I drove from Moshi town to Kishumundu village last Friday, to attend the steering committee’s meeting of the Uru East Water Board. The meeting went well, with a review of what has been accomplished in our project and what is still left to be done. With the success of ‘first water’ from the Grandmother Well at Kimocholo, we are deepening into the visionary thinking required to manage the water distribution for long term sustainability.
Establishing the legal rights of this Water Board to manage the water, as well as defining clear guidelines for ecologically sound and careful management, are among our immediate goals. Good ground was covered and our next steps planned, including a general meeting with the entire Board on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. (22 people including the governing Ward Councillor and the village chairpersons from Uru East’s 7 villages).
Alphonse and I left the meeting satisfied with the progress and headed to his Palla home in Kyaseni village, where I will spend the week. I was ‘warmly welcomed’ (Karibu Sana), by all the friends and family here at Palla.
Palla means raspberry in Chagga and it is the name that Alphonse’s home has been called ‘since forever’…. meaning it has been in his family’s hands since tribal times. It was so named because of the abundance of naturally growing berries on the land, but it also reflects the sweet face that this family shows to the world.
Land in Tanzania is passed down traditionally from father to son or brother to brother. However, a call for enlightened sharing is underway, so that women in this society may inherit equitably when a father, brother or even their own husband passes away. This is one of the tenets in the Acorn Women’s Cooperative constitution, that they will stand for such social justice issues in Uru and in the wider global community as well.
Dinner with the Ngowi’s was prepared partially over a small wood stove and the rest cooked over two propane gas burners. All locally grown, the meal consisted of fresh sauteed spinach and carrots, ‘dirty rice’ (rice cooked with ginger, cardamon, onion and garlic), flat bread, fresh avocados and tomatoes, pineapple, and mangoes from a tree shading the house.
With full stomachs, happy hearts and the day’s work behind us, Friday evening passed peacefully at Palla, sitting under a million shining stars in the African sky.