The reason for our visit to Bukoba was the connection it has with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. This long-established connection has flourished because of the fortunate circumstances of Mr. Smart Baitani, of Bukoba, and his visit to Minnesota via Wartburg College of Iowa. That's a long and very entertaining story. Suffice it to say that Smart has returned to Bukoba and both Minnesota and Bukoba have benefited greatly from their association.
We brought several suitcases of goods for the children of Bukoba with us. Smart arranged a party for us at his newly built home on a hill overlooking the valley and entertained us with a performance of the Imuka Singers. It was a fantastic experience.
The town of Bukoba is very intriguing and we would have loved to have time to visit for a while. Our schedule didn't include this luxury, however. But here are a few highlights.
Buildings range form a beautiful Catholic cathedral to some very primitive structures.
Parts of the town had an almost "New Orleans" look to them.
Beneath the surface there were real signs of poverty.
Bukoba was the home town of the Tigo marketing manager that I mentioned earlier. It also was the hometown of a Catholic priest from Dar Es Salaam whom we met later. He happened to be serving as translator and resource for these two researchers from the University of Minnesota. They happened to be in Bukoba gathering data on deforestation. They found the city to be a wonderful place to visit.
I think we'll have to put Bukoba on our list of places to visit again.