Decreed a rest day, but nonetheless quite busy. We slept solidly for about 10 hours and then got up for breakfast at about 8.30. I was still in my pyjamas when I looked in the kitchen for some a kettle of hot water. As soon as I spoke a cry went up from outside and Ernestina came in. ‘Richard, Richard, I need to see you.’ She then led me firmly outside in my pyjamas and to the front of the house where 3 men were sitting on a bench. They didn’t seem particularly surprised by the sight of a mzungu in his night attire, but I felt slightly uncomfortable. She pressed a carrier bag in my hand and then asked what time she should come back with the baskets we are to take back to the U.K. . I suggested 3 hours time, thinking of a leisurely breakfast and a gentle levee. I ‘showered’ i.e. threw a bucket of tepid water over my head and then sat down to some wonderful fresh fruit and bread and peanut butter. Then Nora put some salted roasted peanuts on the table for us to eat- they bear no relation to what we get in the U.K. and are utterly delicious!
Then Absalom arrived and John Ruzabila to see if we were all right, and to announce they were off to NAPS to say farewell to the children who were leaving. Then Thomas arrived and wanted to take us to meet Noela. So we drove the fifty yards to his house and were introduced to his wife Christela , his daughters Asante and Joan and of course to baby Noela, who is beautiful. I immediately became a doting godfather! We also met many other family members who have come for the baptism, including Christela’s mother. We took some pictures and then thomas’ brother questioned us about the U. K. He was obviously very interested in the way our country run. They were astounded to hear that we have homeless people sleeping on the streets and food banks. ‘How can that be when you are so rich?’ I replied that the greed of the rich is the same the world over and thus leads to great inequalities and we all agreed. Then we discussed the merits and deficits of socialist and capitalist societies, Thomas translating all the while. Noela had fallen fast asleep and frankly who could blame her! Suddenly we realised the time and hurried back to the House where Ernestina and Dorothee sat surrounded by baskets. Fortunately they hadn’t waited for me and business was more or less completed. However Christine saw a retail opportunity had nearly slipped by and so bought several baskets, bowls etc. spending all her Tanzanian shillings in the process!
It was now time to head to Ngara to buy SIM cards and water. Lunch was due, but we thought it would only take 30 minutes. BUT THIS IS AFRICA!! When are we going to learn? An hour and a half later we abandoned Dorothee and went to get water, jam and honey. Thomas then drive us home and went back to pick up Dorothee. Lunch was cool to put it mildly, but that was our fault. It was still delicious with beans in tomato sauce and cabbage with mashed potato and spaghetti. The fresh fruit was unbelievable – pineapple, papaya, avocado and banana all so sweet, it is hard to describe. Tonight we go to eat at Thomas’s.
We actually met at the Bishop’s House, and within a short time of arriving the heavens opened. There was thunder and lightning and the rain hammered down. Unfortunately it did not last. Thomas’ family arrived and we had to go through all the introductions. We gave out presents to the children and to Thomas and Noela. The children clearly loved the dolls and later in the evening they tied them to their backs. Food was served and it was quite a feast. There was beef stew for the meat eaters, the wonderful cabbage mixture, peas in a sauce, rice, macaroni and ‘pizza’ which was mainly a thick base with macaroni on top and some hint of tomato sauce. I think it would have confounded an Italian and certainly puzzled us! We ate and chatted and then, about 9 o’clock we headed home as we had to be in the cathedral at seven! Our alarm was set for 5.30.