Monday, January 14, 2019

Days 8-10: Team Ugesa: Off to work in the village of Ugesa

Our team of Colin, Katelyn, Carly, Derek, James, and Cathy departed at the crack of 9 a.m. Our trip included stopping every half hour to tighten the drivers side back wheel. All of a sudden, we hit what we thought was a bump, only to see the wheel rolling in front of us. Our worst nightmare came true—we got out and there was a long skid mark from the classic physics problem. While waiting for the driver, Michael, to fix the tire we walked down to a near bridge and found 3 lug nuts along the way. Well, there's our problem.


Our team of Colin, Katelyn, Carly, Derek, James, and Cathy departed at the crack of 9 a.m. Our trip included stopping every half hour to tighten the drivers side back wheel. All of a sudden, we hit what we thought was a bump, only to see the wheel rolling in front of us. Our worst nightmare came true— we got out and there was a long skid mark from the classic physics problem. While waiting for the driver, Michael, to fix the tire we walked down to a near bridge and found three lug nuts along the way. Well, there's our problem.

After about an hour and a half, we were back on our way, and it only took another 15 minutes to get to Ugesa. We were greeted with a warm welcome that included singing and dancing outside the church. We were given flower branches to dance with, such as a pine branch, shrubs, and rhubarb stems. We marched into the church and were welcomed with a ceremony.

Immediately after, we met with the water committee, which was made up of about 15 people. They told us they had six sources of water people gather from, as well as they wanted to make sure water got to the schools and dispensary as everyone can benefit from those. The entire water committee walked us throughout the village to the high points for potential storage tanks, and to the water sources.

Most water sources were underground rivers they discovered, which had been dammed up using logs, and a collection platform need from logs set into the ground. The community answered questions like how much water can be collected from each source, and whether the source goes dry in the dry season.

We tested the water sources for bacteria, which required to be kept close to a body to be incubated. Colin and Derek were the designated incubation tanks. They kept their "children" warm, and unfortunately all the sources of water were contaminated with coliform.

Much to our surprise, Ugesa was on the grid with electricity. For that reason, we took notes on where power lines were in order to consider locations for where a pump could easily connect.

We ate and slept at the Lutheran pastor's house. Most meals included rice, baked potatoes, traditional tortillas, and some form of beef or chicken.



We attended church Sunday where the congregation of approximately 150 people thanked us profusely and gave each of us a basket and gave the group three sacks of potatoes. During the service, we were asked to sing an impromptu song in front of the congregation. We managed to find a simple song in Swahili and the entire church helped us stumble through the song. After the service there was an auction of items donated by people to help support the church.


We ate one last meal and then the water committee approached us and asked for our findings. We shared several ideas we had and explained to them that all of their water had bacteria, especially the rainwater collected which they thought was the safest. We emphasized how important it is that they boil water for at least five minutes in order to make the water safe.

We learned that a Tanzania goodbye might be even longer than the classic Minnesotan goodbye, where everyone thanked us and said we are always welcome and can visit any time.

--
Derek H.

1 comment: