Vipi? My name is Florian, I’m from Germany and I have been volunteering in Tanzania for TATU Project the last 6 weeks. Why? Because I felt that I needed a break from my studies and getting to know a new culture and helping local people at the same time seemed to be a great escape. I think there is no need to mention that it turned out to be the great escape I was hoping for!
In the local community I have been in charge of a bicycle project. Here is the story in short: A few weeks ago we got a donation of 33 bicycles through cooperation with the US-based organization GlobalBike. These bicycles are meant to support the people in the community in everyday life by reducing the time they spend on travelling every day significantly and enabling them to reach farther. You might think that this is not a big deal for them but in fact they often spend three or even four hours a day just on travelling – a lot of it by foot – to go to the market, fetching water, collecting firewood etc. So the bicycles are a great relief for them and give them new opportunities, even to support their current business or start a business through the new mobility. All in all, the bicycle project is intended to contribute to the empowerment of the people and especially women in our rural community, fingers crossed!
But now some more information about my work on the project: So the community decided to set up four bicycle rental businesses spread over the area of the village to make best use of the bicycles for everyone. That means I have been supporting the rental stations in setting up their business as well as teaching them how to maintain the bicycles and preparing them in the first place. I enjoy it very much to work on the bicycles together with the locals, it’s so much fun and the cultural exchange couldn’t be any better. Another important part of the project is to assess the impact of the bicycles on the community, for which I have developed and conducted an interview. What I can already say at this point is that the reception of the bicycles in the community is overwhelmingly positive so chances are high that the project will be a success!
Of course my stay here doesn’t only consist of working but also of a lot of fun and exchange with the other volunteers after work or at the weekend when we often do some trips to amazing places around Moshi. My favorite weekend trip so far has been to Lake Chala, where I was even lucky enough to spend my birthday! Lake Chala is a fresh-water lake right at the border to Kenya, half of the lake is even in Kenya so it’s a very unusual way of crossing a border swimming in a lake if you are keen enough (don’t forget your passport though 😉 ). Anyway, the place is amazing, so beautiful and still rather a hidden secret; it’s not very touristy, which makes it so enjoyable. Just look at that sunrise and there are no more words necessary…