It begins at the glow of morn with a feathered alarm clock. A rooster will see to it that you get out of bed and if his first cry doesn’t get you, his buddy’s surely will. There is about an hour or so in the morning before the temperature begins to take its rise. The home stay family prepares our breakfast of bread and tea, or sometimes chapatti and coffee. If we have anything planned that day, I walk to the office which is about five minutes away. Along the way it seems that the word of the day (which has been the word of the day everyday for about a month now) is Muzungu! Muzungu! Muzungu! Even with over a month’s time passing the novelty of our presence has yet to wear off among the locals. They are usually quick to leave you alone though and hope to maybe get you the next day.
Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays we go into the Faraja office to assist several women as they practice their typing skills and basic computer operation. Outside of that I’ve only had two classes to teach so far. One was at a local secondary school and is the first of five afterschool sessions to discuss gender and gender based violence. The boys are very opinionated and give the kind of answers that would make a politician humble whereas the girls seem too afraid to say much of anything at all. It is still early on in that class though and I hope to see and hear more from them next time.
Last week we taught at another secondary school in Chamwino about the importance of tree planting. The class is an environmental club formed before our arrival and the kids seem knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the concept. We ended the class by planting a mango tree at the school and have plans to construct a Tippy-tap in the sessions to come. Later on this week we will be travelling out to Bamba to teach about good governance and ways to attain it.
Kilakala, where we reside, is a very dusty place. I imagine not all year around but in the weeks leading up to the rainy season, it is probably for the best to wear sunglasses and breathe strategically upon the roads with traffic.We usually have lunch at home around one o’clock or so which is either ugali and mixed vegetables or rice and beans. Whichever dish you have at lunch, the other can be expected for supper and vice versa. Sometimes we will grab lunch in at a café in town called Ricky’s which has fairly good food and reasonable prices.
There is an ample amount of downtime here, more than I’ve ever had in my whole life. I say that not in a bad way though, life is just much, much slower here and it gives you an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the things you have back home as well as admire the scenic beauty which Morogoro offers such as the Uluguru Mountains. I spend most of the time reading, writing or socializing with the locals and practicing my Swahili. The home stay family is tremendously welcoming and always makes sure that we are happy and healthy and show a genuine concern for our well being. There is a lot of laughter in our home stay; they have a great sense of humour, as most Tanzanians do. We have supper around nine o’clock and afterwards usually watch a little television and go to bed.
-Quinn McMorrow, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012