Rain, rain, go away come again sometime before 8am and after 6pm so I can walk to and from work.
Things in Njombe are moving fast. The Daraja team is rock solid, and the longer I am here the more I get to know and love everyone for their uniqueness, personal motivation, and for the insights they bring to what we do. The newspaper is getting printed right now in Dar. Issue #6!!! We’re getting better and more efficient every issue. Starting in April we will be printing two issues a month and looking for potential places in Iringa Town to set up a separate division of the same paper (We are Kwanza Jamii Njombe and it will be Kwanza Jamii Iringa, there will be different copies of each paper).
Daraja, as an organization, is being considered for funding from the Knight Foundation, a mass media mogul in the states. We are hoping to set up another program within our organization that uses cell phones and text messages linked to internet databases to collect information from people out in the villages. Basically we will train X amount of people to use survey software, give them a cell phone, text them surveys and they will be responsible for filling out the survey on the phone and texting it back to us, which will be sent to an internet database for us to check out and make use of (like in the newspaper….!) The whole project is going to be excellent, but is contingent with the funding…the good news is that we’re only competing against a ton of other organizations for the same funds…! If you’re interested in knowing more check out the grant. This is the link:http://generalprop.newschallenge.org/SNC/ViewItem.aspx?pguid=900d111c-1475-4d78-8fab-789663818724&itemguid=d4e7bd59-09ed-4cf5-8634-0d7b7cbf29b2
My roommates, while in the states, made their organization official. Ohana Amani (www.ohanaamani.org) is now a Non-Profit Organization. While they were home they worked hard to raise awareness about their mission, and raise funds to get this baby off of the ground. They have 600 acres of land donated to them from the village in which they are going to build. It’s a couple of hours south west of Njombe town. Currently they are trying to readjust to life back here, and getting ready to spend a lot of time on their land finding the ideal place to build their home and education center, lives and future. I give them nothing but big ups! It is truly inspiring to have people in your life that will come this far to do what feels right.
In other random updates, Keith is probably summiting Mount Kilimanjaro right now. He’s been climbing since Sunday morning, along with 6 or so other Peace Corps volunteers. Mt. Kili is the tallest mountain in Africa and draws in billions of dollars in tourism every year. It is a huge deal for travelers and Tanzanians alike. I frequently find myself wondering where in the world all of this money goes…
Like I said, things in Njombe are moving fast but life in the fast lane slows down a tad when the fast lane is a dirt road and the season of rain has begun. It suddenly becomes life in the mud zone, and you’re bound to find yourself half dressed in the morning staring at your closet (which is just 2 massive spoons hung from the ceiling with rope) wondering what in the world you can wear that 1.) matches 2.) will be warm in the morning, but not too warm in the afternoon, and 3.) is mudproof. Being so fashion savvy, I’ll end up wearing some outfit that matches if you believe that Earthy Rainbow is a matching color scheme, jeans/shirt/skirt that are all too big from intense hand washing, one scarf, dirty shoes, a bright green raincoat, and ridiculous sunglasses that are unnecessary when it’s apparently gray. Ambassador of Class.
So yes, the Mud Zone. It’s sort of killing my jive and vibe here. The good news EVERYONE IS BACK!!! And my house is full of Love, Energy, Ideas, Food, and Conversation. Also, there is a ton of stuff to look forward to. February is full of visitors! Meesh and Justin, two PCVs who came to TZ with me, are both landing in Dar TODAY! Brie (another old PCV) got back about 2 weeks ago and came on down to Njombe last weekend. Sarah also just crashed the pad for a week and I am going to see her again at the end of the month when I go to Zanzibar Island to spend a few days in the sun and sand!!
Today at the bank I considered losing my cool when the 10th person cut in front of me. I was dripping wet, mud covered, and not in the mood. But, the tellers were blasting Bob Marley.
“EXODUS, MOVEMENT OF JA’ PEOPLE!” And all I could do was sing in line (imagine, singing in public.... wait, that’s not shocking…)
“Open your eyes and look within, are you satisfied with the life you’re livin??”
Well, are you?