Monday, July 11, 2011

Kigoma Adventures


I am writing to you all from the beautiful Jane Goodall Institute, located overlooking beautiful Lake Tanganyika. It's quiet today (Saturday) but everyone here at JGI has been busy all week preparing for a visit from Jane herself. Colleen is bummed out that we won't cross paths with Ms. Goodall, but our stay here has been exciting and productive nonetheless.

From our hilltop hotel called Coast View we hike down 15 minutes to the main street in Kigoma in the mornings. Here we can buy everything from PVC and metal pipes, hack saws, and electronics to peanut butter, rice and beans, and (our personal favorite) Nutella. Navigating the markets, both the narrow pathways and bargaining for appropriate prices, are somewhat of an art form. We've been stocking up on personal supplies for village life as well as materials for the stove projects which won't be readily available in Kalinzi.

A daladala trip down the road gets us to Mwanga market where the wood and metal workers are located. Stan has led part of the group there every day this week to touch base with these handymen who are building us a stove and a briquette press. Mwanga also contains many clothing shops (where the guys have been practicing their haggling skills) and lots of "watoto" (children)! Counting pieces of charcoal with the children was my favorite part of our first group visit to Mwanga. It was quite intimidating when one of the mothers started pointing and talking animatedly in Swahili to me, but the 18 kids surrounding me seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Because we have lots to prepare (and a large group of "wazungu" (white people) attracts a lot of attention), we've split up the last few days into groups of 2 or 3. Emil and our translator Stan have been buying project supplies and checking in with the workers at Mwanga. Our stove and press should be ready any minute! Kevin M. and I have been hanging out at JGI a bit to settle administrative stuff and use the internet. Kevin D. and James have been reading up on briquetting literature and buying personal items (they are in charge of buying food, ever since I was duped into paying 31,000 tsh for Nutella and peanut butter).

We are nearly done with our tasks in Kigoma, so we may end today a bit earlier than normal and relax this afternoon. Tomorrow we'll be up early to check out and head up the road to the village at last.


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