Friday was our last day at Mazimbu. This is always a bittersweet day, filled with farewells and promises for next year; yet it is also the beginning of our short time to be tourists in this beautiful country.
Four short out-patient procedures were on our calendar and we quickly learned than one patient cancelled due to a death in his family. That patient was invited to call Mazimbu next week to make arrangements for Dr. Kivuma to do his surgery. By reserving our last day for out-patient procedures, Doug ensures that he does not leave anyone still admitted to the hospital.
Once the work was done, we had to return our pharmacy to its former state as Matron’s office. Our supply of meds were divided up—many were left in Dr. Kivuma’s care at Mazimbu, giving him a store to draw on for patients who cannot afford their price. The balance was divided between a store to be sent to the Diocese’s remote dispensary, Mkulazi, and to Andrew Olsen, a Lutheran missionary we met at LJS who is preparing for a 10 year assignment in remote northern Tanzania with his wife and young daughters.
Since we left Mazimbu around 1, Epsilon suggested a rooftop restaurant for lunch. The view was spectacular, boasting 360 degrees of Morogoro with the cloud-capped mountains soaring above the rooflines. Conversation flowed among the team, Kilatu, Epsilon, Kishumu, Samwel and Denis. We talked of the weeks past, our homes, our families, our hopes and our dreams. It was a good thing that we all enjoy each other’s company because the restaurant kitchen was totally overwhelmed by our group and it was more than four hours before the last of our group received their meal.
Our arrival back at LJS left us only a few hours to pack for our return to Dar es Saalam.
Our bus pulled out of LJS at 5:30 am, before sunrise, to take us the 2 hours to Mikumi National Park, where we transferred to three open air safari vehicles to tour the game park. The driver of each vehicle spoke great English and was very knowledgeable about spotting birds and animals and explaining interesting information about each find. The animals are totally oblivious to our vehicle, which means that often they are very close. The most impressive were two Mama elephants with their suckling young that were grazing only about 15 feet from the road and continued grazing right up to our vehicles, crossing our road and continuing on their way. We also saw giraffe, warthog, impala, water buffalo, jackal, zebra, hippopotamus, wildebeest, crocodile, baboon, black-faced African monkey and monitor lizard.
After touring, we enjoyed lunch in a beautiful lodge overlooking the grasslands and wildlife. We were back on the road to LJS at 2, arriving at 4 pm. Following our plan, we scattered to grab the bags packed the prior night and loaded the bus and the extra car provided by the Diocese to make our trip to Dar more comfortable. Our final goodbyes were said to Epsilon and Samwel and we began our trip back to Dar (with Kishumu) at 4:30.
Traffic in Dar is beyond description. What used to take about 3 ½ hours 10 years ago took us almost 6 hours. After grabbing a quick bite at the KFC in Dar, we checked in to our Air BnB just before midnight.
Our plan today is a brief bit of shopping at Slipway, a local upscale shopping area with extensive vendor stalls in tents outside. This will be followed by lunch at Sea Cliff, which looks out over the Indian Ocean. We plan to arrive at the airport at 2 pm for our 4:45 pm departure.
This will be our last post for 2019 until we are able to be with you again and give you all our stories in person.