We’ve officially passed the month mark – it has been 31 days since we boarded our plane in Toronto to set off for Tanzania! Since arrival, we’re had some great experiences, met some great people, and enhanced the Tanzanian Poultry Project a great deal.
A taste of what we’ve experienced so far
Food and Drink
Since we attempted our first cooking session, we’ve had the pleasure of being taught how to improve our African cooking skills. Our good friend, Gaga, was nice enough to invite us into his home for an unexpected day-long marathon of cooking lessons with him and his sister, Stella. The day started cruising through the market to get all of our ingredients. First up on the menu: our breakfast staple, mandazi (donuts). We were taught how to make the dough, knead and roll it out, cut it, and fry it to perfection. The process is similar to making donuts back in Canada, but the addition of cardamom adds a new flare to our mandazi! Second on the list was fresh juice! Gaga really enjoys making juice for us and previously made us the most delicious avocado juice. This time, he whipped up a tropical fruit juice made of pineapple, passion fruits, and bananas. Alongside our juice, our third cooking lesson was kitimoto (pork). Gaga showed us how to prepare kitimoto in a tasty tomato and green pepper sauce. We then sat down together to enjoy our feast – the hard work (and 5 hours of cooking) paid off!
As we experimented with cooking for the first time last week, we enjoyed the hot sun and attempted to get tans (despite only a corner of our courtyard getting sun, we were pretty successful). The rest of the week has been very cold. We’ve been wrapped up in sweaters most of the time and Kellie has busted out her wool socks every day! This is not what we expected African weather to be like…
After spending the week hard at work, we took yesterday (Saturday) off. We planned a trip to a nearby beach but unfortunately our plans fell through when our friend’s car unexpectedly broke down. We spent the day relaxing and enjoying the sun anyways though! Since we’ve spent all our daylight hours working on the project this week, it was nice to spend a full day outside.
At the beginning of the week, we had an unexpected guest come to our house to check in on us. It was Jeffery, a teacher at Ilima Secondary School, wanting to know if we were safe and well. He graciously invited us to dinner at his home and we joined him, his wife, his mother, and his 3 children the next day. We enjoyed a delicious meal together. Jeffery even went out of his way to ensure our favourite beers were present (and cold!). After dinner, he invited us to join the family the next night at a wedding ceremony. We obviously had to accept the invitation – when else were we going to go to a Tanzanian wedding? The ceremony was very nice but not what we had expected. Compared to a wedding in Canada there were some similarities but definitely some differences too. For example, there was a cake cutting ceremony (similar to Canada) but the sharing of the cake between members of the bridal party and the family of the groom played a very important role. It was an interesting twist on what we’re used to back home. Despite not understanding anything said during the ceremony, we were able to participate and have a great time!
A lot of new things have happened with the project since our last update! We spent all of last week meeting with teacher and student farmers in Ilima and Lubanda. We didn’t expect it but some of the houses were far apart and on mountain sides so we definitely got our exercise! It was great to see everyone’s coop and talk to them about their chickens. After meeting with all the farmers, we took the information we gathered and sat down with Gaga to discuss our next steps. We were all on the same page about what would be most useful and we excitedly planned our training sessions for the villages. This week, we have been busy writing out the training materials and planning our lessons. Our sessions will touch on: the advantages of keeping local chickens, coop building, preferential care for chicks and hens, complete nutrition, disease and parasite control, vaccination, selection and breeding, proper record-keeping, and marketing of chickens and eggs. After they are translated into Swahili, we’ll be teaching both villages with Gaga’s help – we can’t wait!
We made a friend in Ushirika’s centre named Godlove. He is a motorcycle driver who is very keen on improving his English and teaching us Swahili. He has offered to drive us to various local landmarks to see what the Southern Highlands of Tanzania has to offer. Since we are often looking amongst the motorcycles of the town to say hello to him, we’ve begun to notice a lot of unexpected items on the backs of motorcycles. We thought we’d share our list with you.
Crazy Things We’ve Seen on the Back of Motorcycles in Tanzania:
- Too many people.
- A pig strapped to a board.
- A pile of no less than 20 large, plastic buckets stacked on their side.
- A loveseat.
- Chickens (both in cages and free).
- A 9 foot long metal door (we’re not even exaggerating)
- A bedframe – complete with head and foot boards.
Swahili word of the day
We’ve learned that Swahili is incredibly literal. When saying goodbye to someone, we frequently say “Tutaonana” (“See You”) as we depart. Often people will ask you to specify when they will see you. For example: “See You Later” is “Tutaonana Baadaye” and “See You Tomorrow” is “Tutaonana Kesho”. Since everyone always asks, we just started to say whatever we could remember at the time. It turns out, people get really worried when you say you’ll see them later and you don’t actually show up later. We’ve had many people track us down to find out if we’re ok and to determine where we were. Who knew? That was unexpected!