We got up at 8 today, still a little sore but ready for work. Had the usual protein filled breakfast of a fresh egg sandwich with local cheese and toast, and got down to the factory to start the day. Omari immediately put us to work chopping firewood to keep the kiln going. While Trent chopped away, Kunal and I helped Omari spread mortar down for the first layer of bricks on the new kiln, beside the old one. Kedar, instructed by Kim, started making filters on the press, kneading the clay and then operating the machine to shape it into the filter’s bowl-like shape.
Soon we were all very hungry from our day’s hard work, and had an exceptionally huge lunch of pasta and vegetables up at the house around 2:00. We came back down an hour later, and got back to work chopping more firewood and adding another layer of bricks to the new kiln. These first few layers require every brick to be leveled, aligned, and mortared carefully, in a certain shape that will have areas for wood to burn as well as a channel for smoke to flow out of.
When plenty of wood had been chopped, and nine filters made, we started playing with the village kids as usual. They taught us a few tricky games, one where you hold onto a pole with both hands and have to bring it around your body a certain way, one where you stand behind a line and lean far enough forward to drop something in front of another line, without falling, and one where you are sort of hand-cuffed to another person with string and have to escape by moving around a certain way.
Omari arrived on a motorcycle from town, since the dala-dala drivers were still on strike. He had bought eight of the buckets that the filters fit inside, for coming distributions. Kim had some fun with the buckets messing around with the smaller kids; just look at the picture.
I noticed that some of the kids were chewing on a thick green bamboo like plant, so I asked Omari what it was. Sugarcane, he said, and he wanted to show us where to find some, so we followed him outside the factory and across the street. A few kids were playing around a little stand, leaning against which were a few long stalks of sugarcane. Omari chopped off a few pieces with a nearby machete, but ended up buying the whole stalk for 1000 tsh (60 cents), and taught us how to peel off the outer layer with our teeth to get to the white, stringy and sweet core. We brought the extra back to the kids, who all ate it like it was a candy bar. Even the toddlers knew how to chew on the sugarcane and spit out the tough fibers when their sweetness had been sucked out.
Kunal was recruited to help take a gas canister to be refilled at a nearby shop, so Trent and I went back up to the house for dinner (Kedar was already up writing for his blog). The power was out at home, as usual, so Trent had to postpone his long-overdue shower another day because of the lack of hot water. The last two days he’s tried to take one, but the power has gone out right as he started. We walked to the hotel, got some sodas, and updated our blogs.
We’re all having mixed feelings about coming home on Thursday. There’s a lot of things we look forward to back home: clean, running water, constant power, fast-food, and of course our families and friends. But there’s also so many things that we love about Tanzania: the amazing, funny, and kind people, getting to make a difference at the factory, the friendly spirit of the village, and (at least for me) the delicious, natural, and very healthy food we get to eat three times a day. The past few weeks have been incredible, even better than I imagined them, and I’m going to be very sad to leave here so soon.
Well, it’s late, and I’m getting up early tomorrow to run, so goodnight! I’ll upload my last full day’s post tomorrow, until then, lala salama, sleep well!