It has now been a week since I packed up and left my home in London, Ontario to begin my adventure here in Mwanza. I think that the thrilling feeling of such a new and exciting experience is still lingering as I have been keeping myself busy meeting new people and exploring everything around me.
I was able to meet our program supervisor and director at Mikono Yetu, Maimuna alongside some of the other staff that work there to run and oversee the programs and kitchens. The journey to the Mikono Yetu ‘headquarters’ was accompanied by a long and bumpy dala dala ride as well as lots of walking with the hot sun blazing down upon us. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding experience to meet the staff there and learn firsthand how they each contribute to such a great program that allows for the financial empowerment and independence of so many women in the community.
I’m looking forward to starting my project of assisting in mapping and evaluating the community kitchens as well as looking for key important trends and characteristics in order to establish a sustainable model for the success of future yogurt kitchens. There are a few tasks I’ve come by already that I never thought that I would be working on– such as grant applications and business proposals, but I’m learning how to collaborate with my fellow interns to approach any challenges we may face.
I also love how close our Mwanza intern group has become already – I look forward to our daily “family meetings” in my room with snacks and board games as well as regular adventures in the market and eating together every night. I don’t think that I would have been able to adjust to living here so quickly without their support 🙂
We were able to visit Saint Augustine University (SAUT) here in Mwanza with Diane and Kajan to hear about their project proposals to the professor that would increase awareness to the Campus Yogurt Kitchen as well as benefits of probiotic yogurt– I’m looking forward to seeing these ideas come to life! We also bought some yogurt for ourselves which was a perfect complement to the hot day.
I was also fortunate to be able to meet with some family and friends this past weekend who showed me around Mwanza as well as some the places where my dad and his family grew up here. While I’ve heard many stories and seen some pictures of these places, it was a whole different experience to be standing there myself after all these years. I’m looking forward to doing some more exploring here!
Until next time,
Mambo – informal greeting (“Hey!”)
Dala Dala – local bus in Tanzania
Kwa Heri – Goodbye