Arusha Project


Planting at Tupendane
July 22, 2007, 9:27 am
Filed under: Abroad Program, Uncategorized

Our second round of volunteers have arrived and jumped full swing into their work in different placements throughout Arusha town and the surrounding neighborhoods. The individuals volunteering near the center of Arusha town are dropped off by our dala dala, but those placed in further settings get there independently on the public dala dala system.
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The dala dalas can be a little harrowing at first. Just imagine a small minivan with around ten seats pulling up to you on the side of the road. Usually the van is already packed with quite a few people. While the can is still moving a doorman jumps out, starts yelling the destination in a voice so monotonous and fast that you feel like you are in some bidding room, and starts to corral potential passengers into his car. The first step of success is getting on the right dala dala and finding a seat, the later has a whole strategy attached to it involving comparing the length of your trip with the existing crowd factor and the number of bags you have to maneuver. The second step is not getting ripped off. The doorman, who also collects the fare, often thinks that he has the right to charge what he pleases and getting back the right amount of change can sometimes be quite the hassle. The third step is getting off at the right place. It takes some getting used to, but eventually you realize that you really do enjoy the public transport here. Dala dalas come almost every one to five minutes, they will always find space for to fit you in, they get you to where you want to go relatively fast, and they are cheap. That’s a conundrum for American public transportation, but then again, packing 20 people into the back of a van wouldn’t be all that legal in the States either.

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Yesterday, we had almost that many shoved into our Arusha Project dala dala on a ride up to Maji ya Chai. This is our second visit to Tupendane, the partner location to CCF (Children for Children’s Future) and the permanent home for CCF at-risk youth. This time we brought small starter plants with us to fill up the rest of their yard. Their small farm, already flush with cabbage, tomatoes, onions ad a variety of other leafy greens, is used to feed the children living there. With the extra plants we brought, a few tools and some buckets to bring water from a nearby abandoned fishery pond, we were able to plant another large section of their garden with everything from peppers, and eggplant to Chinese cabbage.

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After a few hours of planting and weeding, and a second lunch that the Tupendane cooks kindly prepared for us, the boys started showing off their talents: free styling and acrobatics. It was a good and sometimes comical scene, and they boys, far from humble, showed off to the max. They finished off the day with some entertaining dance moves to the radio music from our dala dala. It’s amazing how people move here, whether they intend to put on a show or they are just following a faint beat, it’s beautiful.
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-Kaia

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