It’s crazy how quickly these 5 weeks have gone by. I think I speak for us all when I say that although we are leaving, we are not at all ready to say goodbye to Arusha and the many wonderful people we have met here. We are so appreciative of how welcoming everyone has been to us. You know you’re in a welcoming place when you go to a stranger’s home (thinking it was a partner’s office) and you hear “Welcome to our home!” rather than “Who are you?”
Along with the many different forms of documentation we are working on this week, we’ve been having our wrap-up meetings with our partners. Yesterday, we visited Vision 4 Youth for the last time. We brought the small-scale TLUD kiln that we made in Bernard’s shop and ran a few demonstrations for them. We were happy to leave the kiln with them with the hope that they will continue to experiment with it and eventually invest in a larger TLUD! We also enjoyed a delicious lunch with them and they gave us some great Vision 4 Youth t-shirts. We’re so thankful for the time they have given us, and for the amazing initiative they have taken with the project.
This morning we met with the women from EMORG and two representatives from Lulu VICOBA at EMORG’s workspace. Unfortunately, EMORG’s carpenter had not completed the grinder as we had hoped, but he has promised that it will be finished by Friday. The women have agreed to keep in touch with us and let us know how it works, we’re keeping our fingers crossed! On a more positive note, it was great for the EMORG women to meet the representatives from Lulu VICOBA. They discussed the differences in their briquetting techniques (Lulu VICOBA uses newspaper binder and doughnut molds, while EMORG uses cassava binder and cylindrical molds) as well as the cultural items that both groups make and sell. We’re so happy that 3 of our groups have connected, and hope that they stay in touch in the future.
It is sad to be leaving so soon, but we hope that it is “baadaye” rather than “kwaheri.” We have so many people to thank for making our time here so incredible. We want to thank all of our partners for the hard work and time that they have put into this project, and we hope that we have been helpful in one way or another. EMORG, Vision 4 Youth, Lulu VICOBA and Upendo – we have truly enjoyed working with and learning from you! We also want to thank Didas, Troy, Bill, Nema and Reggie, who helped fill our home in Engo with tasty food and fun times. Of course, we would also like to thank the Bioenergy team on campus for helping us get here and for staying in touch via skype every week! Along the same lines, we are extremely grateful to our DHE advisors (Jessica Friedman, Holly Wilkinson, Charlie Sullivan, Mark Laser and Dean Helble) for this opportunity and for putting so much time and effort into helping us prepare for the trip.