Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saadani 2008

Hi everyone! This is my (Logan) first post. Thank you all so much for your support and for watching our blog.

For my first post I thought I'd talk a little about the first time I visited Saadani Village. It was in the Fall semester of 2008 with an academic, study abroad program called ACM Tanzania. Our group spent a lot of time at the University of Dar es Salaam and in National Parks in the north. We also spent a month doing research at a rural hospital near the Ngorongoro Crater.

Sometime in the middle of the program, two others and I decided to take a week and visit Saadani National Park. At fist we camped in a tent about a half a mile out of the village. We later moved into the town and stayed at the local guest house, where we will most likely stay during the Saadani Water Project. During my time there I grew very attached to the village, particularly the school children. One night, we were invited to Siri's (a local) home for dinner. He was a very friendly man. Inspirational, in fact. Siri was a fisherman by trade and he would get up every day at 4 AM to pull in the shrimp nets and spend the rest of the day fishing to provide his family with food to eat. Even so, his family prepared a wonderful meal for us which filled our stomachs to the brim.

The children in the village were also very charming. One day, we played a soccer match with all the boys at the school. I hope the teachers didn't mind because as soon as we showed up at the school all the kids darted out of the classroom and into the field. My friends and I made good friends with four of the boys, in particular. They were Juma, Winjuma, Hamisi, and to my shame I cannot remember the name of the fourth. They became our entourage for the rest of the time that we were there.

By the time we had to return to Dar es Salaam, we had made many friends. While I had grown very attached to the people there, I also developed a deep concern for their well being. Many things troubled me during my stay there: their water was dirty; their doctor was gone for a month; the school was unfinished and falling apart; there was no electricity; etc, etc. These observations compelled me to make a promise to myself that I would return there one day to try my best to make a difference in their lives. That's just what Monica and I are doing. But we aren't just doing it to satisfy some guilt and then call it good and turn our backs. For me, this is just the beginning.

Whew, it's bed time so I'll leave it at that for tonight. :) Above I've posted a picture of Siri, a picture of myself and some of the boys at the school, and a picture of the village.

Have a wonderful day!

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