Sunday, 5 June 2016

Quads of Steel

Hello again everyone!
This week our team was at a bit of a standstill. In accordance with a new Tanzanian law that places stricter regulations on the activity of volunteer groups, we were not yet permitted to work to our host communities. With everyone’s mind becoming saturated from hours of project research, in the latter part of the week we decided to exercise our legs instead of our minds and bike to the villages in which we will be working to become more familiar with the route and the villages themselves.
Biking to the villages proved to be more difficult than anticipated, but nonetheless gratifying and enjoyable in its own way. Some challenges faced while biking in Tanzania include riding through deep sand, sharing the road with motorcyclists, beating the heat, and warmly returning greetings to roadside locals who were all eager to say “Hi” to us Wzungu (foreigners).
Gladness & Moni biking home from Kikongo

Eight kilometres southwest of Mlandizi, one of our host villages is Kikongo, in which SIHA’s health initiatives have been targeted primarily towards malaria and water sanitation. A highlight of our first visit here was being shown the rainwater collection system SIHA implemented back in 2012. It was exciting to see something we have been reading about in reports for the past year first-hand. On a second visit to Kikongo we also had the opportunity to meet with the standing WEO (Ward Executive Officer) to introduce the new team and inquire about his potential involvement in our projects.
SIHA also works in Mwanabwito (a village roughly twelve kilometres west of Mlandizi), the breathtaking route to which more than compensates for the longer bike ride. While waiting in Mwanabwito to have our introductory meeting with the VEO (Village Executive Officer), the SIHA team had the pleasure of watching schoolchildren exhaustingly playing ball for hours on end. We remembered, however, that water is only available 3 kilometres away at the Ruvu River, really driving home the issue of access to clean water in this community. In all, our time spent in Mwanabwito provided some necessary context for many of our projects this summer.

Our sixth team member, Maria, joins us today. We are excited to catch her up to speed in all that has gone down since our arrival and introduce her to all the lovely Tanzanians we have met thus far.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

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