Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Day 5: Bega Kwa Bega, a visit to Lukani village, and the first sunburns!

On Tuesday morning, we started our day with an egg breakfast from Harrison, the cook at the Lutheran Center. We then walked over to the St. Paul Partners office for our Bega Kwa Bega orientation.

We learned some background information on Bega Kwa Bega and listened to an inspiring talk from the general secretary about the importance of our work. Most surprisingly, out of the 55 million people living in Tanzania, half do not have access to clean drinking water. By providing villages with an access point to clean water near their homes, the vicious poverty cycle can end. Instead of spending their days hauling water from a distant source, children have time to get an education.

Following our orientation, the whole group boarded the coaster and set out for Lukani. Lukani is a village located in the mountainous Iringa region. To access the village, the coaster took us over single lane dirt roads at a very slow speed for approximately 2.25 hours. Deep potholes slowed the journey. The drives in Africa are similar to riding in a horse and buggy!

In Lukani, we took in the view of the valley and the surrounding hills as well as watched the drilling of a bore hole. St. Paul Partners is installing a design made by University of Minnesota students in January of 2018 in the village. Many villagers came to watch the drilling process take place. The children were particularly fond of Daod!

We watched the process for some time and then visited the pastor’s home to be formally greeted by the village. As we drove up to the home, ladies were outside singing and dancing to celebrate our arrival! We went into the home and were served tea, noodles, chapati, rolls, and potatoes. The food was great and the Tanzanians are excellent hosts! In the late afternoon, we got back on the coaster and headed back to Iringa. We all enjoyed the visit to Lukani and are excited to get back to the rural Iringa regions in our village visits!

Our group then headed to the marketplace which was somewhat hidden in an alley. The clouds were rolling in as we walked over, and the rain hit just as we got there! The market people all said, "karibu (welcome), come inside, come inside!" The people are very kind here. We all walked away with new things though! They are very persuasive. The other groups visited other restaurants and visited a shop with crafts such as sewn bags and pillow cases made by disabled people.

Another "highlight" from today was our fluid mechanics lesson. We did problems for the first hour, then went over the solutions. Cathy and Ken explained in detail what our goals will be in the villages too, such as gathering all necessary qualitative and quantitative information for designing a water system.

For dinner, we headed to Mama Iringa’s. The meal of pizza was fantastic! To cap off the evening, we managed to keep our eyes open to complete a fluid mechanics assignment. The whole crew was quite exhausted from the busy day in the sun! Just as a note, the first sunburns appeared on some of the students today. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the wazungu (white people) burn easily near the equator! Tuesday was an excellent introduction to what is to come on our Tanzanian adventure!

Laura K.

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