Bhreagh and I just finished our second week at the Umoja centre here in Arusha and we already feel like part of the team. We have started teaching our Key Skills classes which will cover a range of topics over the next 8 weeks including; personal hygiene, environmental sanitation & diseases, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. We have also begun planning our community development project which is split into two parts.
First, we are continuing the work of past volunteers by implementing water taps that release clean water for washing hands after using the washroom. Second, Bhreagh and I established our own community project in which we raise awareness about recycling, specifically composting food waste. As of right now, all garbage in the area is burned and most families throw away their leftover food (banana peels, orange peels, rice, beans, etc). Since most families grow some, if not all of their own crops, we want to show the community how to efficiently use their food waste to improve their crop yield. We plan to implement the composting project at the Umoja Centre and then branch out into the community.
We have also recognized that many of the students here at Umoja are very interested in music and dance. As a result, we have started a dance club twice a week in which we expose the students to different genres of music from here in East Africa as well as genres found in other parts of the world.
In general, Bhreagh and I are having a great time in the city of Arusha. Our homestay family has been great and has really made an effort to make us feel welcome and show us around the city. This weekend, they are taking us to the region of Karatu and we will explore the Ngorogoro crater.
The staff, teachers and other volunteers at Umoja have been great as well; we have all gone out together to the markets and to dinners in town. One of the year round teachers, Philbert, invited myself, Bhreagh, Kamila (a volunteer teaching from Poland) and some of the students to hike part of Mount Meru to a beautiful waterfall. For the first hour, we were able to explore the outskirts of Arusha; walking through small villages and interacting with locals; a very leisurely walk. But once we got to the actual mountain it was a solid hour of steep inclines and being out of breath! At some points the hills were so steep that if you lost momentum for one second you would fall backwards. What a workout! Philbert explained to us that the locals who live in this area do this climb almost every day. They go into town for work, business, or shopping and then hike all the way back up. I truly admire them.
The hour was totally worth it once we arrived at the rain forest. The view was absolutely breathtaking: a cliff where you could see for miles, trees so tall you couldn’t see where they ended, tropical birds, baboons, and a beautiful river. All of a sudden we didn’t even notice the hills. We were in heaven! Our pictures of that hike do not come close to doing it justice. Then we arrived at the waterfall. Once again, breathtaking. Not only did we get to see it, but we were able to climb up and stand behind it! Since we are still in the dry season, the waterfall is not at its full capacity. During the wet season however, it would be too dangerous to even try hiking to the waterfall. We are so lucky to have experienced it.
– Danielle New, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania, 2013
YCI is currently recruiting for a number of projects in Tanzania this Winter- check out our Program Calendar for more information!