This has been an interesting week. It had it’s ups and a few downs. Every day seems to be more challenging than the last. I may be getting tired or just missing my family and friends. Even though I have lived here a while and think I understand the culture of the Maasai, I don’t always appreciate some of their ways. I have now started to impose some of my wishes on them and they are a little confused as to this change in my behavior. One example is when I drive to Arusha which is about a two and a half hour drive, I say I am leaving at a certain time. Most of the time the people who have asked for a ride arrive 30 minutes to an hour and a half late. In the past I have waited for them as I know how much they need the help. Now I tell them when I am leaving and I do not wait 5 minutes. Their timeliness is improving as several have missed the free trip due to their own habits. No one seems to get angry and their friends laugh at them for missing an opportunity. I wish I would have started this earlier, as I would have saved myself a lot of grief.
Yesterday I visited an orphanage in Arusha. They don’t call it an orphanage they call it a rescue mission. The NGO’s name in Neema House. It is run by a retired couple from Temple Texas. They are both in their early 70’s and still going strong. They have 35 babies in their care. They range from just born to up to 3 years old. Each one has a heart breaking story, thrown to the side of the road, left in a latrine pit, just to name a few places where these babies came from. They are now in a very clean safe environment and get loving care way beyond what the normal Tanzanian child receives. It humbles me to see how much good people are doing. Neema House sponsors 11 children in the area where we work. We will partner with them to add assistance for distributing food and community relationships. They are looking at a water project where we may be able to use our experiences, both good and bad to add value to their efforts.
We have also been working with another NGO on a water project. It is in the justification stages now and will go in for approval next week. If approved we will implement the project for the Longido district communities. This is a very nice project which will bring both water and new farming capabilities to the area. The project will start in April which is when I will return from my visit with my family.
The drought continues. The area is brown again and the livestock are getting weak. Despite this my partner would like to buy more cattle as they are very inexpensive now. I do not agree with his plan as I do not believe that the land can support more cattle without supplementing their food. If we have to purchase additional food the animal cost rises and we would make no money or could even lose the entire investment. Maasai seem to only look at the positives when it comes to cattle and if things go bad they just say pole, pole. (sorry or too bad). They are a resilient tribe and if things go bad they pull together and start over.
I will be returning to the states in March and am looking forward to seeing my family as I said. When I return to Tanzania I will be busy with a solar project and water projects. I hope I can transform living in the Tanzanian bush to being similar to living in one of the nice gated communities of Arizona. We will see.
I wrote this six days ago and am still trying to publish. I need to get better reception where I live. We finished our proposal with the large NGO and am hoping to hear soon if we move forward or not. I am very looking forward to visiting family and friends in a few weeks.