Sunday, February 7, 2010

Michael Reaches Tanzania

I have just been down in Tanzania for the first time. We left Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon and crossed the border in Namanga. The road is under construction and driving can be very dangerous, because of gigantic potholes and diversions without warning, but I am solely getting used to driving around in East Africa. The Kenyans tend to be a bit more crazy compared to Tanzanians in terms of driving. We have met with quite a number of people in Arusha, where we stayed in a hotel.

On Thursday we drove out to West Kilimanjaro to discuss the collaboration with the local Maasai communities, this is a slow process. I have a good feeling with one of the communities, which welcomed us in a very friendly way and have been already pro-active and have built a 3 inch pipe from a stream higher up on Kilimanjaro 11 km away!!!!. They took us to the intake The water is just enough for daily use of this 5000 people community and we were discussing options to increase the water flow. They are allowed to go to 6 inch which would allow to use water to irrigate some of the area.

The local government is also welcoming me to stay down in their village, which I will do relatively soon to get a better idea of the entire area and what the people want. I also have attached a photo of Maasai children, which are going to school (a lot of them still don’t). I hope I can ease the suspicion they often have about mzungu (white people) and we can start working on how we can improve the food and health situation in this area. We are also in touch with the District Commissioner located in Longido. I am still staying in Limuru, north of Nairobi in a hotel. The plan for the next week is meeting a few people in town (Nairobi) on Monday and leaving for Nanyuki on Wednesday to visit the community we have been involved with our Engineers Without Borders project. I can’t wait to go back there to tell them that we are getting closer to actually building the footbridge and to help the new EWB-UCI student chapter with their new project in the same community to improve the water supply of the secondary school.

I just got my first stomach bug and I am feeling a bit weak, not to worry, this is normal and I was wondering that I did not get it already J.

Hugs to everybody and you will hear from me again in about a week.


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