POST 11: Farewell my Friends

I always know it’s time to leave when I run out of my last piece of toilet paper,  when the signs in the Arusha hotel that say “Don’t use the towels to wipe your shoes” and “NO laundry in the rooms” apply directly to me, when there’s not a single thing in my suitcase that isn’t full of dust, when my cravings have stopped and I just want the french fry omelettes.

We saw Jafari in Dodoma and all 3 water points that we looked at have water at varying depths.  The first point will be the best to use because the water is closest to the surface.  We will need to drill down 120-150 Metres to reach water but he seems to think that there won’t be a problem finding it. We will pump the water (using solar) into a reservoir tank that holds 100,000 litres on top of the hill 1km away from the drilling point and then use gravity to bring the water into Iyoli village primary school and then later to the central part of the village with PVC pipes.  We will be getting the scientific graphs in a few days and a more detailed estimate. Jafari is wonderful and smart and has become a friend and I am happy to have him on the water team.

We went to Moshi’s sister’s place for dinner tonight.  It’s actually not his blood sister but someone who helped him out when he moved from his small village, Sori, which is near Iyoli, to Arusha to work as a porter on Mount Kilimanjaro, so he calls her his sister.  He lived in a ghetto but she told him to leave his place there and come to live with her family until he could get back onto his feet, so he did for 1 year. She is a very important person to him and It was a nice way to end my stay here, with his family.

I am lying in bed now curled up in a ball with all the lights on hoping that the cockroach(es) that I just saw in the bathroom don’t crawl into my ear (do cockroaches fear light?) while watching my 3rd episode of “funny Cat Videos” on permanent loop on one of the channels, through a mosquito net, and thinking about success and this project .  I suppose the measure of success for this project will be when people don’t have to dig holes in the sand to find water.

Tomorrow I am headed home and I am worried about the daunting task that lies ahead, to try to find a way to make this project happen, like we did in Cheku.  My goal is to find an organization to partner with so that we can do this properly right from the beginning.  Thanks SO MUCH to those people who have already sent me leads because the more people I can talk to the better (this project is NOT cheap) and I am way too far into it to turn back.  If you happen to want to donate (no pressure) you can through the link on the website and I promise that every penny will go towards digging the well in Iyoli.

This will be my last post and I am grateful to all those people who listened (and responded) to my stories.  I’m sad to be leaving but happy to be coming home to the people I love.  I’ll see you on the other side.

Love from Tanzania

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.