Kwa nini wa Tanzania mmetabasamu hata kwenye shida?.
What’s rural life like in Tanzania?
POSTED MAY 11TH, 2012 BY CLARISSA
In the U.S. our lives are filled with gadgets, products and services all designed to make our lives easier. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine or relate to a life without all these bells and whistles.
Mary Msuhu in the kitchen, Masoko Village
Rural Tanzania is beautiful and peaceful. The pastoral life comes at a price, though. The people in the villages Africa Bridge assists in, work harder than I can imagine– it’s sweat drenching, manual labor to keep a crop and make sure that your family is fed. Plants need tending and animals need caring for day after day.
Basically, there’s no such thing as ‘instant’ in Tanzania– no instant oatmeal, no instant internet, no instant anything. Everything takes time. Cooking, for instance, is a production that requires everything from building a fire to grinding the maize meal for ugali. Getting water requires many of the village women or children to walk long distances and then walk all the way back with yellow jerry cans full and balanced on their heads.
Cow co-op in Henrico's Village
Free time as we know it is rare in these villages because everyone is working pretty much all the time. Generally people don’t have multiple hobbies that they cultivate in the way that we do here. Downtime is different there, and in some ways even more vital– whether it’s kids playing soccer in a field or a group of grown-ups standing and talking, social interaction and connections are the key to living a rich life in Tanzania.
There is much beauty in the simplicity in this hard rural life, and people in our villages are finding ways to make it a little easier too, partly through their membership in cooperatives. As individuals and families make a bit of money, they’re able to purchase water pipes to reach their homes or tap into an electricity grid if it exists. Efficiency is at a premium in these villages, but pride and ingenuity is not. It seems that life gets better when people find a way to blend it all together.
House in Masoko Village
2 Responses to “What’s rural life like in Tanzania?”
- Jim Lewis
MAY 14, 2012 AT 7:58 PM
When I visited Tanzania nearly three years ago, I was struck by how hard the women work. I saw, not once, but routinely, women with babies on their backs and loads of firewood balanced carefully over one shoulder walking along busy roadsides with 4-wheel vehicles and trucks barreling along at 65 miles per hour. The firewood was to cook the evening meal–often the only one–and keep the family warm at night. (It does get cold there.)
As I later learned, these women would have been working in the field earlier in the day cultivating their crops. Later, they would walk some distance to wash clothes in a nearby stream and, before their return, fill a large pail with water which they balanced atop their heads to walk back to the village. They would then cook the evening meal and care for their children before turning in for the night, at which point the entire process would start again.
Yet I was also struck by the fact that nearly everyone I met smiles all the time. The people who live in our villages display no sense of deprivation, because they have little idea how the rest of the world lives. If they have life and food and access to firewood and water, life is, by their standards, good.
"Mnataka kujua nini? Sikuzaliwa ili nipate nishani... "Please don't make it an issue, acheni suala hilo ni uchonganishi, acheni," - Malecela.