We are finally making progress with the land purchase for the Yogurt Mamas. After being given the offer, I was able to schedule a meeting with the TASAF coordinator to revisit grant opportunities. I sat down with Mr. Ngowi and we began to re-write applications and develop purposed timelines. The next day, Mama Paskwalina and I travelled back to city council and were given the names of the street leaders in Nyamhongolo so that we could attain approval for the new kitchen within the community. We have plans to go visit the land this coming week.
At NIMR, Tara and Ruben both gave seminars to the staff and they explained the premise of probiotics for those with HIV/AIDS. They both described what they are researching here in Tanzania and took the time to answer the questions of those in the room. Mamas Paskwalina and Elizabeth both attended, and because the presentation was conducted in English, I was able to bring the translator that I am working with along. Tara and Ruben gave a second seminar, and with the help of Deo, they were able to explain all of these concepts to the Mamas, and reiterate the importance of their work for the people of Mwanza.
Sleeping Beauty having her hair braided, Mahina
Maternity ward for complicated births at BMC
Ruben, Margret and Ruben’s cousin Ottalyn
The weekend also marked Tara’s last week in Mwanza, so Lauren, Tara and I went on a picnic to marvel the phenomenal views of Mwanza. Tara and I spent the day morning at Forever Angels and in the afternoon the three of us met up to climb the stone path to Dancing Rock. That evening, Ruben, Tara and I went to a BBQ hosted by some more of his fellow Hollanders.
View from Dancing Rock
For the past month, our regular yoga instructor, Jenny, has been away and graciously asked me to teach yoga until her return. The class is a wonderful mix of expats from around the world, local school children, Tanzanian women and often times some tourists as well. Tara snapped a few shots for us as she had to sit out to fight another bout of malaria.
Warrior 2 to the waves and into the sunset
I spent the day on Tuesday night and all day on Wednesday preparing for Tara, Ruben and I to host the 10 Yogurt Mamas for dinner. It was incredible to have them all over, dressed up in their beautiful traditional dresses made of colorful kitanga fabrics. The power went out mid dinner, and the atmosphere brightened by the flames of the candles. We were all laughing and eventually the evening turned into a dance party sparked by a friendly donation from past intern Cynthia. The women all sang and cheered, and Ruben set the beat on the jambe.
Mama’s sending a Thank you song to Cynthia
I did a bit of travelling around the city on the mission to visit two specific places. First, I went to a primary school in Buswelu where a grade five students send letters, pictures and crafts back and forth with the Tucemseh Primary School in London. Tucemseh also has been able to donate funds to build desks for the students of Buswelu as well. There are 1202 students, 24 teachers and 9 classrooms on the premises. Many of the students have to sit on the floors. The only medium for teaching is a chalk board at the front of the room.
Standard 5 at Buswelu Primary School
Secondly, I went to “Zimma Moto”, the Mwanza Regional Fire Department. Here are a few more numbers for you to put into context. Two fire trucks, 21 staff members (this includes the whole hierarchy), five bunger gear suits, two fire hoses and a very, very impressive operator switch board to serve nearly one million residing in Mwanza. The firefighters were thrilled that I was able to bring them a small gift donated by the Bradford Fire Department.
Control Board at the Mwanza Regional Fire Department
On Friday, Tara’s last full day in Mwanza, we all met up at the Community Kitchen in Mabatini where the Mamas threw a going away event for Tara. Again, there was a lot of food, singing, dancing and a few tears from Tara. The next morning, Mama Joyce, Tatyana, Salame and I saw Tara off at the airport and she began her two day journey back to home turf.
Mamas Goodbye Party for Tara
That evening, the eighties were revisited for yet another going away party. Our good friend Amy will be returning to the UK after her seven month stay. As sad as it is for me to admit, I next farewell will be mine… only 9 days left for me Mwanza…