13 July 2009
On Monday, Roslyn and I went to KCMC hospital to help check in a patient from Shimbwe. We couldn't really do much because we aren't fluent in Swahili, but it was a great way to gain exposure to some of the problems in the health care system.
We met with our supervisor, Sarah, for lunch and she told us about plans for Tuesday. On Tuesday, we followed Sarah and Susie as they visited the homes of women to make sure they were going to their appointments to get screened for cervical cancer. On Wednesday, we waited for two hours in Shimbwe for a volunteer to take us on home visits. There must have been some miscommunication because he was in town the entire time. At 4pm, Roslyn and I went to a meeting in town for about an hour then headed home. On Friday, we walked up and down Shimbwe visiting the homes of more women. Overall, the week was incredibly exhausting.
On Saturday, I went shopping at a thrift market where there were many locals and headed to the weekly meeting at my professor’s house. At the meeting we had to discuss our highs and lows for the week. For some reason, I couldn’t think of any highs. But, in retrospect, I could have said that one of my highs was going to dinner with Jen and Ros’s host sisters Jackie and Glory and their house help, Uswili. Jen and Ros decided to take them out to dinner because Glory had to go back to boarding school at the end of the week. When I started to talk about my lows, I started to choke up a little. I was frustrated about not being more useful for Minjeni. All Ros and I had done in the last two weeks was write up a nutrition guide on hypertension and child nutrition. We were supposed to present the child nutrition guide at Baby Day at Shimbwe on Saturday, but we were told that we were not needed because there were enough volunteers.
My professor told me that I should learn a lesson from every experience. I know this, but it didn’t hit me at first. So, what have I learned so far from the NGO that I work with- there is a lack of structure and there are issues with sustainability. Foreigners come and take charge of the four departments, only to leave in less than a year or even a month. Our supervisor, Sarah, came to visit her friends in Kilimanjaro and fell upon an open position in the health department. Now, she is in charge of that department. She is a cool person, but I just wish she had something for us to do and knew what she was doing herself.
I think I only got frustrated because my time here is running out quickly and I want to be helpful in anyway possible.
The excitement I felt when I first came here is dissipating. And the last 2 weeks are going by very slowly. I have had too much time to think about my life (grad school, family, future endeavors, etc.) - it's quite overwhelming actually.
However, all my time has not gone to complete waste!
- I'm teaching myself Swahili.
- I'm reading President Obama's book Dreams from My Father.
- And preparing for my TA position in the fall :-).
1 week and 2 days to go….
07 July 2009
On Tuesday, we went up to Shimbwe. We were on a dala dala for about 30 min and it got stuck in the mud when it tried to go up a hill. We were ill-prepared for our first day; it was raining and really cold (in the 30’s F). We walked for two hours to get to our first destination: a church on top of a hill. The “road” was very muddy and slippery. I am so glad that I wore my Tevas. The walk up was not horrible, but after 2 hrs I was really tired. Ros was gasping for air. Two interns for Minjeni are working on a project to teach the women of Shimbwe how to raise and take care of pigs. The reward: they get to keep the litter. When we reached the church we met 25 women who received more information about the pig project. The interns, one from England and the other from Sweden, had a translator tell the women about the project. The entire time, Ros and I were shivering. We could see our breaths and vapor rose from our shirts. We couldn’t help but laugh. After we left the church we went to visit the house of a woman with cervical cancer. Minjeni provided her with transport money to and from Dar to get free treatment. Sarah, our supervisor, was very glad to see that she was in better condition.
The first day in Shimbwe was incredibly stressful; it was very cold, we walked a long distance, and had to take beaten paths to get from one location to another while making a huge effort not to fall. In addition to that, Roslyn and I were falling from our Zanzibar high. Professor Stoltzfus was right about our return to Moshi from Zanzibar; she told us to be aware that we were going to have a taste of the good life, but we would return to the not-so-luxurious Moshi. On our last day in Zanzibar, I kept thinking that I was going back to NYC and had to constantly remind myself that that was not going to happen. However, I used the experiences from my first day in Shimbwe to prepare me for my next visit.
