Last week as you know, I paid a visit to Tanzania to see how our new school build is going. After a manic three and a half hour car journey from Dar Es Salaam with no A/C in one hundred degrees heat we arrived in the village of Bwawani and then changed into an old four wheel drive for our one hour drive into the bush, to the sub-village of Lukwambe where the school is located. As I said in my previous post, the school is being built to bring education to this little village and the 52 children of school going age who live there, who have no way of getting to the main school in Bwawani apart from a three hour walk both ways.
I was greeted with the usual welcome of children singing a song they had been rehearsing for the last 2 weeks in my honour and by the village head man who said great things about me (all in Swahili) or so I was told by our man on the ground, Remmy! After settling in to my bed in my little wooden hut I went up to the school to see how it has progressed since my last visit in July and, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the structure is now up with only a few windows and doors to go in, finish off the plastering and tiling, then painting and get the desks in, so nearly there! Then it’s build the toilet block and hopefully open in early April.
The thing you have to remember is that being in a very rural, location it takes forever to get all the materials to the site along that VERY bumpy track and there is no electricity and running water so all cutting of timbers and metals has to be done by hand and everything transported to the site, so there’s a lot of Pole Pole (oh by the way, that’s Swahili for slowly slowly or take it easy) mmmm, so things get done but at a different pace. Anyway while I was there we did get a lot of things done including plastering the entire front of the school, moving all of the bricks to the site of the new toilet block and building and marking the new access road, so not bad for a weeks work.
Now all of this energy sapping work is done on a very meagre diet of food that your average Tanzanian eats twice a day on a daily basis with little or no variation to this apart from the odd treat of a spoonful of meat in the form of Chicken, Goat or Impala. You have to remember these are extremely poor peasant families who survive on around a two dollars a day. I spent seven days on the ground and while I enjoyed the food and was most grateful to them for sharing it with me, I have to be honest and say that by day five I started to daydream about eating pasta with cheese or a hamburger and I did feel guilty for that, but I think it’s because I know that I am lucky enough to have that choice, they don’t so do they yearn for something else, I can’t answer that, but the one thing I do know is that I’m happy when I’m in that little village, as there is no exposure to the rubbish that goes on in our modern world and their daily lives certainly wouldn’t be made any better by that exposure, as they have it tough enough already.
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Here’s the kitchen…
The slow cooker! The fire stays lit all through the day and the heat is controlled by taking the logs in and out of the fire.
Here’s what I ate for seven days, give yourself a test and see how long you can eat it for before you yearn for a change, remember the villagers eat it for the rest of their lives!
Rural Tanzanian Daily Menu
Chapati (usually two)
Ugali (Maize, rolled up between the fingers and used to mop up your sauce)
Mchele (White Rice)
Maharage (Kidney Beans)
Mchuzi ya Nazi (Coconut Sauce, made from coconut shavings )
Mchicha (Greens, usually the tops off the sweet potato)
Viazi (Irish Potato)
Viazi Vitamu (Sweet Potato)
Nyama Mbuzi (Goat, a special treat)
as for lunch