Our first week alone went pretty smoothly. We have decided to work nearly every day. It takes us about an hour to walk to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) office, and an hour to walk home. Some days we get rides when we are going to places that are close to our neighborhood, but for the most part we are planning to walk everywhere. Moshi’s transportation system, mostly consisting of dala dala’s or taxis, is fairly cheap, but those costs added together over the course of a year can really pile up. Because of that, the price of gas, the “fuel efficient” Land Rover, and our need to train for a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro, we have decided that walking is the best form of transportation for us.
While there are nearly 200,000 people in the Moshi metropolitan area it feels like a small town. Everyone says “Jambo,” meaning “hi,” and people ask how you are doing as you cross paths. Most people walk. We were informed that 4% of the people in Moshi have a vehicle. When we look at the roads and see the number of people walking, we believe this statistic! Women walk with large bunches of bananas or avocados on their heads, children run around and play in the fields, and men push carts or ride bikes to their work. The bright colors, sounds of merchants selling their items, and smells that come from the cooked corn and fresh produce that are sold on the street make the walk to the ELCT office very entertaining. When you combine those things with the hospitality and general kindness of the culture, our commute does not seem to take long. Check out the photos to see some of the images we see on our walks!
Last week, we had many meetings. We met to discuss the needs of the international volunteer program. We met with a private clinic to organize a type of alternative healthcare for the children served by BCC. We met a nurse that works for the ELCT office; she plans to help BCC with trainings, health screenings for the children, and many other programmatic needs. We also went to a farm that is growing in a desert. We will share more about this in an upcoming blog! With several meetings with potential community partners, coupled with several meetings with the Director of BCC, Kaaya, we feel that we had a very successful week!
The events for the upcoming week will be scheduled as we go. We are going to Arusha to meet with a potential grant source on Monday. Thursday through Wednesday of the following week we will host medical students from the Lutheran Medical Campus in Moshi. They will be learning how to treat children with intellectual disabilities. That will be a great learning experience for them, but we aren’t sure how much work it will mean for BCC. They were not willing to do official assessments on the children. They wanted to visit some centers and see the children without formally assessing them. It will be interesting to see how the experience unfolds.
Finally, we want to wish every mother a belated Happy Mother’s Day! Yes, we did call our mothers and grandmothers yesterday. We love and miss them very much!