So the adventure continues…I have only been here a few days and already ”home” in Stockholm seems very distant and a new every day life is unfolding. Waking up to the sound of the rooster, making coffee and enjoying it on the terrace overlooking Kilimanjaro, watching the builders making progress with the childrens center every day, taking the compost to where it needs to be, feeding the cows with our leftovers. Being ready for surprises the whole time – like this morning when I had forgotten to close the kitchen door before I went to bed and a cat that roams around our house daily and KNOWS she is not welcome had had a feast on our compost pile…A life that I couldn’t even imagine since I have never been here before is now becoming a habit.
Yesterday I met some if the kids from the orphanage for the first time. They come here a few times a week to help out in the garden and cleaning the areas around the house and get a chance to run free in the garden. At first they were shy but very politely took my hand and introduced themselves. Coming back after having ran a few errands the mood is completely changed, one of them, Brenda, she seems like the boldest one, dashed towards me and asked me how old I am. I answered and asked them all in return their ages. Then she asked where my babies were and when I told her I have none she looked at me quizzlingy and asked why. A middle aged woman with no children was a concept beyond her reach!
At sunset we (me and the other volonteer here, Klas) took a walk to the village – I have no words to how beautiful the light here is at dusk. The varm, soft light, the sky that turns from sunny bright to mild pink and golden. The breeze is soft and every dust of winds whirls up the red dust so common for the area. Smells of earth, of somebody cooking dinner over a fire or burning garbage fill the air. We see small kids herding the big cows with impressive authority, curious goats glare at us but quickly go back to grazing. All animals roam around free, no fences to be seen, but we understand they are under thorough surveillance by their keepers that sit in groups under the trees and chat.
Klas wants a beer and we ask at what might be a bar in our best Swahili where we can get some. The shopowners look at us quietly, obviously not understanding. Ok – we try again – just a slow shake of their heads and the point is further up the road. We go there, find another little ”shop” where there is no beer but we have a water and a malt soda. A man approaches us and introduces himself, greets us the way they all do here: ”Karibo sana”, which means ”very welcome”. He speaks some English and strikes up a conversation. we have a chat, his name is Samuel. He tells us about the village and the area where he has always lived. Now the soil is dry and they can’t grow their crops as planned. Twenty years ago this area used to be very fertile, a green, lush national park. The people could sow and harvest crops twice a year. Now the rains don’t come as they used to and they only get one harvest per year. The lack of water means that since they can’t afford a watertank, they must buy water from elsewhere, and they end up having to buy food rether than growing their own. This is not sustainable and Samuel is worried. No money, no water. No climate change, no food.
Later Caroline, who grew up around here, tells med that until 20 years ago they could harvest tons of bananas here. Now they plants new trees but the goats and cows eat them for lack of other greenery. Again a reminder how climate change has an acute effect on the people that did the least to cause it. Or rather – we in the West are part of the problem but after a discussion with Caroline I understand from her that, just like at home, not all people here are willing to make the necessary changes necessary. Plastic garbage is burned, there is no system for recycling…
To secure a sustaniable future for the center Caroline has invested in cows, goats, pigs and chicken. She just announced, very contained, that four cows and a few pigs are pregnant.
Below, one of the kids, Brenda, is helping out in the garden.
Pole pole ”Take it slow..” – and have a great day!
More soon, Lisen