What We’ve Been Doing
What have we actually been doing here in Tanzania, you ask? Well I will tell you.
For the first 3 months of being at our site, our job is to listen and learn. Improve our Swahili, meet people in the village, make friends, form relationships, and find out the areas that people think the village needs to improve in, whether better access to water, better HIV/AIDS education, or anything, really. The goal of the first three months is to assess our village and discover what projects would be suitable to pursue over the next 2(ish) years.
So, that’s what we’ve been trying to do. It is a rather ambiguous assignment, which is good because every person’s village is different, so our daily schedule has absolutely no structure. Some days we go visit neighbors or friends and eat lunch or dinner with them. Sometimes we go visit people’s farms or gardens and try to learn what we can about what they grow and how they grow it. Sometimes we go to church, or we go teach English, or we go to the market. It is quite wonderful, actually, to not have a schedule. Some days we are busy from 8am to 9pm, and some days we have no appointments at all and just cook and clean and read, or go for a hike. It is glorious.
For example, last Thursday Andrew and I went to our friend Mwajuma’s house. She is 20 years old and a mother of two.
Her husband is also a friend of ours but he was busy farming that day. I brought ingredients to make banana bread with Mwajuma, because she wanted to learn. After cooking the bread (over wood, which was not easy), we went to a nearby waterfall to hang out. We threw rocks at a protruding stone in the water for a long time, and Mwajuma sang to us and then begged us to sing back to her. We finally caved, and I sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and Andrew sang a Spice Girls Song. Needless to say, our audience preferred Andrew’s song.
We were with Mwajuma from about 10am to 3pm. We went home and rested for a while and then went to dinner at another friends house around 6:30pm. We go over to this house a lot and usually watch soccer or the news on their little tv, but this time we somehow ended up on a show called ‘Wild Africa’, which was playing an episode about the African savannah. We found that hilarious, since we are so very close to the exotic places it spotlighted. We returned home around 9pm, where we then laid in bed under our mosquito net reading our Kindles until 11pm or so.
There’s a sample day for you, though it was not necessarily a normal day, since a ‘normal day’ doesn’t really exist for us. It was a good one though, a really good one.
Our three months of assessing our village though are almost up. On August 5th all of our class of volunteers will meet up in the center of the country for our Early Service Training. After that, we will take what we’ve learned and start doing projects. We can’t wait to get started, and can’t wait to see all of the other volunteers again as well.