A few hiccups here and there have been showing up like the speedbumps they are so fond of putting in towns in Tanzania. For us, it is a lesson in patience (in the towns, it’s a necessity as the only highway goes right through it).
Much of our work currently involves interviewing farmers as we prepare to implement the increased vaccination schedule to help ensure the chicks are not waiting too long for theirs. With luck, we will have all our data by early next week and the week after will see us accompanying the village vaccinators, assisting and assessing as we go.
The village itself is spread out across the side of a small mountain. So our days generally involve a lot of hiking up and down hills in the African sun. Add to that our occasional day off with 14 km walks to see if we can make it to the next town over, and it’s a fair bit of miles being put on our shoes.
We live in a town called Ushirika, because the village of Ilima just doesn’t have the ability to put us up for three months. Ushirika is a small town of about 4,000 people with one short strip of shops and a market. The rest is all residential stretching out into the hills. Our host, Esther, is a teacher at the Ilima Secondary School and has been a wonderful person with whom to live. She has a good grip on English, helps us with our Swahili and roasted up a huge bunch of karanga (ground nuts) that we spent a night shelling. Many of the villagers feel that we cannot visit without receiving something so they tend to give us bags of ground nuts. We’re certainly in no shortage of them.
Living is very basic here and based on a lot of adaptation. Electricity is sporadic, along with water, so you grab a shower whenever you get the chance. And that involves a bucket of very cold water. Cooking is a long process as there isn’t really any kitchen. Just a corner of the room with a small, portable one-burner gas stove. Clothes are all done by hand-washing.
All-in-all, it’s a wonderful place. People love when we try out our basic Swahili and even more excited when we use the local dialect of the Nykyusa (I think that’s how you spell it) tribe. Just a simple “Andaga” (thank you) can light up faces and get a great big, happy laugh.
So, our treks up and down the mountain continue. Work aplenty to get done and time seems to be flying by too quickly.