10 June 2012
Well, it’s been a while now, I know. For a while, I just didn’t have anything interesting to report. And then for the last few weeks, bam! I got really really busy. I’ve been bouncing around between Moshi, Arusha, Dar, and Siha District (between Moshi and Arusha), living mostly on pb&j, and have a huge pile of dirty laundry.
I’ve volunteering with an organization called Shukuru. This probably isn’t news to you. And in fact, the people who read this blog all probably know basically what I’ve been up to anyway. So maybe this is just for posterity, or anyone who suddenly think, geez I’m bored, better go read Jamie’s blog. Shukuru is preparing to launch its pilot project at the end of the year, which will provide girls an opportunity to pay for their own secondary schooling (which isn’t free in TZ) through an entrepreneurial project, in this case, raising and selling chickens. At the end of one year in the program, their profits are matched by donors, and they will have enough money to pay for all four years of secondary school. In addition, they will have learned agricultural and basic business skills along the way. It’s pretty great, and completely innovative – no one has done this before.
So I now know a lot more about poultry than I did before, a lot more about education in TZ than I did before, and a lot more about starting an NGO in TZ than I did before. I’ve met some adorable girls, many of whom are smart and motivated but lack the resources to continue their schooling beyond the age of 12 or so. I’ll save talking about the many problems with Tanzanian education for another post; sadly, it will be a long one.
While I’ve been doing all this work, the weather has cooled (though please don’t take this to mean it’s actually cool – it’s more like typical June weather in New England – in other words, winter here is like summer there…), at least at my elevation. The corn is taller than my wall now and I can’t see any of my neighbors. The landscape has completely changed, and I need to take pictures to compare. The mosquitoes have mysteriously all but vanished from my house, and for the first time since moving in, the house is relatively bug-free. I can sleep with a sheet over me and not be drenched in sweat at night. I can take warm showers. I can eat bread and butter even thought fridge isn’t fixed. I think I’m even going to buy some cheese, thank the sweet heavens. If only milk could be stored at room temperature.
And while I believe in living in the moment and all that, I dread the return of the heat. I’m sure this pleasant weather won’t last nearly as long as I would like it to, which really, is forever. I also dread the next three months, when I will be working on my own (the woman with whom I’ve been working is going back to the States). I’ve failed for the last five months to make more than a couple of friends, only one of whom speak English, and she’s trying to leave as soon as possible. The loneliness is crushing, and I’m terrified that despite my efforts, I still won’t make friends and will just be…alone.
But anyway, below are some photos I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks: