Lake Victoria: The adventure continues.

Waking on Saturday morning, to Tom going down to pre-order our breakfast, I soon realised all was not well.  I also soon realised that the toilet of door-inclusive-delight, was soon to be known as the toilet of doom, and I was unlikely to escape it for much of the weekend.Nonetheless I headed down for breakfast, Tom assuring me that eggs of any sort cure stomach trouble.  I still don’t know if this is true, or just part of Tom’s egg obsession.  Anyone know by the way?

Anyway, I hopelessly asked the hotel-keeper whether there was any way of getting medicine on the island, or failing that, could I find some aloe vera somewhere (I am a dab-hand at whizzing up a bit of medicinal aloe juice).  Grinning, “Come with me, I’ll take you to the pharmacy”.  Gleefully, I skipped off after him, only to stop in front of a shed in the garden, about 20 yards away.  Aha.  This sort of pharmacy.

A stern looking “Mama” opened the, erm, hole.  “Mmm?”, she grunted.  “I’m sick,” I told her, “Do you have any medication??”  “Ahhaaa, you have malaria!” she announced.  “No, no, not malaria, I only arrived yesterday.  I have a sick stomach”.  “MMmmmm.  Come round to the front counter”.  Round I waddled to the front counter, to have 2 huge pills thrust at me.  “These will cure you”, she announced.  For 150 bob, this promise didn’t sound too bad.  Thanking her, I sped back off to the hotel, to guzzle my pills and hope for the best.

After a quick lie-down, we had to rush to get the daily boat to Mfangano Island.  An hour and a half fishing boat trip into the centre of the Lake, to visit this island promising beautiful mountains, ancient cave paintings, and much more.  As people and food and water were piled into the fishing boat, I soon fell asleep, despite the waves lashing at the sides of the wooden boat… and I woke only an hour or so later, as we neared the island.

As the boatman came around asking for ticket-money, the man next to us (who claimed he had spotted us the day before on the island) insisted on paying for both of us.  Kenyans are truly some of the most hospitable people ever – he was just thrilled to welcome us to his island.  We clambered out of the boat, to be met by George, the island tour guide.  Given my dwindling health, I was sad to announce that I would have to take the afternoon boat back to Mbita, as I could not cope with a night of camping free of all facilities.  I was already feeling decidedly peaky.

So George rushed us off on motorbikes, to hike up the mountain to see the cave paintings that are one of Mfangano’s unique attractions.  Village children were in raptures to see the “mzungus”, and we barely put our arms down for the amount of waves and greetings we had to return.  A group of three children rushed over, and presented me with a large, crucified beetle.  Hmm.

We set off up the mountain, me slowly but surely becoming more and more sick, and faint, and having difficulties climbing up a rocky mountainside.  Eventually I had to give up, and sat down on a memorable big rock, urging Tom and George to go ahead and visit the rock paintings.  So sadly, I can’t actually comment on the cave, or the ancient paintings.  I was asleep on a rock on the mountainside.

Soon Tom and George came hurtling down the mountain, “We just spotted the boat, it’s about to leave!”  Great.  George had rung the boatmen on his mobile, and urged them to wait for the mzungus.  So even I had to muster all my energies, to bomb down the mountainside, scramble onto a motorbike, and charge back to the boat “dock” (bit of sand).  Thanking George, we hopped on the boat, next to a huge sack of stinking fish, and set off back to Mbita.


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