Waiting…and more waiting.
There is one thing that probably all volunteers in Tanzania would agree on; Tanzania teaches you how to wait. Waiting 2 hours for your food to come out at a restaurant? No problem. Waiting 4 hours for your bus to arrive while sitting on a bucket? No big deal. Waiting 3 weeks for your jembe (garden hoe) to be returned when your neighbor said he just needed it for a minute? Totally normal. Waiting 4 months for your community to contribute sand and gravel to a project they agreed to contribute to 9 months ago? Ok, now that is frustrating.
And that is what we are doing now. We are waiting for our village government and teachers to convince community members to contribute their 25% portion of the construction project that we have been planning for the primary school since last September. When we discussed their contribution during the planning process, everyone said “Usijali! Hamna shida!” (Don’t worry! No problem!) over and over, but now that the time has come to actually contribute, it seems to be a problem. We have tried all sorts of methods to coerce the village leaders into doing their part. We have given them options- they can contribute money, or bricks, or sand, or rocks, or labor. We have told them we will have to give the money back if they don’t contribute. But the village leaders are just refusing to take any initiative to make it happen. It is irksome, to say the least.
But thankfully, Tanzania has given us a lot of practice in patience in this last year and a half, so we have not given up yet and have a few more ideas of how to get the project moving without being the aggressive, impatient Americans that we could potentially be viewed as. So to all of you who contributed to our project, don’t worry, it is going to happen. It is just moving very slowly from our perspective, though at a very normal rate from our villagers’ perspective.
Besides this small frustration, life in the village the past few weeks has been really great. I was able to do the re-usable pad project again with 100 more girls and Andrew finished up his environment club at the primary school. He also started doing small seminars with a couple men from the village about soil science and raising chickens. Almost every morning we start the day off right by cooking an incredibly unhealthy amount of fried potatoes and often eat them with pancakes and coffee. We have been getting in some good quality time with each other and with friends. To close, here are a few random pictures for your enjoyment.