« May 3 | Main | May 17 »

May 10

This last week was all about attempting to gain some ground over the challenges of the previous weeks. It has been very trying for both Cynthia and I, but the yogurt mamas' support and understanding have helped us get through our moments of adversity.

Wednesday was the last day that our interim milk supplier from Kivulini was able to provide us with a delivery. This change meant that we were back at trying to find a reliable and dependable milk supplier who could provide us with 10L of milk, six days a week.

On Thursday, we headed down to the docks after hearing that a large quantity of milk arrives there each morning by ferry. This shipment is immediately tested for quality by an employee of the Mwanza Agriculture Board. We headed down there with Kulwa, (Kivulini’s driver) and Omari (one of Masele’s coworkers in the economic empowerment department at Kivulini). Cynthia and I decided to stand out of sight while Omari asked the milk vendors some questions. At first, Omari was told that the cost of fresh milk would be 350TSh per litre. When we heard this, we came around to ask a few more questions about milk transport. Before leaving, we double-checked the price of milk and were told that the price for pure milk was in fact 500TSh a litre! One of the other vendors who was busy at work corrected his colleague, saying “No, it’s 350TSh per litre,” before looking up at us and saying “Oh, I mean, you are right. It is 500TSh per litre.” We had just witnessed a price change because we are mzungu and not African. When we returned back to Kivulini, even Maimuna (coordinator of Kivulini) was shocked at how quickly the quoted price of milk had changed on us. Nonetheless, we decided to continue our search for milk and maybe try to have other staff from Kivulini negotiate a deal with the docks to purchase milk at the appropriate price.

On Friday, we were only able to make half the amount of yogurt we required, and because we had not yet arranged for a new supplier, no milk was scheduled to arrive the following day. Our milk shortage meant that we had to cancel yogurt production on Saturday, so there was no yogurt for the families on both Saturday and Monday. It was very disappointing for us and for the families. Thankfully, all the yogurt mamas were understanding about the minor setback, even though their young children missed the yogurt they have come to enjoy and look forward to each day.

At around 8:00 on Saturday morning, the power went out for the entire day. Despite the lack of electricity, we had been invited to a friend's 30 th birthday party that night. This particular house party was a “fancy dress party,” which seems to be all the rage amongst the mzungu population of Mwanza. This party's theme was to dress in “bad taste.” We decided to head into the Mlango Mmoja Soko (literally meaning “One Door Market”), the biggest used clothing store in Mwanza. We decided that we were not going to pay more than 4000TSh (approximately $4USD) for each outfit. Our attempt was frustrated by the fact that the prices would go way up for us, so we had to do a good bit of negotiating. Brian was able to get skin-tight faded jeans and a tight blue, green and white vest, which he wore with his safari hat and handlebar mustache! Cynthia picked up a leopard print skirt and top of different patterns, which absolutely screamed bad taste! We had fun finding our ridiculous outfits and practicing our Swahili at the same time. That evening we headed over to Shelley’s place for the party. When we arrived, the power was out there as well. Fortunately, the lack of electricity didn’t dampen anyone's spirit and we all had a great time laughing at everyone's “bad taste.”

On Sunday morning, there was still no power. By this time we were starting to worry about the yogurt in our fridges, which we kept closed throughout the power outage. We then made arrangements with one of our friends to deliver the yogurt to the yogurt mamas. At 2:00 p.m. -- after 30 straight hours of no electricity -- the power returned and the yogurt was saved. That afternoon we attended a meeting of the street leaders in Mabatini, where the community kitchen is being built, to discuss a number of issues regarding the kitchen's ownership and usage. The meeting was very successful in that we were able to gain approval from all the members, and they expressed their strong commitment to and support of the project. We mentioned in a previous journal entry that we met to discuss naming the building. We can now announce that the community kitchen will be called “Jiko la Maziwa Imara,” or “The Kitchen of Milk Strength."

On Monday, Cynthia attended a Kivulini meeting while Brian oversaw yogurt production. We decided to try buying some milk from a street vendor and test its quality with the Lactometer (a little glass instrument that tests the purity of milk based on density/buoyancy) that we had just purchased. The first litre was pure, so we purchased the full three litres in that one container. We then tested the milk in the other containers, and the results showed that it was watered down by nearly 50 per cent! The vendor said he would return the next day with 10 litres of pure milk for us.

Today, the same vendor arrived with his delivery as promised, and we paid only 300TSh per litre. This man is looking like he will be a good temporary milk source until we can find a permanent local supplier.

We are looking forward to next week when we will be heading to Dar es Salaam to process the visa forms for the next interns and to meet with the Canadian International Development Agency. We will even have a few days to get some rest and relaxation on the beaches of Zanzibar. It will be a much-needed vacation! Until next week,

Cynthia & Brian

May 19, 2005 | Permalink


This change meant that we were back at trying to find a reliable and dependable milk supplier who could provide us with 10L of milk, six days a week.I agree with this plan and i thinging about help the plan.
Internship in Tanzania

Posted by: mishalness | Feb 10, 2012 12:22:02 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.