Transition to Stage 2
It seems like moments ago that we arrived in this country that we have grown to quickly love. The past two weeks, filled with many field visits to schools, farms, clinics and bore holes, have come and gone with the end of the study tour. The five participants who came specifically for the study tour have flown home and it is now the Badili Mitzamo team that has remained behind to embark on the second half of our six week Tanzanian adventure. I’ve felt spoiled these past two weeks. Each day was planned for us, from our meals to our field visits, even our optional entertainment was pre-planned to some extent. We had drivers to take us anywhere we needed to be, and we rarely pulled out our wallets as the bills were always taken care of for us from our initial participation fees. Our comfortable lifestyle will be missed but there is a comfort that comes with transitioning from an artificial lifestyle to one with more substance with its realism.
Moving into our permanent residence in a guest house in Karatu, we were given a tour by a well travelled temporary house-mate who went into detail how to do some of the most basic things in the house. She explained how to add water to the toilet to flush it, how to boil water for a bucket-bath, and which mosquito nets were best. One of the first things many of us did once we had set down our bags was to do a little laundry. Of course, when one, “does laundry,” here, it means something quite a bit more hands on than we mean at home in Canada. Although I had a basic idea of it, I re-learned how to do my own laundry today when I filled a bucket with water, got out the soap and started scrubbing away at my, “knickers.” Thankfully, there will be someone around the house three times a week to help with laundry so we won’t have to spend too much time on the this chore, but I certainly do have a new appreciation for washing machines at home, as well as a new respect for the women here who bend over a pool of water scrubbing away for minutes or hours for each load.
With the laundry done, we are settling in nicely to our new accommodations and are mentally prepared for the next task ahead. With the Badili Mitzamo service learning portion, we will be focusing our efforts on a number of goals. One of the main goals will be to guide the Tanzania CPAR staff through a series of communication modules meant to enhance their photography, video, and writing skills. Since CPAR works closely with UMATU, we will also be aiding the UMATU women with the development of a business plan for a café they would like to open. These two tasks will occupy much of our attention, but we will continue to go on field visits to view the progress and talk with the participants of the CPAR programs in the community. While we will be teaching and sharing what we know, we will continue to gather information and learn what we can about development work and CPAR as an organization, updating our blog, writing articles, and posting videos and photos.
In the past two weeks, we have been mainly observing and asking questions. It will be interesting to see how the next four weeks will go. I expect there will be many deep discussions, creative problem solving and a few unanticipated challenges that are sure to test our patience. I am hopefully for what lies ahead and eager to take it on. I would like to pose a question to the readers now. What sorts of challenges might you experience or anticipate when embarking on a new job in a new field or environment with new tasks you’ve yet to ever experience? What strategies might have you employed to cope with the change? All thoughts are welcome.
– Jacklynn –