees home!
  Most of these people fled their country many years ago due to war.  Now they had decided to return home and the happiness on their faces was unforgettable.  They were chanting and dancing and saying prayers to thank God.

The dancers in these pictures are refugee artists. They provide entertainment in the camps, especially when there are special events. From what I was told, this is a tribal witchcraft dance. Whoa….scary!

The lady with the stick in her chin was quite scary too, she once came towards me … and a little voice inside told me…  “Run for your life Heiiiss! Run… and don’t turn back!”
I did not want to look ridiculous though so I just smiled and grabbed tightly onto my colleague’s arm instead! But when the dancer invited my boss to join her for dancing, I thought he was going to faint (lol)!
So my love affair with Kigoma started right then and there.

goodbye Kigoma!
.. on my first convoy.  

I understood that being in Kigoma was much more fulfilling and rewarding than staying in an office in Dar! Since then I have worked on many repatriation convoys.  Each time, I feel a mixture of sadness (because they have nothing and I still complain about not having good food!) and happiness in my heart…. Seeing their faces…old people, men, and women, young women who are practically still children with children of their own, all finally going home and trying to reconstruct a new life!

I wish my English (only my third language) was richer so that I could really explain the emotions and experiences of working everyday with refugees.

Ntalaluka says:
Nice to here that.. Is my motherland.!
Posted on: Dec 27, 2012
sybil says:
what a great blog!
Posted on: Jul 30, 2008
heiss says:
I gave up on that!(lol).
Posted on: Jul 30, 2008
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The lady with the stick in her chi…
The lady with the stick in her ch…
MV-Mongozo, the ship that will tak…
MV-Mongozo, the ship that will ta…
goodbye Kigoma!
goodbye Kigoma!
Congolese refugees going home afte…
Congolese refugees going home aft…
tribal dancers
tribal dancers
a little break for the dancers!
a little break for the dancers!
last check before the refugees boa…
last check before the refugees bo…
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photo by: heiss