When I arrived at my hotel in Dar Es Salaam and closed my eyes at 3am and then reopened them the next day it was like a fade in to a movie, one that starts with a reunion between two friends. The sound of the Dar streets drift into my window and it begins.
I took the long 10 hour bus trip from Dar Es Saleem to Kondoa two days after 20 hours of flying. The bus station is chaos with so many people but I don’t worry because Moshi takes care of everything, my 2 big bags, rollie and violin. He says if I were on my own I would be “low hanging fruit” and a target at the bus station.
We arrived in Kondoa early evening and as soon as we stepped off the bus it started to rain, not just little soft raindrops but big fat ones that that feel like little rubber bouncy balls hitting your head. It’s the rainy season in Kondoa and Moshi mentioned that this season has had more rain than in the past 15 years, a great thing for this dry region. Moshi’s friend Judica picked us up in a neighbours house that we went into for shelter as the rain played a rhythmic entrance song to Kondoa on it’s tin roof.
The drive to the Kondoa Annex Climax Hotel should have taken 5 minutes but was half an hour because the windows kept fogging up and Moshi had to keep wiping them so we could see. When I looked out the window the streets were streaming with ribbons of rivers down the unpaved streets.
When I arrived at the hotel the electricity was off so I unpacked as best I could wearing a little headlamp to find the things I needed, like a toothbrush and pyjamas. You know that dizzy feeling when you are so tired that the world spins all around you? That was me. Spinning.
In the morning I woke up and it was as if none of the chaos from the night before had happened. The streets were dry again because the earth had greedily eaten the rain, except for a few puddles that dotted the roads. It’s crazy that one of the driest regions in the world can flood so drastically and then pretend like nothing ever happened. I was worried that this would affect drilling but Moshi said that it would be good because the ground would be softer which makes it easier to dig the trenches needed for the pipes.
When I sat down at the Hotel’s restaurant I met the staff Aiesha, Nuru and Hussein and later Baraka, who I was most excited to see again. Baraka was still the same, a smart and precocious 12 year old who we took with us to the village meeting in Iyoli.
We rented a car to take us to Iyoli where we met Lerian, the project manager from Innovation Africa and the village to talk about the drilling project to make sure the participation of the community in building the infrastructure was organized. It was also time for them to communicate concerns about the project.
One of the worries was where the borehole was going to be built but Lerian and Moshi assured them that the company used scientific surveys that helped to determine the best spot to find water plus it was central so that the distribution points to the medical clinic and village center were easily reached. They, of course, understood and agreed.
Another other comment was from a woman who wanted to encourage the others to help dig the pipe infrastructure saying to them that it is the females who who are most affected and they need to participate in this as much as the men. They will feel the benefits most.
There was also talk about the future maintenance of the well, which was as important as the drilling itself to ensure a long life for the water.
There were many other things that I missed but mainly people are excited to have this happen after such a long wait. They also didn’t think it would really happen.
It’s strange and overwhelming to walk through all of this after such a long wait and it’s now happening so fast. It may be that some of my details are wrong because, well, everything is in Swahili and Irangi (the mother tongue in Iyoli) but I am doing my best to talk about things how I understand them to be 😉
Tomorrow the drilling starts.