Monday, January 9, 2023

Day 10: Kamwene! We made it back from Idete!

Our group is back from our visit to Idete where we collected and tested water samples, visited schools, attended a church service, and received gifts of handmade clothing from the village!

Our group is back from our visit to Idete where we collected and tested water samples, visited schools, attended a church service, and received gifts of handmade clothing from the village!

On Friday, we got moving around 10 a.m. to head to the village, and after about a two-hour bumpy ride, were warmly welcomed by the villagers with song and dance. They had a lovely meal prepared for us that we enjoyed with the pastor, his wife, and quite a few other locals. After the meal, we hiked about one mile up to a spring source in the natural forest reserve. It was beautiful!

We collected a few water samples and determined the flow rate at various locations. After the hike, we had a pretty good idea of the ideal location for our water system.

Once we changed and dropped off our water testing kit, we had another lovely meal prepared by Anaya and her friends, then drove down to the lively sub-village of Lakosi Kati. We were lucky enough to be there during the monthly market and got to see all of the action. We even practiced our Swahili with a few of the kids.

By this point, we were pretty exhausted. We ended up having one more lovely meal when we got back to our lodging, and wound down by playing cards and watching a Tanzanian soccer game on TV. Claire got whooped in a game of garbage by two of the kids.

The next morning, we woke up to another beautifully prepared meal (we were fed very well), and then met with the water committee. The committee consisted of about 15 people representing the five sub-villages and various communities. They were amazing and able to answer all of our questions. We spent the next 4 hours driving and hiking around the villages to get a full understanding of the current water collection process and the layout of the villages.

We visited the two primary schools, the secondary school, the dispensary, and hiked to a hand-dug well. We collected water samples from each location to see the water quality of the current water sources. Once we gathered all the needed data and information, we headed back for a late lunch at about 4 p.m. It was, of course, amazing.

After lunch, we took a short walk to find some kids to play soccer with, and it was very successful. Braedon, Claire, and Aidanne held their own in a pick-up game, although each of them took a tumble or two. Halima and Paul sat that one out. At this point the team was totally worn out, we enjoyed some free time, played some more cards, had dinner, and then headed to bed.

On Sunday we woke up bright and early for a church service, where we enjoyed a pre-church breakfast and coffee. Although the church service was long (three hours!), it was so fun to listen to the beautiful songs the villagers sang and we even got to dance a little (except Claire who was a little busy handing out candy to the kids). At the end of the service, the village presented us with the amazing gifts of hand-made clothes— dresses for the girls and button-up shirts for the men. We looked so good in our new authentic Tanzanian outfits!

After church there was a quick auction to raise money. Halima won some avocados she handed out to the villagers! Then we headed to the pastor's house for our last meal. The village chairman made us a hand drawn map on the spot for us to take home. We are so thankful to the village of Idete for welcoming us into their community, for their patience and kindness, and for their dedication to teaching us about their water sources and helping us develop a potential water system design. This is truly an unforgettable experience and it was difficult to say goodbye to all our "rafikis" (friends) when we headed back to Iringa.

Sending love back home!

—Blog post by Aidanne, Braedon, Claire, Halima, and Paul