POST 16: More Remote

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more remote we jump to a new level. We woke up and washed in the squat washroom.  I am getting used to feeling dirty and it’s a good thing I have not been able to look at myself in the mirror over the last few days! We had breakfast together and then headed out to visit another friend of Moshi’s who lives in the bush.  10 of us piled into the car and drove out of the village for about 10 minutes.  The driver decided that he could not go any further on the roads so we all got out and started walking down a dried up riverbed.  I think I’ve already said this but half the time I have no idea what exactly we are doing but I guess the fact is that even if things were explained in more detail I would have no clue what it all meant.  We walked and walked and walked past a hole dug into the river that was used as a water source.  Small and dirty and people travel for miles to get to it.  Finally Yaseta says we are here and in the distance I saw a few mud huts that blended into the landscape.  We entered and Moshi greeted the elder.  We stood around for a bit waiting for the mama’s children to retuen from collecting husks to fix the roof.  The family got there and the girls dressed up in their special goatskin dresses that are used in celebrations.  I managed to offend the women YET AGAIN by asking to take a picture.  It’s really scary being in the bush and seeing an argument transpire and not have a clue what is going on.  In the end all was good and luckily I know the words for sorry (polly sana) and if I say it a bunch of times people just laugh at me.  The family was so friendly and welcoming in the end and since we were the first ever visitors that they have had they were unsure of what to do (as was I).  We left for the long hot walk back to the car.

We arrived back at the car and and left for a lunch of Ugali and tiny birds one of the villagers had caught that day (Loc, you would have loved them).
On our way out we gave them a gift of a solar charger for our pilot project that they will be able to use to earn money charging people’s phones.  When you give a gift in the villages it is a BIG ordeal.  The women came up and did their loud greeting sound and we have to officially hand it to the chairman.  Moshi then told them how to use it.
We said out goodbyes and headed to Cheku.

We can pick and choose the memories that define our life and piece them together like a puzzle.

Many years ago, in the wake of my mother’s death, I traveled to Africa for the first time. Uganda.

Our time to leave Kalagala eventually came, and my family embarked upon a classic Kenyan safari.

The three of us headed for Tanzania where I met Moshi Changai, a pivotal piece to this story.

From Tanzania, we made our way to the island of Zanzibar, a place to pause and reflect, and to write.

We left Zanzibar for Marrakesh, where the sound of Muslim prayers echoed from the speakers.

Life returned to normal—for just a little while. We returned home, and Zoe went back to School.

Fast-forward six years, and once again, Tanzania stood before my daughter and me.

Our destination was Kondoa, but to get there, we had to board a cramped bus like a bunch of sardines.

Before making our way to Cheku, we visited many of the surrounding Irangi villages first.

We drove up the long road dirt road to Cheku village and finally saw the well that had taken so many years.

With the Cheku well confirmed to be real, the time had come to return to Vancouver.

I finally landed in Tanzania, excited to meet Moshi again and the rest of the safari team.

I spent the days before meeting our potential business partner, Ikaji, at the hotel, practicing my Swahili.

By spending so much time at the hotel, I grew close with the girls who worked there.

On our way to snap some shots at Ntomoko falls, we got stuck in the mud, much like how I felt about Ikaji.

One morning, Moshi and I headed to buy trees and I sat and reflected on the situation with Ikaji.

Ikaji was simply not a good fit for this project and we had to decide how to proceed.

To help foster a community around the tours we decided to have a party for the people of Kolo.

The dry season had been especially brutal for the village of Iyoli and water was scarce.

This trip was winding to a close, but before I left, Moshi and took a final, bumpy motorcycle ride.

Once again, Perry Buchan leapt at the opportunity to be part of another water project.

I was back in Kondoa once again, at the same hotel (or at least the one next door).

To help determine how deeply the hole needed to be dug for the Iyoli well, the team conducted a survey.

We went back to Iyoli with a car full of computer equipment, a generator, and people.

With a car full of just about everyone, we headed to Iyoli one last time before leaving, but this time it was for a party.

The time had come to leave. I knew this because I had used my last square of toilet paper.

It took two and a half minutes to walk off the plane into the Turkish airport and breathe the unfamiliar smells.

It was like a fade-in into a movie, one that started with a reunion between two friends.

The next two weeks went by slowly as the drillers dug inch-by-inch toward the depth of 100m.

Initial digging had concluded, but we still had to test the water, build the tower, and dig trenches.

Tower construction began on market day, and led to a lot of people stopping by to watch the work.

Brick-by-handmade-brick, the tower went up. Soon, it would hold two water tanks and solar panels.

One morning in Kondoa town invited me over to play music at his house behind the hotel.

My worst fear, and I’m embarrassed to say but I will anyway, was having to go pee in the bush.

Today, I met Bar from Innovation: Africa - the woman who helped bring this project on.

I debated whether I even wanted to share this part of this story, but I will.

A few days later, work resumed at the project site.

Despite the recent setback, life continued—progress continued.

Things that were once green were starting to turn brown.

In many ways, our engineer was crazy and messed up.

Moshi, Juma, and I were at the site every day to make sure that things were getting done.

Water began flowing to the different distribution points throughout Iyoli.

This is my story. The stories I tell are the ones that hold me up, that keep me going, that feed me hope.

Each night when I drink a glass of water, I often think of Moshi, and the memories wash over me.