I’m never sure entirely where I am going. I know which village we are going to but I never quite know what to expect once I get there. We went to visit Ioli today and guests are given the regular greeting (but quieter) and then brought into the hut to chat with the woman. It’s a sign of respect to be welcomed into their homes.
Zoe and I went to Ioli last year and started the bee and and solar program. The way things work in the villages is that you need to meet all the leaders with proper greetings. After the greetings are finished you can chat for a little while and only then you can start you talks about the projects. This particular group is made of of half woman and half men and they are a very peaceful and united group. They gave Moshi a hand written report on what happened over the last year with the projects. Everything is a long story so these meeting take a very very long time.
Here’s the lowdown: Last year they were able to harvest honey but one of the issues that they faced was accessing a market to sell, they live very far from anything. Currently they have 12 bee boxes but the bees have gone down in number because of the lack of water so only 6 of them have bees. The solar chargers that we brought last year were too cheap so they are not working now (it’s not worth it to cheap out).
One of the solutions to the bee/honey issue is that we are going to bring some of the honey that they harvest this year back to the office in Kolo to sell. Another thing that can be done is to buy bees near Dar that can be transported back (not sure how exactly that works but apparently that can be done). Maybe that can be part of one of the small tours that a tourist can be a part of.
Then we went to look at their water source. Last year I took pictures of hundreds of people standing around filling their buckets from a source that has now dried up. Not a drop. They have to walk over 5km to the nearby dried up riverbed to collect their water.
When I ask what time we are doing something a typical answer from Moshi might be “one or maybe two but not too much after three“. That’s like over 3 hours of being unsure so often the sun is starting to set by the time we end up where we planned to go. I wanted to get some good pictures of the bee boxes but by the time we got there it was late. We walked through a field as the sun was setting and back to the car in the pitch darkness.
Each evening the men get together and drink black coffee. Coffee costs pennies but often the villagers do not have enough so when tourists come through one of the things that they can do is sit together over a cup of coffee and talk. A tourist can pay for the entire group to have a cup and it costs less than $5. It generally happens in the early evening but for me it was night and the stars filled the sky and the cicadas sang their songs. We talked about the water and their drying fields and they asked that I not forget them.
This is going to be my next long term project. Just like Cheku they need a well and I won’t forget.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Kondoa. I have come to really love the people here but I love the people back home too and it’s time to go. I miss Zoe and Loc more than anything so am looking forward the the journey the other way but I will miss this place. Deeply.
Usiku mwemu mimi rafiki (good night my friends)