Greetings from the beginning of our second week here in Iringa!
Here's a recap of yesterday and today for you! Yesterday we wrapped up our time in Kilolo by visiting and learning from a traditional healer and visiting a community center and water project site created by RDO (Rural Devlopment Organization). Spending time with the traditional healer was an experience our group really enjoyed because we were able to learn about the importance of generational history being passed along within families in Tanzania. The traditional healer we met told us that everything he knows about medicine was taught to him by his grandparents. We were able to watch the healer make a drink that he gives to people experiencing head aches and stomach aches and we were also able to smell a medicine that the healer gives to people who feel faint or who have passed out- it REALLY wakes you up. We were not expecting it!! The healer has a variety of medicines all of which can be mixed into his patients chai, or with soup. He has medicine for colds, breast cancer, fainting, malaria, etc. We also were able to see some of the plants that the healer grinds up in order to make the different medicines! Check out some pictures of this in the gallery!
The water project site was also very exciting to see because through projects like this, RDO is able to provide water to parts of Tanzania that the government has not been able to even reach yet! We visited the water tank which is the main site that provides the water to the local villages in Kilolo. Basically, pipes connect to this main water tank and flow underground to bring water to separate water stations in the villages. How well off a family is determines how much they pay monthly for water. If a family is living with orphans they pay TSH 500 (about 25 cents a month in USD), if they have work or own some sort of business the family pays TSH 3000 (about $1.50 USD a month), and if it is an institution that is being provided water, like a school, they pay TSH 35,000 a month (about $17.50 a month for water).
Today, we took a crowded dala dala (basically a small bus/ mini-van) to the site of the only rock paintings in Iringa. This hike was very fun as we were able to see the caves that those who created the paintings once lived and we were able to learn about how durable the paintings are. The paintings are thousands of years old, depict many animals, and were made with animal blood! We learned from our guide that a few years ago some local Tanzanians spray painted over the rock paintings and many people were scared that the paintings would be ruined. However, the paintings are very enduring and did not wash away as the paint that was sprayed over them did when people cleaned them. Our group really enjoyed hiking to a high point in Iringa as the views we saw, much like the rock paintings were breathtaking.
After the hike, we headed to Ilula to coach soccer at a new secondary school: Nyalumbu. The girls at Nyalumbu caught on to the drills that the leaders of the week had planned very quickly and so this was an added challenge for that day because the drills did not take up as much time as expected. Yet, our girls were ready for the challenge and began brainstorming other drills to coach the girls on! Overall, it was a really successful first day at this school and we are excited to be returning tomorrow!
Reflection today was also very special. Our group is so insightful and I am learning so much from them. Today we spoke about things we have learned so far in the program and the times we have felt most connected and most disconnected from people in our host country.
Some important lessons/ takeaways from the girls:
-Learning your strengths and weaknesses as a leader is an important skill to carry home with you
-Do not make assumptions about people or a culture - get to know them, ask questions, listen and share stories, immerse yourself
-Having experience and learning from past challenges make new challenges easier to think through
-Sometimes you just have to decide on something- you can't always wait on the perfect solution to a problem, especially if the problem is timely- you have to work as a group to make a decision collectively
-Packed train rides in Chicago are very different than packed dala dala rides
That is all from us right now! xoxo Make sure to look out for our first guest blogger tomorrow!
Dee and the Iringa Session 2 Girls!