Sunday, January 12, 2020

Day 6: Hamjambo from Team Mlanda!

Hamjambo (how are you?) from Team Mlanda! Our team consisted of Rachel, Jake, Peyton, Vail, Rayna, Janelle, and our fearless leader Paul.
Team Mlanda consisted of Rachel, Jake, Peyton, Vail, Rayna, Janelle, and our fearless leader Paul. We also had the pleasure of working with a student from the University of Iringa, Elizabeth; a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam, Enock; St. Paul partner’s staff Onno; and Twalib our bus driver.

We began our time in Mlanda with introductions to village representatives followed by delicious tea. We then had a chance to visit the local primary school, where the students had prepared song and dance. We were all amazed at how much better their voices were than ours could ever be.

After we spent some time enjoying the children’s company, the village representatives showed us where the current water sources were and helped us understand the layout of each sub-village (Mlanda A, Mlanda B, Ilembula, Nyalawe, Msombe, Ukang’a). The primary school’s headmaster was kind enough to host us and the village representatives for lunch.

After lunch we finished up our field work and started to compile our data. Peyton, who was our GPS guru, had collected data points for water sources and locations of interest, and we used these points and Google Earth programming to start designing a map of the village. We then went back to the headmaster’s house for dinner and ended our day by setting up our beds and bugging Paul while he helped us hang up our mosquito nets.

Saturday began with tea and breakfast, followed by revisiting the water sources we had been shown previously. Team Mlanda had a flawless system of tasks. Peyton was a pro with the GPS, Rachel lead water testing, Vail and Rayna took pictures of each source and kept everyone in line, and Jake and Janelle were our baba and mama kukus (father and mother chickens) keeping each sample warm so they could incubate for 24 hours. We also visited the areas of Msombe and Ukang’a, and the villagers showed us where they wanted water distribution points.

After working hard all morning, we took a load off and hung around the village center. Peyton, Rayna, Janelle, Rachel, and Elizabeth handed out candies to the kids playing by the primary school.

Peyton also brought bubbles and started a feeding frenzy as kids excitedly grabbed some and began blowing bubbles everywhere. Vail, Jake, and Enock played soccer with some boys from the primary school. Unfortunately for Vail, playing barefoot ended in a rock meeting his big toe. Rayna had the pleasure of showing off her EMT skills and nursed Vail back to health.

After hanging out with the villagers, we enjoyed dinner, and ended the night with some intense card playing. Our leader Paul taught us the game of Hearts. After a few practice hands, we started playing a game to 50 points, with Paul starting at a handicap of 16 points of course. As the game progressed, different players took turns in the lead and then getting "rekt" (completely destroyed!) by the Queen of Spades. None was more ruthless than Paul’s takedown of one of his own students. Paul had given Jake just enough points to make him lose, and as Jake tried to shoot the moon, Rayna, the current leader, sacrificed herself for the team and took some points. This ended up costing her the game and allowing Paul to win.

On Sunday we had breakfast and joined the congregation for mass. They sang beautiful songs and had a heartwarming service. We sang “Asante Sana” for them, led by Jake whose angelic voice thankfully covered the awful sounds coming from the rest of us. After church, Jake, Vail, and Paul blew up balloons for the children and they happily played don’t-let-the-balloon-touch-the-ground while receiving candy from the girls. We also had the opportunity to offer gifts for each pastor and the villagers who had helped us.

We then headed to the school headmaster’s house for one last lunch. After lunch we were able to give the women of the house gifts of bowls and cooking tools, and the headmaster of the school soccer balls for the children. More candy was handed out near the primary school, the women gifted Rachel, Janelle, Peyton, and Rayna with kangas (Tanzania skirts) and sang as we boarded the bus to leave.

Peter D.