Wiki Nne: Meet the Newest Bajaji Drivers

Mambo vipi! Over the past week, the Tanzamaniacs had a mixture of good-byes and hellos.

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The week started off well with a trip to the Chemka hot springs. Our favorite bajaji driver (and our favorite person in general), George, drove us part of the way to the springs. Halfway to the springs, on some very sketchy roads, George pulled over and asked Andrew if he wanted to drive. Andrew half jokingly-half nervously said yes, which then prompted George to get out of the vehicle and switch seats with Andrew. After four or five jump starts, and the direct quote from George: “I value my life, mon,” Andrew was finally able to get the bajaji going. After driving for about 5 minutes, George asked if anyone else wanted to drive, which prompted Ian to excitedly yell, “Ummmm YES!” (since his dream is now to become a Bijaji driver). So then Ian drove the bajaji (much better than Andrew did), followed by Lauren (who was as bad as Andrew, if not worse), then Jennifer (who drove the best out of the group). Also, it might be noteworthy to mention that the bajaji was a manual transmission, so all group members can now say that they drove a stick-shift bajaji before they ever drove a stick-shift car. The hot springs turned out to be more like lukewarm springs, but the group did not mind since it was the first warm water they had felt in three weeks (since bucket showers apparently only comes in the cold setting).  Upon entering the springs, the group was swarmed by hordes of flesh-eating fish, making them very uncomfortable (except for Jennifer who seemed to enjoy the madness and insists on calling them merely “kiss nibbles” (we’re not sure how she hasn’t been voted off the island yet)). Ian almost died jumping off a 30 ft tree, while Andrew nearly broke his leg after attempting a double backflip off of the rope swing.  Lauren and Jennifer exercised basic common sense and didn’t come close to dying (in reality, no one actually almost died and the team enjoyed the day swimming in the springs, relaxing, and jumping off of trees).

The work week began much like the ones before, with Lauren and Andrew traveling to Orkolili Secondary School and Ian and Jennifer attempting to travel to Nkwamakuu Primary School. On Monday, Lauren and Andrew taught English to the Form 2 and 3 classes. Due to a minor accident (check out Jennifer’s bloopers), Ian and Jennifer did not make it to Nkwamakuu on Monday, meaning they had to finish up some teaching on Tuesday.
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Tuesday was a crazy day for both set of school teams. The day started with Ian and Jennifer teaching Standard 7 at Nkwamakuu. They led the class in multi-subject Jeopardy (covering the subjects of English, Swahili, Math, and Science) and followed that game up with a round of Math Bingo. They said their goodbyes at Nkwamakuu at the end of this class, which ran late, and hurried off to their next destination that day, Orkolili. There, they were meeting up with Andrew and Lauren to help teach a final lesson of English to Form 1 students followed by leading an HCD workshop with Form 4. Lauren and Jennifer led the workshop for the Form 4 girls and Ian and Andrew led the workshop for the Form 4 boys. Each group tackled different problems as they worked through the 5 Phases of HCD. After the classes, the team said their goodbyes at Orkolili.

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Wednesday was the start of a new adventure for the Tanzamaniacs as they left their home of 3 weeks (Boma Ng’ombe) to go to their new home (Old Moshi Hostel) for their remaining 2 weeks in Moshi. Surprisingly, none of them lost their luggage during the travel and they were even able to fit (barely) all their luggage in one car. It was a good thing that three of the team members are fun-sized (Thanks for the leg-room, Ian). They were all excited to have a day of rest on Wednesday, arriving around 10:30 am. Eva welcomed them to her Hostel and they were instructed to tell Gideon (who also works at the hostel) when they were ready for a tour of the town. They left around 1:30 pm to walk to downtown Moshi, about a half hour walk from the Hostel. Gideon showed them the way to downtown and pointed out a couple of the restaurants that they might enjoy, but there was only one thing that the entire team was looking for… Pizza. It had been 3 weeks since anyone had gotten to eat any cheese and the team had started googling the nearest pizza place during week 2. Lauren asked Gideon if he knew of any good places and he led the way to a restaurant by the name of Indo-Italiano. To say the the team was  excited when they saw that the menu listed about 26 different pizzas would be an understatement. They ended up settling for a four-cheese pizza and cheesy bread (and swearing to come back for more). After pizza, Gideon showed the team where the market place was and then where to go to catch a bus back to the Hostel. Once on the bus, it was the team’s responsibility to make sure that the bus stopped where they needed it to (Gideon had a laugh at the team’s confusion. Very funny, Gideon). This may or may not have caused some flashbacks to being abandoned on day two by their professor. (Very funny, Mary). The team also learned that just like the busses in Boma, people were crammed together like sardines. Good to see some things never change.

After the restful day of Wednesday, the Tanzamaniacs were thrown back into work on Thursday. They started their day traveling to a local Technical College, where they met the principal and introduced themselves. Upon hearing that three out of the four students were studying engineering, the principal proceeded to ask them which classes they would be teaching. Feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure how to say no, they felt as though their plates got loaded with things to do. Initially, they were going to be lecturing two classes a day (we weren’t sure when we had been granted the honor of being a professor but we all agreed we probably were deserving of a pay raise). Lauren and Ian landed on only teaching Technical Drawing for Level 2 on Friday and then discussed with the principal that it would be better to only have them teach two classes the next week. Their second location for the day was at Amani Children’s Home, a refuge for street children found in the area. They got a tour of the facility and a run down of what the home does before enjoying lunch with the students. After lunch, they sat down with Rebecca, Communication Manager, for Amani, and discussed the projects that Amani’s hoped the team could complete while here. One project was to work on creating a welcome display board for the front entrance. They wanted the board to show a slideshow, on a automatic loop, that gave statistics, photos, and videos of things happening at the home. Some of the features they wanted was for it to be automatically updated when they updated their own database. Amani’s hope is to have it up by October 2018, but the team was unsure if this was doable in the short amount of time they are spending there. They expressed that they could get Amani’s a prototype to test and then take back the information to get help from some students at Michigan Tech. After the meeting, everyone got to go meet the children currently at the home. Andrew wowed a group of kids by doing flips in the yard, Ian and Lauren joined in on a small football match, and Jennifer sat to watch, allowing kids to come to her to talk.