On Wednesday, we visited Minjeni’s office in Moshi. Our nutrition guide on hypertension was translated into Swahili by one of our co-workers and Roslyn and I wrote up a child nutrition guide for Baby Day at Shimbwe. We ran errands for Sarah- making copies of documents- and headed back to the office for a meeting. At the meeting we met the founder of Minjeni, Remana Aloni. She is also a nurse at Mawenzi Hospital. During the meeting she was updated on each of Minjeni’s four departments (health, economics, orphanage, and women). Ros and I work for Sarah in the Health Department. We were also introduced to many of the other volunteers- undergrad and grad students from the states, Europe, and Australia. After Remana heard updates from each department, we clapped three times.
Minjeni empowers the communities of Shimbwe in all of the aforementioned departments. The organization receives money from international donors. However, most of the money comes from membership fees. Much of the manpower comes from people who volunteer. So, I am really glad that I can be of service.
The hypertension seminar started at 11am Thursday morning. Many villagers came to get their blood pressure and BMIs checked. Ros and I also visited the Maternal and Child Health Clinic. I helped some of the mothers weigh their babies while Ros asked mothers about their infant feeding practices. Many of the babies we saw at the health clinic were very healthy and so one could assume that the mothers are receiving good care from the clinic. Only one baby was overweight. Around 1pm, we wrapped up the hypertension seminar and headed home. We decided to walk. The walk was scenic, but it took 2.5hrs to walk down 1800m.
Friday was a day to cook! We learned how to make Kiburu (a stew made with plantains and beans) and Kitololo (a stew made with spinach and flour) - two traditional Chagga dishes. Sarah took us down a treacherous hill to get to the hut of Susie, a volunteer for Minjeni. Susie’s hut is at least 6 feet by 6 feet, held together by dry mud and wood, and shielded from the rain by a piece of metal. There is only one bed for her and her two children, Forahi (which means happy in Swahili) and Erickson, and a small cooking space immediately behind the door. All of her cooking utensils and dishes are under her bed, and her apparel, shoes, and other household items hang from the walls of the hut. We helped Susie peel the plantains and sift through the beans for rocks. As the beans cooked, with the help of a translator, Susie told us her life story. Her mother and brother died before she finished primary school and a tumultuous marriage brought her back to Shimbwe from Dar.
I felt sorry about the unfortunate events that occurred in her life, but I didn’t feel sorry about her current situation; she is a member of an empowering organization, a great resource for information, and she appears (to me anyway) to be happy. Not too far from the hut was the foundation for her bigger and better home, which was funded by Minjeni. Then, I thought about how Susie’s life is a prime example of how living in a big home or having a lot of money doesn’t define success. Instead, success can be living in a state of happiness and enjoying life.
Before we ate our final products, we went to get water from a creek. Susie makes two trips every day to this creek. Getting to the creek is not a problem- it’s the return trip that is really strenuous. As I felt my thighs burn from the walk up hill, I commended her for doing this daily. The Kiburu and Kitololo were good and filling. We took group pictures and headed home. Forahi was very sad to see us go, but Ros and I told her that we would come back before we left Tanzania.
I love where I work; I feel like I am on a safari, but more importantly, I am being immersed in the Tanzanian culture. It’s so fascinating that the different settings of Shimbwe and Moshi Town are only less than 30 min apart. I go to work in the hills of Kili and come back to the paved streets of Moshi.
In the evening, the Cornell students and some volunteers from Minjeni went out to IndoItaliano. I had mutton curry off the Indian menu. This time it was cubed and very spicy =). After, Indo, we went to D’Chez for some ice cream, got to know some of the interns some more, and took a taxi home. Saturday night was incredible! We went to La Liga (a club in town). La Liga was crowded, but the music was great. There were strobe lights that make people with and without rhythm look even better on the dance floor. We danced for four hours straight!
I have more time to myself since I started my internship, but when I get home I am exhausted from hiking up and down Kilimanjaro. So, I eat dinner with the family and then go to sleep. If I’m not too tired, I write in my journal, read The End of Poverty, learn some Swahili, or watch Al Jazeera.
I miss my family (Mummy, Dempsey, Herby, and Ms. Lane), friends, and NYC (not really, but a little…).
Siku ninguine (another day)!
