Friday, July 23, 2010

Water for Life

July 22, 2010

I had a perfect day in Tanzania. It started with a hot shower in our beautiful 2 bedroom banda at the Riverside Campground. We then had breakfast of crepes, hardboiled eggs, hot tea, and fresh fruit (mango and papaya). From there we loaded the coaster and headed for the Uhambingeto village, home to 5,600 residents and 700 students in the primary school newly equipped with a rainwater harvesting system built by Emmanuel International (EI). The system was a simple construction of corrugated zinc roofs, gutters, and pipes leading to a holding tank. The rainy season creates enough water to last through the year for all water needs of the school (drinking, sanitation) – assuming they stick to a strict budget. We then had chai and donuts at the church and were entertained by a few members of the choir – what a treat! Andrew (electrical engineer) and Andy (water engineer) from EI gave us a great look into village life and introduced us to many of the locals. They were so appreciative of our visit and so kind to us. I have never experienced hospitality like this before. After our visit we loaded our vehicles and headed for the Kibebe Farm, a dairy in Iringa. They are currently trying to become organic and have many challenges with trying to be a sustainable operation within a developing country. For example, the technology does not exist to do nutrient analysis on the feed. The livestock managers do not have a good idea what trace minerals the animals are receiving, and it is possible that the animals are deficient in nutrients that could be valuable to their production. Simple things like known feed rations and parasite burdens are a difficult science with no laboratory or trained technicians. Despite their challenges, the Kibebe Farm produces high quality dairy products that are in demand throughout the region. Though their animals may have reduced fertility and their milk production may taper as their cows reach 16 years of age, the family farm is making it and they are growing as their demands change.

All in all, this day was heartwarming, educational, and a bit unexpected. I got my picture with Tanzanian children and my song and dance from the African chorus. But I also got a sense of responsibility to the communities that share these delicate ecosystems that just want clean water and a safe place for their children to go to school. It is so imperative that if we are to protect wildlife and precious landscapes, we must start with the people. A better life, a better world must start with us. Lala salama.

 Signing the guest book of the village school on behalf of the Envirovet students 2010

Swahili lesson for today:

Punguza bei – Please lower the price

Naangalia tu – I am just looking

Una watoka wangapi? – How many children do you have?

Daktali ya wayama – veterinarian (doctor of animals)

Lala salama – sleep well

Tafadhali – please

Bei gani – how much?

Napapenda hapa – I love it here

Nakunpenda – I love you

Kuku – chicken

Tembo – elephant

Jina langu ni Amanda – My name is Amanda

Jina lako nani – What is your name?

Samahani – Excuse me

Maji ya chupa – bottled water

Ninasema kiswhaili kidogo sana – I speak very little Swahili

Habari za asubuhi – How is your morning?

Pole – Sorry

Wapi choo? – Where are the toilets?

Wanawake/wanaume – women /men


  1. This makes me cry, smile....but all in joy! Dreams realized. That's what perseverance does...



  2. Good idea!!