Tea Factory Tour

Sep 16

Today’s plan was to visit the UNILIVER Tea Factory in Mufundi. My expectations? A quiet day in the mountainous region in an English like garden sipping tea? The reality was much different. To reach the tea plantation is about a 2 or a 2 and a half hour trip. From paved road the rocky roads I associate with Tanzania. We left Iringa later so we could have a casual day. Mistake! Before we even reached the tea plantation it was past time for lunch. We stopped at Kanisa Katoliki Parokia ya Kibao, translation Kanisa Catholic Parish of Kiboa. Fr. Chesci warmly greeted us and fed the group lunch then provided a tour of the secondary boarding school which houses, feeds and educates 212 students. Since his student population is outgrowing his facilities, he proudly showed us the construction site of the soon-to-be two story school. Before getting back on the road, we visited the church and prayed for the success of his venture.

Then it was on to the tea factory. After a few false starts, we finally found the right place and were we in for a surprise. We needed gear for our tour: lab coat, hats, masks, ear plugs and for those of us in open toed shoes, boots that would have made Frankenstein jealous. But the tour was priceless. We were not able to take pictures in the factory so the best we could do was a fashion show of us in our garb. I will never look at a tea bag in quite the same way.
We thought our day was over. A quick dinner at Stan’s and then relaxation. However, he invited guests. Two Lutheran missionaries from the States and Richard Kasesela, the district Commissioner of Education. What a delightful man with a vision to make Iringa the knowledge city. We are now officially members of the Iringa Knowledge Society. Richard’s goal is to bring computer education to students of Iringa and transform education. When he speaks of his is ion, his face lights up but he has many obstacles to making his vision a reality. It was an enlightening evening.