Over the eight weeks we have here in Morogoro one of our projects is a series of educational workshops in a village about an hour away called Bamba. The people we have met in Bamba have really shown an interest in bettering their own education, as well as passing on whatever they learn to others in their village, and surrounding villages as well.
Our first week here we made the trip out to Bamba to introduce ourselves and hear what they are interested in learning from us. We packed ourselves into a taxi and headed out on one of the most interesting drives I’ve ever been on. The red dirt road was windy and bumpy through rolling hills. It seemed like a one way road with only room for one car….apparently it wasn’t! After about fifteen minutes the view opens up and you can see green tropical trees covering mountains all around you. I’ve been out to Bamba four times now and the view still amazes me, I doubt that will change.
Our first meeting was with a few village leaders and was very productive. We learned they are interested in learning about general nutrition, governance, infectious diseases and everything that goes along with maternal and babies’ health. As a group, we decided which topics we were qualified to teach and which ones we weren’t. We are very lucky to have help from a grandmother from our partner NGO who is very knowledgeable about maternal health, birthing, and aftercare. We decided it made sense to start with general nutrition, and that was my topic! We had our first workshop yesterday and it went really well. The biggest challenge I have found is knowing where to start with the material, and what is already known. It was a great feeling planning and facilitating a workshop; and getting it right! The learning objectives I came up with for the workshop were to highlight that different foods do different things for your body and to emphasize variety in diet to obtain all essential nutrients. I talked about food groups and which foods are high in which nutrients. There was really good feedback from the participants, including one man who told us he had never heard about fibre before, and was really happy he does now. An older woman also told us how she used to make beans in the morning, and eat them with rice for every meal until they were gone, but now she sees that it is important to vary your diet and provide your body with lots of different nutrients.
I left our first week in Bamba behind looking forward to the weeks to come and being very aware of how fortunate I am to be having such a rich experience in my first international volunteering adventure.
-Joanna Mendell, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012