So after 18 minutes of trying to get to this webpage at Karibou Cafe, we're finally ready to post.
Today was the first full day in Tanzania. We're staying in a very small town called the Monduli District that is a central point of a lot of villages. It's about an hour away from Arusha, the nearest city. That's where we spent most of the day today at the Nane Nane Festival. The festival is for the districts in the Arusha area to showcase various agricultural and technological innovations that they're trying to spread in the area. We went with some Maasai women who were there to demonstrate the effectiveness of the stoves that they build vs. just using an open fire. It was pretty cool to see the side-by-side comparison; there was hardly any smoke escaping from the stove, while the open fire was pretty difficult to stand by because it was soooo smokey (and this was outside, so imagine what it would be like inside someone's home). Even when the stove top was open with a pot on top of it, it still didn't leak smoke. You could also tell that the stove used a lot less firewood than the open fire; I think that the number is around a third of the amount needed for the open fire. Earlier in the morning, we also got to see the area where the stoves are constructed. More on that in the next post.
The place was PACKED with people, especially school children in uniform. They were pretty enthusiastic about asking me to take their pictures and very modelesque in their poses. The kids also really enjoyed practicing their English - we were pretty much hit with "good mornings" and "hellos" from every side all day. People here are clearly very friendly. But that's not to say that we didn't also get a lot of surprised calls of "muzungu" (basically means white person). To be fair, we were pretty much the only muzungu in the whole festival, so I can see why we stood out a bit.
We've been learning (trying to?) a lot of Swahili while we've been here. So far we've got Jambo (hello), asante sana (thank you very much), karibu (welcome), and a few more. Stephanie's basically fluent at this point. Some of the Maasai women who build the stoves have been especially patient teachers, feeding us word after word that we have no clue about the meaning of but repeat back. It's actually a successful method.
Kisioki, the project manager and our host here is pretty incredible. He's made us feel super karibu and has taught us a lot about the stove building process and the local culture.
Pictures to come in the next post, (hopefully).