Here’s good news: the Arusha library is packed, PACKED, with middle schoolers diligently studying physics and chemistry of their own volition. Packed, library, middle schoolers. No joke.
Today I struck out on my own, hopping the dulladullas into town for meetings with the NGOs that I met on Saturday. Both are cool, but all that I can think to do is build websites for them:
Jatropha Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative Encourages farmers to grow a nut called Jatropha which (contrary to the org’s name) can’t be eaten. Jatropha produces a clear inedible oil which can be used as an industrial lubricant, a soap or a fuel.The plant puts down a deep taproot, which makes it ideally suited for Tanzanian drought conditions, and can provide drought-prone communities with cheap fuel or even crops for export.
Traditional Irrigation & Environmental Development Organization Builds irrigation pipes and helps farmers form democratic organizations to maintain them. Very cool, because water system maintenance is a mess and because they make sure that women are given an equal voice in what happens to the water.
When I met with the guy from this second NGO he was quick to point out that irrigation was INVENTED not far from the city of Arusha, and that it was probably a good idea to approach new water projects with an understanding of what’s currently in place.
Afterwards I wandered around downtown Arusha with an eye for libraries, the street layout and new words in Swahili. I found a thriving tourist hub, the largest in northern Tanzania, complete with a UN complex, jumbotrons, and more money exchanges than Boston has Dunkin Donuts. The town has the eerie wealth disparity you would expect from a 3rd world tourist hub, and the pickpockets and nonstop panhandlers were a reminder of the thin line.