We were thankful to meet the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Bernardin Mfumbusa, with whom we had corresponded over the last months. Because the house we were to occupy was not ready (there was some confusion over the date of our arrival), he took us to a local hotel, the Isamo (where we stayed for two nights), and then took us out for dinner at a lovely restaurant, the Tilapia (named for the local fish) which, as we soon realized, was one of the best of Mwanza.
View of Mwanza from the Isamo, looking south toward the peninsula on which the university is located; like Jos, the city is built on the rocks and is distinctively hilly
The next day Mfumbusa took us around to meet many people whom we needed to get to know on campus, so we got a good look at the facilities, and met so many that it was hard to keep track of them all!
Students were still writing exams to finish the first semester, so things were actually pretty quiet on the grounds for the first few days. This was good for us, because we had to do some shopping.
On Friday morning, first thing, the SAUT driver, Sylvester, took us to see the house, right smack in the middle of the campus, near the women’s hostels, not far from the classrooms and the imposing new library building. We discovered that the house already had some basic furniture, three beds, a dining room set and living room furniture and lerned that the refrigerator and stove would be delivered later that day. The house had been left stripped of everything by the former occupant, who had moved into Mwanza. After seeing it, we went shopping for pots and pans, plates, silverware and other basic kitchen equipment, as well as a first installment of groceries.
When we got back to the house after doing our shopping, we discovered that the stove and refrigerator had arrived, and were happy that the electrician also came to make sure everything was properly connected. That night we were able to cook a simple meal, get a shower, and sleep in new beds with new sheets! It was especially wonderful to be able to unpack our bags after all these weeks of travel. It would take us numerous trips into Mwanza over the next days to finish shopping for the basics, but we were thankful to have a good head start on the matter.
We were thankful too that Sylvester was with us when we went shopping the first time, because Swahili is a new language for us. Although the lectures at the university will be in English, everywhere else people speak Swahili! It would have been difficult for us to get the shopping done without some help.
The women's hostels, our nearest neighbors on campus
On Saturday we took a bit of time to explore our immediate surroundings, and
We also discovered that we do not need to go into Mwanza for all our purchases. Between the university (located on a peninsula of lake Victoria, outside of Mwanza) and the lake there are roads, and houses, and even some villages; as we took some walks over the next few days we found that people sell fruits, vegetables and other daily necessities like bread, and at prices that are comparable to what we pay in town. That will certainly simplify life for us the next few months.
But our main assignment is to teach in the Department of Philosophy. We were introduced to the head of the department, Aidan Msafiri, on the first day, and discussed the courses we were to teach.