I still don’t have internet where I am staying, and so I apologize for the delay in posting. I try to write at night/over the weekend, and then post once I get to work in the morning.
Thursday was the first day to visit one of the Area Development Program (ADP) sites where the project on which I am working is taking place. The name of this area is Sanzawa. To get to Sanzawa, you drive for about an hour outside of the city, and then you take a right onto an unpaved road and drive for another hour to an hour and a half, depending on the road condition, how many times you have to stop to let the cows and goats get out of the way, or the number of people you pick up to give a ride (which is possible when you are in the truck and they can just jump into the back). In the States, we have the phrase “Deer in the headlights.” Well, today, I experienced “Cow in the headlights.” Usually the cows got out of the way (though, typically only at the last possible moment), but every once in a while, one would just stare at us coming right at it. Then, it would have this realization that we were bigger and wanted to get by, but it wouldn’t know which way to go. So, it would just run down the road for maybe 50 feet before realizing it needed to actually get off of the road. Luckily, our driver is very experienced. Otherwise, I’m sure we would have hit multiple cows and goats.
On Friday, we went to the other ADP site, Mundemu. Mundemu is a much larger region. While Sanzawa has less than 20 villages, Mundemu has over 100. Mundemu is also much closer to Dodoma city. It only took an hour to get there. However, the road was unpaved the entire way. The majority of the trip, though, was on a road that seems as if it might be paved soon. The dirt is packed down and there are trucks and workers around who seem to be working on the road. The people of Mundemu are noticeably different in both appearance and demeanor as compared to Sanzawa. Because it is so much larger, the Mundemu ADP has a much larger staff, who were eager to greet me and meet me. A few of the village elders even greeted me in English, which is quite an honor since most of the elders only have a primary school education and only know a few words and phrases in English. The people of Mundemu—both the inhabitants and the ADP staff—are all very warm and hospitable. We were served two meals while we were there, and I left feeling quite stuffed.
We went to the ADPs to attend a meeting of the local community health workers (CHWs). There are 48 CHWs in Sanzawa, and maybe 35 were in attendance, and there are over 100 CHWs in Mundemu, with over 50 in attendance. They were being introduced to a new monitoring tool for collecting data on the households they visit. They collect data on the health of pregnant women and children under five. The CHWs also help educate the village members on vaccinations, healthy eating—eating often enough and the right variety—water safety, treating diarrhea, and recognizing the symptoms of (and what to do) malaria, pneumonia, HIV, and complications in pregnancy or after birth.