I’m not really sure how to process today so I am just going to write about the events in order and think about them tomorrow. It is late but I don’t want to forget so I am forcing myself to write.
We started the in Kondoa town. We picked up 50kg of rice for the party, 3 cans of paint, 2 bags of cement, the finished bee box and the rest of the plants for the woman’s group in Kolo. Yasinta and Isa (Moshi’s wife) decided to do the shopping without me because prices go up when there is a “Muzungu” or foreigner around. We packed the car full of soda, groceries, painting supplies and the 2 guys that were going to paint.
We arrived in Kolo and dropped the 2 painters off along with their supplies and gave them directions where to paint. We bought avocado green for the outside and summer blue for the inside. Then we headed to the house where all the food was going to be prepared for the party so we could leave them with the supplies. They greeted us with the traditional Inangi dancing and splattered the chalky mixture on us again, which feels almost normal now.
Moshi is trying to build up relationships with the primary and secondary schools because he wants them to be a part of the environmental projects in the future as well as getting the teachers on board to help the students learn about and maintain the Kolo Rock paintings. So we went into the offices to talk to the teachers. We left them with trees and 2 bags of cement because Moshi found out that the secondary school was building a science laboratory and they weren’t able to finish the building because they ran out of cement.
We headed back to the office which was almost finished by that time. Turns out we ran out of paint so there is only one green wall and one blue wall on the inside. I usually stress about details like colour and straight lines but somehow this works. There are so many unfinished projects here and so we just fit right in.
I walked back to the house were food preparations were happening. I bought a goat from one of the neighbors that was slaughtered for $35 from so they were skinning it and the women were cleaning the rice and cutting bananas, cabbage and garlic. The house was buzzing with activity. This is where you really get to know people. I spent the afternoon getting to know the women. We laughed at my swahili and just held hands when we didn’t know what else to say to each other. They often just break out into dance and song. That is what I loved most.
The sun went down and about 100 people came to the house. I was expecting it to be like a dinner party I might have at my house, where you chat and casually take a bite of food but people were pushing to get to the front of the line because they were scared the food would run out before they had their turn to fill their plates. Moshi told me that the food we prepared was special for the villagers because they only eat ugali and the sticky spinach dish, nothing more. I bought this all for around $50 dollars.
Moshi’s daughter came to sit on my lap and I looked up at the stars unable to look at the chaos and hunger of the people. Sometimes I see things that I don’t want to see.
There was more than enough food for everyone and after people had eaten there was a calmness that washed over the house. Children sat quietly with their sodas and the woman cleaned up the mess that was left behind. As we headed back to the car the women sang a song of peace and a safe journey and the hope that we would see each other again.
We all sat in silence in the car crammed full of people as we drove over the bumpy roads back to Kondoa.