On Friday, Lauren and Ian set off to teach Technical Drawing for Level 2 at the Technical College in the morning and Andrew and Jennifer set off to start working on the project at Amani’s. Teaching at the college was definitely the most challenging teaching assignment the team had encountered, especially since they were teaching technical drawing, a topic they had not thought about in two or three years. The lesson went just as well as you would expect a college-level class taught by two (barely) college-age students to go (so much for that pay raise).  By the end of the lecture, the only thing more incomplete than the students notebooks was their understanding of the topic. By the time Ian and Lauren joined Andrew and Jennifer, Andrew had discovered how to PowerPoint to update whenever he updated a spreadsheet on Excel. By the end of the day, the team had figured out how to start up the Raspberry Pi and had created a very simple prototype of a looping PowerPoint presentation with database compatibility.


Saturday was a day of adventure for everyone. Upon asking Eva, she set up a trip to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro that involved visiting the entrance to the Kilimanjaro National Park, a waterfall, a Chagga (tribal) cave, and learning how to make coffee. Their first stop was the starting point for hiking up Kilimanjaro, where they got to learn some history about the mountain and take photos. Since they did not have permits, they were not allowed to go on any of the trails. From there, they headed to Kilasiya waterfalls, where they got a guided tour down to the falls. After climbing down into a ravine, they reached a river where they could view the waterfall from a distance. Thinking this was the end of the hike, they took pictures and got ready to head back up. However, instead of the hike being over, it was really just beginning. They all took off their shoes and were lead one by one across the river with the guide as an anchor (in the US it would be breaking probably at least about 100 safety rules). After making it across the river, they climbed barefoot over boulders to reach the bottom of the waterfall, which pictures just don’t do justice.
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After the waterfalls, the group was taken to a Chagga cave, where they also learned how to make coffee from raw coffee beans. The cave was a guided tour, starting with a brief history of why the caves were created. Since Mount Kilimanjaro produces an atmosphere great for growing many crops, many nomadic tribes tried to claim the area. The Chagga Tribe and Masai Tribe often competed for the land, so the Chagga Tribe created caves to protect themselves from the Masai. The caves had three main parts: the opening, where the Chagga would defend themselves against the Masai, the mortuary, where they would discard of the Masai’s bodies, and the living quarters, where the families would go when the Masai came. The cave was a series of tunnels, dug out using rocks, wood, and mammal bones. The entrance went down into the earth and led to a small indent where the Chagga guard would wait for the Masai to enter. The Masai would usually enter in two groups, the first group would be large and often would hit their heads on the low ceilings of the tunnel and the second group would be small and often crawled through the tunnel. The Chagga, using a weapon appropriately called the skull crusher, would hit the invading Masai over the head. Those bodies would then be taken to the mortuary, where the Chagga would dismember the bodies at nights, throwing the pieces into the river below to be washed away in the darkness so civilians wouldn’t see (we’re not sure why after explaining this they handed us the weapons they used to use to perform these actions). When it was a small group invading, the Chagga would use another weapon to capture the Masai and would keep the group as slaves. Our guide led us through the tunnels, explaining what would happen in each area before leading us back up. Once out of the tunnels, the guide took the tour group to a Chagga hut and explained how it was set up, with the husband having his own bed and the wife sleeping next to the children. Half of the hut had a place for goats or other livestock to stay and they also built overhead storage areas, much like an loft in a barn. After finishing with the history of the Chagga, the tour guided led a lesson in the process of coffee making, starting with how the beans were de-shelled, roasted, pounded into powder, and boiled. The team got to taste some of the coffee in the end.

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Week 4 (Nne, not Quatro, Lauren) Bloopers

Andrew

-At the hot springs, Andrew, a water resource engineering student, asked where the water came from.

-Couldn’t tell the difference between coffee and chocolate, and ingested way more caffeine than he had intended (as if Andrew needs even more energy).

Lauren

-Wanted to impress our bajaji driver by driving no-handed (she was actually stressed by the whole stick shift thing).  He was not impressed.

-Apparently thinks dogs and pigs are the same animals

-Forgot the first rule of Tanzania and contaminated her toothbrush (in her defense there was running water that day, an exciting moment for all)

Jennifer

-Sunday: While getting her bajaji driving lesson, thought running over some goats would give her a speed boost (she missed, so I guess we will never know)

-Monday morning: Deciding that the week hadn’t been difficult enough already (yet) proceeded to impale her knee on a fence post. Scaring Ian by almost passing out several times (*pole sana*).

Ian

-At the Chagga cave tour on Saturday, the tour guide asked where bananas came from, which Ian gave a very proud of answers “trees!”… not exactly the answer they were looking for.

Group

– Got hungry so they went to a pub.  There wasn’t any food there so they tried a restaurant.  Apparently restaurants in Tanzania only serve beer. Next week they’ll try a hotel. Stay tuned to find out if they will be able to successfully order a meal at a restaurant in the coming week.


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