02 July 2009
I have a lot to say so keep on if you can keep up! :-)
Fin de clase (End of class)!:
Class ended on Wednesday and it was the greatest feeling ever (not really, but it’s up there)! On Monday, my group members and I created our Power Point Presentation (PPT) for our case study, and proofread 36 pages of text. I was in charge of compiling our references, so I fine combed 5 pages to make sure they matched the citations in the text. At the end of the day, I couldn’t wait to go home and crash in my bed. The next day, three groups presented their case study PPTs. The subsequent discussions were very informing and interactive. It was evident that the students put a lot of effort into developing their case studies. On Wednesday, my group was the first to present. For some reason I was slightly nervous because we had finally reached the end and were presenting our work from the last 4 weeks. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. However, during the discussion, I was an active participant and the nerves slowly died down. After the final two presentations, we did the pasha pasha (heat). It’s a form of applause in
Later in the day, we had an ice cream social at Deli Chez (we can’t get enough of this place). At D’Chez we sat at a long table on the roof under a red canopy. This time I ordered a banana split with 1 scoop of coffee and 2 scoops of cookies and cream. It was gone in two seconds…One of the KCMC students thanked Prof. Stoltzfus on behalf of all the TZ students. It was a very sweet moment. Then, for the next 30 min we went crazy taking pictures all over the roof. It was the last time that the KCMC and Cornell students would be with each other so we cherished the moment.
Before the sun set, I went to the Kindoroko with one of my classmates, Danielle, to meet another Cornell student volunteering in Arusha. We were there for about 20 min to play some catch up and then had to head home to get ready for our trip to
Before we departed for
As thedate drew near, we realized that there wouldn’t be enough time to spend one night in Dar; traveling from Moshi to Dar is about 8 hrs and from Dar to
Adey and I woke up at 5am on Thursday to get ready for our 7:30am departure on the Dar Express. We were driven in a private dala dala to the bus station. B Chu rode behind us and we said our goodbyes. Adey and I were given the contact information for the guide we would meet in
The ride on the Dar Express was grrrreat! It was air-conditioned, we were given candy and drinks, the ride was very smooth and the attendant was extremely kind. I had the first seat on the bus and a perfect view of the road and the thought of going to
We rolled into Dar around 3pm. Pamela, B Chu’s youngest daughter, met up with us in Dar and arranged our transport from the bus station to the harbor. The streets of Dar were crowded. It was interesting to see the metropolitan side of
I was so pumped as I boarded Super Seabus III (grandson of Super Seabus I)! Our seats were originally on the lower deck, but an attendant allowed us to sit on the upper deck. I am so glad he did, because I had so much fun on that ferry! I didn’t even sit in my seat. We stayed on the side rails taking pictures. None of us could believe that we were heading to
[Important side note: One of the men’s track coaches, Coach Thompson, brought me Lonely Planet: Tanzania when he found out I was going to Moshi. This book has been my g-o-d! It’s incredibly helpful and I used it everyday in
At 6pm, we met our guide, Iddi, at the harbor. After going through customs, we were taken to the Bandari Lodge. We were supposed to stay at Adam’s
Many of us were hungry, so I consulted my Lonely Planet for a nice restaurant. We headed to the Old Fort, which was used by the Omani Arabs as a defense against the Portuguese. We sat underneath trees laced with Christmas lights and had good food (Hawaiian pizzas, Thai noodles, and sandwiches). As I waited for my food, I walked around with Ros and we saw the outdoor theatre, which looked more like a mini Roman Coliseum. We also visited the shops near the theatre and I was amazed at all the beautiful goods
One busy day:
Friday was packed to capacity. The Bandari provided us with a free breakfast, which was great! I had tea, a small loaf of bread, jelly spread, and fruits. At 9am, we left the lodge for our first activity, the city tour. We met Iddi and our next guide outside of the Bandari. We walked down
Somewhere along Darajani, we were passed onto another guide who was with a group of British tourists. We latched onto their group and began the city tour. Our first stop was St. Monica’s Hostel and the Old Slave Market. Before the Hostel was built, slaves were held in cells underground. We went into the basement and viewed the holding cells. The ceilings were extremely low and the space was really tight. Then we walked over to the Anglican Cathedral next door and visited the tombstone of Edward Steele, a missionary who translated the bible into Swahili and built the church. Outside we viewed the Slave Monuments. It was an incredible sight.
