I am in Arusha so I am able to send this note. Things are getting better in some ways anymore difficult in others. I now can access email on the web browser from my house, provided I sit at the window and point the modem towards naming. Not the easiest office desk to work at but better than sitting under a tree 3 km from my house. That is the good news. the bad is the drought continues. We had rain a few weeks ago and thought maybe we were over the worst. the cattle have started to recover from their lack of food. Unfortunately the rains have stopped and the grass is turning brown again. Everyone says the big rains come in Feb. I hope so because the people here have suffered losing cattle.
Many other things are happening and it is all good. We are in negotiation with a large NGO to assist in a project that will bring much needed water to the Maasai in our region. The water will be an additional source for domestic as well as livestock in the long draught seasons we have been experiencing. The work will also include teaching new methods of small plot farming for the addition of vegetables to the Maasai diet. One of the biggest selling points for us was teaching the Maasai how to grow fodder for their livestock. The drought has really affected the Maasai as livestock are their main means of income. This year has been very difficult with many cattle dying of starvation. We know this program will benefit the Maasai greatly.
I am planning on returning to the States in March. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I have a few stories to tell and I am sure I have a lot of new stories to listen to. I will stay a short time and return to Tanzania. There is much to do here if one wants to be busy. I have been enjoying my front porch. The views of the mountains, especially in the mornings is spectacular. The animals walk by almost every day reminding me that I am in Africa.
I have made a lot of new friends while I have been here. The younger ones keep me active. Their acceptance of a foreigner is amazing. It is funny at times because they treat me as if I need to learn everything. They want to show me how to drive my car, walk to the water and even cook. It’s fun most of the time but trying to have a conversation using as little as two words and some hand gestures can be a challenge. In order to make a point you just have to make louder noises, at least that is what they do.
I am working on starting a garden at my house. It is difficult to get fresh vegetables here so it is best if I can grow the basics. My father always had tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, paisley and basil. These grow well here so I will now try and use what he taught me to make a decent garden.
We are seeing many more hyenas, the locals say it is because so many cattle died the hyenas are happy. March is when the lions come through our area. I will not be here to see unless I get lucky to see an early arrival or a late comer. I am sure the zebra, and antelopes will not be too happy to see them. They only pass through as they move to less inhabited areas.
I have stated many times that I have no gift for writing. I only do this because my children complain that I do not communicate enough. It is funny because when they were small they complained I talked too much. I have a few friends who would agree. I get to listen more here since I do not speak either Swahili, or Maasai. Maybe given enough time I may pick up a few more phrases.
I will update on the project work soon.