New Experiences in Tanzania

By Ben and Rebecca

Hello Beloved Family,

Let us tell you about our crazy week! We arrived at the small village of Mufindi at around 5 on Sunday evening. We were thrown directly into a week of new experiences and a little bit of culture shock. We were to spend the next 5 days in homestays with the families of Mufindi. We would not see our fellow Carpe students until that Friday.

We all had very different but equally enriching experiences. Some of us were with farming families and spent some time in their fields, some of us attempted to carry firewood and water on their head with nothing but a kanga for support, and some of us were treated to a week of rest and relaxation. Depending on how involved our family wanted us to be they would either bring us along to work or leave us to read and contemplate life all day.

We were treated to three traditional Tanzanian meals per day. In a usual day, we would eat rice, beans, and ugali (flour mixed into boiling water to create a goo). For vegetables, we would usually eat potatoes, some sort of greens, and the occasional fruit. Some of us helped prepare the meals over a wood fire in our cleverly constructed outdoor kitchens.

Some unique experiences from the groups of people were: Megan and Ben spent 3 hours in church one afternoon, Ellie G and Maddy were bathed and hand fed by their house mama, Reb, and Eve spent afternoons pulling potatoes while fighting off biting ants, Lily, Ellie B, and Reid got experience pulling water out of a 60 foot well, Hanya and Eli learned how to make chipsi mayai (french fries and eggs).

After we had a tearful reunion with our group, we moved into houses on the campus of the Mufindi Children’s Home. This orphanage is targeted towards providing a home and education to children whose parents died of HIV/AIDS. We spent an afternoon helping children with their homework, playing games, or feeding the babies/toddlers. Following that we watched a spooky movie to celebrate Halloween with all the children. The next day we went on a hike to a dam that the Fox NGO made and spent the afternoon lounging in the grass and swimming in the water.

This week we learned some of the intense life stories of the children living at the orphanage, how this particular NGO is attempting to address the HIV epidemic in Tanzania, and the everyday life/ family structure of Tanzanian people in rural villages.

As we enter the last month of our journey we are trying to stay present and appreciate the rest of our time together. After a somewhat difficult week, we look forward to going to Ohana Amani this following week to learn about sustainable farming and do a bit of yoga and meditation. Check back in next week for Ben and Ellie G’s impressions from that experience!

XOXO, Gossip Girl