Friday, September 14, 2007

Tunazoea mazingira - We are controlling our environment

Over the past week, we have seen President Kikwete speak in Mpwapwa, cemented our tiny dirt courtyard, and visited with our nearest PC neighbor Ben, who comes to Kibakwe regularly to buy supplies. As you can see in the photos, a presidential visit in Tanzania is much different than one in the U.S. This took place on the soccer field outside of the primary school in Mpwapwa and he spoke for about two hours, mostly about the importance of building schools.

When we returned to Kibakwe, the work began on our patio. First, dirt was dug and carried bucket by bucket from the field across from our house to grade the base for the cement. Then, cement, sand, and rocks were mixed in a pile outside our courtyard and carried in bucket by bucket ( this is how most work is done in Tanzania) and finished. The entire process took about three days - a landspeed record for a Tanzanian fundi (caraftsmen). There was only one day of lag time between grading and cementing.

As you can see, Carla and I decided to put our mark on our home in Kibakwe.

Our closest PC neighbor Ben, who lives in Kingiti 11km away, regularly rides his bike to Kibakwe to buy supplies and to visit with the other Wazungu (white people). The picture above shows how Ben is able to haul sundries back to his village using the available resources. Keep in mind that the road between our villages is not tarmac, but dirt. So imagine taking this load on an American style mountain bike trail and you get the idea.
We just bought a ton of supplies in Mpwapwa yesterday, so the next few weeks will be filled with tiling the bafu (shower/bathroom), painting, planning and building the vegetable garden, and furnishing our house. We spent the night at our friend Angus's house - he's a VSO volunteer from England who teaches computer technology at the teacher's college in Mpwapwa. If you'd like to know more about Angus, visit: . Our friend Matayo, who has a stall in the market here, has been such a great help to us, and to all of the volunteers in the region. Yesterday he went with us from duka (shop) to duka to buy tiles and paint and furniture and cushions and helped us tremendously. Our friends Lisa and Russ (PC education volunteers who live in Mpwapwa) are in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro for a couple of weeks working with the new education volunteers and they're presence here is missed. To learn more visit:
Well, that's all I have for right now. I'll try to post again before we leave for Kibakwe tomorrow. Also, I will try to post many pictures on my Shutterfly site. Tutaonana baadaye (We will see each other later).

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