For the past couple of days, we have been hanging out at the Tanapa office (TAnazania NAtional PArks – In charge of tourism) to talk to the people in charge. As we mentioned before, our primary contact has been gone, and supposedly, she will be returning today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday). For two days we fruitlessly waited at the Tanapa office, so we decided to send an email to the people we wished to meet with, which spurred a response.
Within hours, we were called to the office where they began questioning us. The current staff at the office doesn’t know much about our project because they hadn’t been fully informed. However, the village knew we were coming and had given us a letter of support about 4 months ago. So, the Tanapa staff had no idea why we were here, and were a little surprised that we hadn’t met with the village leaders yet. This made me a little frustrated because we had been trying to talk to them for the past two days to get information about who the village leaders were and to arrange a meeting.
While talking to the Tanapa officials about why we were there and explained our project and plan, they started to tell us about the water situation in the village. A few years ago, a survey was done to look for water near the village, and that there is even a water committee in the community that is continually trying to address the issue of water.
It’s turns out that there was a community meeting going on at that time near the primary school (100 yards from the Tanapa office), so they brought us over there and introduced us to the village executive officer and the village leader. They told us that they would come get us in the morning. So, currently, we’re sitting on the porch to our cabana waiting to be picked up to go into town and meet with the village leaders about the project.
The Tanapa officials told us some interesting things about the local village. Apparently, the community meeting they were having was to check on status of the projects. The Tanzanian government gives money to the village for small projects, and it is the job of the community to check up on the projects periodically to see the progress. These projects include small restaurants, small businesses, or fishing.
So, we’ve made a small amount of progress, and currently, the project altogether is appearing very daunting, but we will know more after our meeting with the village leaders.