I was planning on getting up early and running with Omari this morning, but I was way too tired to get out of bed and just slept in (to 8, if you can call that sleeping in) instead. We had breakfast with Tracy, and she gave us the scoop on our plans for the morning. Instead of working in the factory, we would spend today distributing filters to several locations around Arusha.
We all geared up in our SAFE Water Now t-shirts, grabbed our cameras, and headed down to our waiting dala-dala on the road. Omari loaded up a few filters into the van and we got on the road.
Instead of going in either direction, like we expected, our driver just crossed the street to a dirt shoulder on the other side, and started down a very bumpy side road into the forest. A few minutes later we stopped at the base of a hill. At the top we found a small farmhouse, where Josephine, the first person to buy a filter from Tracy, lives. We interviewed her about the filter that she’s had since 2006. Her whole family of 8 or so, three generations, has been using the same filter for five years now. She said the children love to use it, and they haven’t had to go to the doctor for stomach ache since they’ve purchased it.
Our next stop was a large nursery a few minutes away. A few English people were working with the children, and we soon were playing with them too while Omari and Stella demonstrated a few filters for the employees. We all had a great time picking the kids up and lifting them up into the air, as well as playing soccer and letting them take pictures with our cameras.
After saying bye to the nursery teachers and children, leaving them with a few free filters as gifts, we headed to a preschool nearby. We found two small classrooms filled with young kids and two busy teachers, and Omari explained to them (in Swahili) how to clean and use the filters. We gave them two free ones, one for each classroom.
Soon, a different dala-dala arrived, bearing a few more filters for our fourth and final delivery. My camera died on the ride out unfortunately, so I don’t have any pictures. We drove out to the other side of Arusha, in the same direction as the Serengeti, for about a half-hour. We got to a bigger school, in a rural area, for middle-school girls. We checked on their filter, which they’ve had for a few months, and interviewed the principal about it’s success. He said that before they had the filter, they had to boil their drinking water. He explained that now, with the filters, the school saves money on fuel for boiling. The students also chimed in that they love that the water stays cool in the filter, rather than being hot after boiling.
Some of the girls whispered questions to us about the filters, so they wouldn’t be on the video. For instance, they asked if any chemicals went into the clay before it was fired. We explained that they are made using only clay, sawdust, and a small amount of colloidal silver, which has anti-bacterial properties. One of the students asked us for our contact information, and soon all the girls were holding out pieces of paper and wanting us to write our emails on them, which we did, a bit confused. We said goodbye and headed back home for lunch and a quick break.
We ate and tried the modems, which of course didn’t work, and had a meeting in our living room with our guides for Mt. Meru, which we’re going to climb this weekend. We just figured out what we needed to bring, the basic schedule (a three-day, two-night ordeal), and when to meet them tomorrow, on Friday.
Later, Stella and Omari took us in a dala-dala to Tengeru, another suburb village of Arusha, to check out the daily marketplace. Just driving through the crowds was very intimidating: thousands (yes, thousands) of people bustled around, right in front of and beside our dala-dala, and many turned their heads to check out the mzungus in the van. When we got out and browsed the shops, cleverly covering our pockets with our hands to ward off pick-pockets, they seemed much less crazy, and much more like a gigantic Goodwill, selling everything from used shirts to used shoes to kitchen utensils. Unfortunately we weren’t needing any spatulas at the time, so we didn’t buy anything except a couple of boxes of biscuits (cookies) for 500 shillings (30 cents) each.
We left the market and drove a short ways to meet Tracy for dinner at a specialty lodge known as “Christina House.” Christina, the manager, is a very friendly woman, like every woman we’ve met here so far, and she invited us out back to a sort of open-air hotel restaurant. Kim and Mama K (one of Tracy’s friends from before SwaN) joined us for a dinner of chapatis, rice, beans, chickens, veggies, the Tanzanian works. We were the only ones eating at Christina House, other than a timid European couple, and we talked and ate until well past sunset. After we finished our chakula (food), Christina came out of her restaurant singing “Happy birthday to Tracy!” and carrying a plate of something with candles sticking out of it. Everybody joined in, most people unaware that it was even Tracy’s birthday until now!
Being Americans, the other volunteers and I all expected Christina to be carrying a huge cake, chocolate, judging by the dish’s color. We were greatly shocked when we looked closely and saw two long, hairy legs sticking out of the dish, and realized that the “Happy Birthday Tracy!” was not written on chocolate icing, but the rear-end of a freshly grilled goat! We all laughed and tried some of the goat, which is traditional at Tanzanian celebrations, and brought the plate back home to finish later.
I found some time to get up to date on my blogs at the hotel later that night, and ended up sleeping around 1:00. A very long, productive, and crazy day! I’m loving it here!