Tabora: Day 05

Our first few days here in Tabora ya Korogwe have consisted mainly of working out logistics and getting used to (that’s kuzoea in Kiswahili) life in the rural parts of a developing country.

Our house is a brick house that has been plastered inside and out with concrete floors, some painted, others not. We’ve got large windows whose only barrier from the outside world are screens which are often rather more holey than they were designed to be. It quite spacious and comfortable, though we are having to deal with rats.

Yesterday, Thursday the 25th, we visited the local primary school with our landlord’s husband, Msembe, and the village executive officer, Abas. We met some of the teachers and the headmaster.

In the Tanzanian school system each school owns a little bit of land. In Tabora the school owns two shambas (or more correctly mashamba.) One field very close to the school is a hectare and the other is about 5 acres. The students do most of the work on the land as part of their science curriculum. They only use that land to grow maize and the yield is only enough to feed the kids during exams (once a year.)

There are 6 teachers now for a little under 300 students. The students study seven subjects in their first three grades and nine in the last four. One of these subjects is technology, which we find odd, since there isn’t any electricity to speak of in Tabora.

Today we were supposed to visit the “Water Treatment Plant” situated just above the village. This treatment plant pumps water into only one spigot that we’ve seen, but will soon add a second a little closer to our house. It also pumps water to the village of Kwakiliga, where we have another project, and south into Handeni. It may pump water into other areas, but we have not been able to ask about them because our trip was canceled due to a leak somewhere on the line to Handeni which they had to address first.

Despite the fact that it is called a treatment plant, the water in Tabora is not safe to drink without boiling.

Wednesday is the end of Ramadan and we’re told that we’ll be able to schedule a meeting with the Village Council and a second general village meeting after the holiday has finished. We aren’t yet sure what we’ll be doing in the meantime.

Here’s a view from the path just in front of our house, courtesy of Rachael:

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About Joshua Paul

Due to his father's military background, Joshua spent his childhood moving throughout the continental United States. Though he did not travel out of the country until his teens, Joshua has been interested in cultural anthropology and linguistics as long as he can remember. A recent graduate from St. John's College in Annapolis with a B. A. in Liberal Arts, he has studied ancient Greek and French for literary purposes. He currently lives near Boise, Idaho.
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