I started my third week with a free day, so I dressed up with my manta Güajira and walked the streets of Mto wa Mbu. I was asked multiple times where did I get my dress, I was very proud to say it was a Colombian outfit.
It was my pleasure to explain that Latin America owes a lot of the music, lifestyle and clothing to Africa. I felt proud to be continuing the tradition of colors, textures and patterns of mamma Africa, even though I normally wear black.
Moreover, I learned about the painting technique called Batik from Mr. Kirita in Rothia. I had fun picking colors and playing with shadows using wax in a pre-drawn cotton fabric. I ended up with a neat piece of art!
I spend a day in an Iraqw household in Rhotia to learn about their lifestyle, language, traditions and gender roles. Mamma Rita and her husband, Martini, have 4 beautiful children that work as hard as them to sustain their pastoralist and agriculturalist lifestyle.
I’m grateful to the SFS for this experience. It brought me back to my childhood where I could spend time in the distant communities in San Pedro de los Milagros, Colombia enjoying the benefits of simplicity and humbleness.
I spent the day picking and sorting corn, drinking tea, playing soccer with the children and helping Martini with his tarp business. I noticed there were not strong gender roles enforced in the household since the only girl was the youngest child, about 6yrs old.
We could not communicate since their main languages were Iraqw and Swahili. However, they were kind enough to express themselves using English phrases from my “common phrases” guide.
On another hand, I noticed that they preferred to be photographed with their cattle and crops rather than the vast landscape of the lake Manyara escarpment. It was interesting to see their priorities compared to mine. However, I respected that and took a picture with them and the crops.
We worked in some transects to assess the catchment area of the Seeay river in Kambi ya Simba. We discovered a lot of human use that violated the Water Resources Act of 2009, which prohibits human activities within 60m of a water resource. We analyzed the area and made a recommendation about how to improve the problem. My recommendation was to implement a framework called Adaptive Management in the village, rather than only target the activities in the buffer zone.
We also traveled to Burunge Wildlife Management Area, where we learned about the conservation efforts and the wildlife-conflict resolution with the neighboring villages and inside of BWMA. I had a hard time understanding the ranger’s accent and was a little disappointed that I missed so much of the lecture. However, based on what I could understand, there are high benefits from the approach they have with the community. It seems that the mentality of the locals is changing towards better conservation efforts of wildlife and natural resources.