Hello friends, both those I know well and those I wish I knew better! I appreciate how many of you have let me know you really care about what is going on over here. Over the last 2 weeks, I have gotten to be friends with several Tanzanians, some of them being Simon, our gardener; Daniel, our security guard; Shija, the woman who keeps our house; Stefano, Mpina, Rogers, and Frederick, pikipiki drivers who drive me to school; and Saida and Devota, who go to the same school as I do, though they are learning English.
I have also learned how to make the local staple ugali, and quite a bit of Swahili (the title means “meeting at Ingrichini”). The thing most worth sharing about though, is the meeting of the community leaders last Friday. Leaders from several of the new churches in the area met at the building for the church at Ingrichini. One of the leaders at the meeting was Jacobo, a pastor from Ingrichini who has provided quite a bit of leadership to the budding churches in the Mara region. It made me happy to see how happy he was to see me again. Another leader was Parmao, a Tanzanian who has studied development at the university level, and who I am looking forward to working with quite a bit. I was also thankful to meet again with Frances, a community leader from Gamasara who welcomed me into his house for lunch on one Sunday last summer.
At the meeting, (graciously translated by Eric) they discussed one of their first projects, which was caring for several beehives each at five of the churches in the area. They then discussed which other projects they want to add in the coming year. Parmao suggested that they should agree on several focuses that would help them decide which projects to begin. After quite a bit of discussion, they agreed on
-Education (more informal community type education than formal)
-Improving on the community’s understanding of what development looks like and how it is carried out
I really enjoyed seeing these folks work together to figure out how their communities could take a step forward. Attending the meeting has been my biggest motivation to learn Swahili faster, as it really strengthened my hunger to begin working with them as soon as possible.