Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Day 5: Meeting the local water committee and visiting an early water system in Ihemi

Off to Ihemi! Today we visited one of the first water systems designed by a previous student group, met the local water committee, and were measured for our custom Tanzanian outfits!

After breakfast, we headed to the Lutheran Diocese Center and were introduced to the pastor, the assistant to the bishop, and the general secretary. They talked about how this program came to be (we're group number eight!!) and gave us some tips on what to expect in the villages.

They also told us about some of their other programs, one of which is called "Millions of Trees," a nursery of eucalyptus, avocado, and pine trees that eventually will be given to villages to plant and use for a number of things such as produce, lumber, and firewood.

We walked back to the Lutheran Center and got on the bus for about an hour drive to a previous partner village, Ihemi, home to one of the first systems designed by a previous student group. Dancing and singing villagers greeted us in front of the Lutheran chapel when we arrived.

Next, we got to meet the local water committee! The committee is responsible for maintaining the system through collecting water fees to use for future repairs. Due to their hard work, they had more than enough funds saved to pay for a replacement pump after one failed last year.

The Ihemi system has been extended to serve eight of the nine total sub-villages, as well as a primary school, dispensary (health center), and multiple churches. We walked to one of the storage centers and distribution points, which will help us picture what our future designs may look like. Lots of smiling children returned our greetings throughout the village. We got quite a few laughs at our dancing!. 

Back in Iringa, Ono, one of the St. Paul Partner's translators, took us to a fabric store in the market. We picked out prints and visited the tailor to get measured for our Tanzanian-inspired outfits! One student (Tommy), even requested a top hat. The night ended with dinner at a pizza restaurant and a bus full of students belting Taylor Swift songs on the ride home.

Until tomorrow! 

—Blog post by Halima and Maria