Sunday, June 21st
“Careful, the dung is slippery.”
Oh boy oh boy. Time is FLYING by! I still can’t believe how much we see every single day. And how close we have all gotten. I have only known these people for 2 weeks, but I feel like we have been friends for much longer. It really makes the experience that much better.
Last week, we were given the challenge of learning about beekeeping and helping a small village with their techniques. On Friday, we traveled 2 hours to a small, secluded village called Bugor. We were broken up into teams to discuss an introduction, objectives, methods, previous results, techniques and recommendations. A lot of us have no experience in beekeeping, so we had to do our research. We hosted a village-wide meeting to facilitate discussion among the villages and ourselves to talk about problems, concerns and improvements. It was also difficult because most of them didn’t speak English, so we needed a translator. This village was far from a major city, so their perspectives of white people is very different. To give you an example. a villager said during the discussion that we should all quit school and marry them (completely serious). And many people were asked to marriage while we where there. It was very eye-opening to see a village so far behind and with such different culture.
On Saturday, we went to talk with an elder of the Iraqw tribe. This was probably my favorite traveling lecture. We spent the morning talking about marriage ceremonies, history, house life and so much more! The Iraqw people came to this area many years ago. Once the Maasai moved in, their tribes were constantly fighting for land and livestock. The fighting got so bad that the Iraqw started building all of their homes underground! A family consisting on parents and children and all their livestock (yes, ALL the cows and goats) would all live in the house at night to be hidden from the Maasai! The houses were HUGE and we even got to throw some traditional spears and grind millet! The marriage ceremony of the Iraqw people is also a beautiful ceremony. The women have 2 different dresses, and the actual wedding skirt is very intricate (seen above). It is made from goat skin, and every color and symbol stands for a family history, marriage advice or good luck. There is also a plant that will change the skin different colors that the wife will wipe on her hand for advice and good fortune. It is a very wonderful thing. Something really interesting to me was child birth. If a women is unable to hold a pregnancy, it is totally normal to adopt. That was surprising to me. They will, however, have the mother drink some of the child’s blood (and vice versa) to make it ‘true’. So interesting!
Today (Sunday) was a non program day. We got to sleep in a half hour, had breakfast at 8am, then headed to Karatu for a hike! The hike was very strenuous in the mountains, but SO worth it! We learned about many plants, saw a waterfall (from a distance (above) and right on top(below)!) and went to a large area where elephants dig for minerals! It was very beautiful and I felt like I was in the Amazon! After that, we went to a local restaurant called Happy Days, where we had Tanzanian pizza and local beers! After that, we walked to town then spent the rest of the day at lodge, chilling by the pool. It was very nice to just have our feet up and relax.
However, tomorrow means classes start again, and we have two papers and a presentation due on Thursday. So, for now it’s back to the grind.