Then we walked through the inner streets of
At the end of Gizenga was our next destination, the Beit El-Ajaib (House of Wonders). It used to be the Sultan’s Palace, but is now a museum. The doors were made in
It was around 12pm when we walked out of the museum. I flipped the pages of my Lonely Planet and asked, “Where should we go for lunch?” The answer: Buni’s Café located right on the beach with good and reasonably priced food. I order rice with beef curry. My beef curry came in a conch! After lunch, we headed to
We went in a small boat to get to
When we came back to shore, some of us headed back to the Bandari and others to Gizenga. We all met up at the Africa House Hotel for food. I didn’t eat anything at
Our arrival in
Before we went to Boani, we went to Livingstones, named after missionary David Livingstone. The restaurant was located right on the beach and was packed: people were sitting on the steps and in the sand. There was a live band so some of us went inside to dance. I really felt like I was in Dirty Dancing
Around 11pm, we took a taxi to Boani. The dance floor was on the large roof. So, we walked up the ramp and meandered our way through the crowd to the back near the swimming pool. It was interesting to see that a lot of the men here dancing with each other. They aren't homosexuals, they just enjoy the music and love to dance. The women didn't act differently than women in the states would. I just thought it was interesting that during the day, the women are very conservative and at night, it's a different story. Back to the fiesta- the music at Boani was amazing! We danced to all kinds of music. At some point we did the Macarena. At around 1:30am we decided to go home and it’s a good thing we did because this guy, who clearly had too much to drink, started to bother all the girls in the group. Specifically, he told the Black girls that we weren’t any better than him just because we were from
Saturday was a day to shop and head to the beach. All the girls in the group hit up Gizenga. I purchased some more scarves; I haven’t seen a variety of scarves in Moshi and I couldn’t resist (well I could, but I didn’t want to). After two hours of shopping, we headed back to the Bandari to head to the beach. After thoroughly consulting Lonely P and talking to the locals, Kendwa beach was the best beach to go to. It was on the northern tip of the island and it was worth the hour to get there.
Kendwa is similar to a beach you would see in a traveler's magazine. It was breathtaking, clean, dotted with people…I was in paradise… First, we had lunch at the restaurant. I had a beef-filled chapati. Mmm mm good… When the sun came out to play we jumped in the water. The
Back at the Bandari, we freshened up and went to the fish market to get some dinner. It was very crowded because of the film festival at the Old Fort. For dinner I had fried octopus with lime. It was delicious! According to one of our guides, octopus is the local viagra. He said whenever people eat octopus, their calls will be answered during the night and they would be taken care of…interesting…! To cap our trip to
We danced in the restaurant and outside as it rained before we left. I had a blast! Once we got back to the Bandari, I packed a little then hit the sack.
It's so hard to say goodbye...to
On Sunday, we had to head out early for our 7:30am ferry. Paying for the hotel was a huge hassle because some people had to share beds last minute and paid in Shillings and USD. Adey and I were converting left and right to make sure the money was adding up. I was panicking because we were being rushed so we wouldn’t miss the ferry (I don’t know why because the harbor was only 2min away by foot). I am assuming we paid him the right amount because B Chu hasn’t told us that any money was missing from our stay and three of us counted and converted the money (Ros stepped in to help :-).
The ride on the ferry back to Dar was scary!! The small boat was cutting through the water at high speed and jumping through the air. I thought I wasn’t going to make it out alive. I have never been sea sick before and I felt like I was going to vomit. Women were screaming and couldn’t be calmed down by the attendants. People were vomiting left and right and we watched a bad television show. It was just horrible. The ride on the bus back to Moshi wasn’t any better. The driver kept stopping every 15min before we hit the man road to pick up stragglers and vendors. The bus was also speeding as well and only slowed down to drive over speed bumps. We were on one of the most dangerous roads in
After being on the bus for 10hrs, we reached Moshi at around 9pm where B Chu picked us up at the bus station and brought everyone home. Then I watched the Confederation Cup final between
Coming back to Moshi after being in