Friday, January 5, 2018

Day 6: Tunapenda Lutangilo (We like Lutangilo!)

As we arrived in Lutangilo for our tour of their school, dispensary, and chemistry and physics lab, we were treated to a very fun surprise greeting from some villagers. They even got us to participate!
We set out early this morning to visit Lutangilo, a village with a working water system for their school and dispensary. After a long, bumpy but beautiful drive, we finally arrived and were very surprised by how we were greeted.

The beautiful early-morning countryside on our ride to Lutangilo village.

As we drove over the last hill, we were met by about 50 villagers who were singing and dancing. We were told that we were in for a treat, but none of us expected to have that much fun! They pulled us each out of the vehicles, placed flower wreaths around out necks, and handed us flowers (parents—please take note for 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14). They got each of us to dance and sing along with them in Swahili, and yes, our singing was much worse than theirs. After about 45 minutes of singing and dancing, we were welcomed in for a tour of the school.

We each introduced ourselves in Swahili, and there were plenty of laughs, as our Swahili is still fairly rough. The villagers welcomed us with open arms....and floral neck wreaths!

On our way into the school tour

The headmaster of the school, Sebastian, led the “long” tour around the village and showed us the new physics and chemistry lab that will be up and running sometime this year! The funds for the lab were donated to Lutangilo in the name of the father of one of our trip leaders, Peter Smith. We were incredibly impressed by the work that Sebastian has done with the school, expanding the enrollment from 108 to 275 students in five years, thanks to very skilled teachers and a fantastic leadership core. We also visited the boys and girls dormitories, the kitchen, cafeteria, and the library.

As our journey to Lutangilo came to a close we ate a late lunch with the leaders of the village which was bookended with a heartfelt message from Sebastian to Ken regarding the influence he has had on his life. Sebastian and Ken have shared many experiences together from their first meeting in 2001 to their relationship they hold today. It was a wonderful experience for us all and we will all count it as one of the top highlights of the entire trip.

In the village, water is pumped by hand.

A curious onlooker

A quick stop for rest and conversation during our tour of the village.