Q/A Conference Call with Virginia Taylor

On September 19th, the Tanzania group talked with our correspondent, Virginia Taylor, currently in Tanzania for a Q/A conference call. A lot of insight and information was passed along. Here are some of the information and insights taken from that meeting.

Information regarding concrete and brick:
There are a lot of concrete around to use which are mined by the women up in the mountains. There are mainly two types of concrete which are dug at quarries. These quarries bring in 7 tons of stone worth about $150.00.

Brick is formed by mud and they fall apart easily.

Information regarding water: 
The villagers have no idea of the quality of water from their source. How they determine quality of the water is by taste. According to Virginia, the water is not dangerously dirty however she would not drink it herself. The villagers themselves do not purify or treat their water in any sort. However they are aware that the water from the source is of better quality than the rainwater collected from their roofs and therefore choose to use rainwater to mop their floors or wash their clothes.
According to Virginia, water may contain a lot of fluoride that stains the villagers teeth.

Acquisition of water:
There is a water tap within the village that connects to the water source up in the mountains. This tap is opened from 7am to 5pm that the whole village can get access to. However each family have specific days in which they can fill up and can only fill up during their assigned days. Families can spend 5000 Ti Shillings/month where they can get a direct source which they can access anytime. The families line up (for a long time) to fill their large jugs and from what we were told by Virginia, families would like to fill up multiple times however because of time consumption, they are only able to do once a day. A noted problem by Virginia is the quantity of water taken.

Quantity of water:
In the rainy season, family may get as much as 22 gallons of water. Currently, they can get about 10-15 gallons and in the dry season, approximately 5 gallons.
Information on sewage:
Not really a sewage system. Latrines are filled up and another area is dug up for a new latrines. Wealthier households may have indoor latrines

They have:
- a doctor
- several medical helpers
- Ambulances
- A maternity ward
- 3 primary school
- 1 secondary school
- a police station
- a district station
- small stores
- 1 large wholesaler that distributes to many stores
- a traditional night market

Setting up a workspace?:
If we want to set up a prototyping workspace, we will need to go through regulations, going through the council and ask for permissions. Virginia is willing to help and talk to the council.

They have older homes that were built a long time ago and new homes in development.
There are areas within the Maasai tribe that are known to have lots of cows. The rural areas are the Kimokouwa.

There is a very low education rate. Women will have little to no education. 1/20 will have some primary school studies. The lucky ones would complete 4 years of secodary school and maybe go on to do hotel management.

There is a village chairperson who is elected by the village. He is the respected advisor with a village council.

There is a high unemployment rate but if they have a primary education, you'll most likely get a job from the government. If they take a program for hotel management, then that's a little more challenging. If none of paths work, some villagers become entrepreneurs and will try to open up a little shop of their own selling phones or some sort. However all jobs are not steady or stable and they will wokr 2-3 jobs. Salary is poor.

Past Projects:
Current projects include a team attempting to make firewood and cooking for efficient.
MPOWER is working on creating solar power for rural communities. An Australian team is working on permaculture.

Village Creativity and Innovation:
Villagers are creative in their use of their available resources. Examples are using their garbage, reusing and upcycling the water bottles and making makeshifts water troughs.

Environmental awareness:
There is a green organization called the Green Arusha but it's a slow working program that tried to educate villagers of being environmentally aware. Garbage is still a problem.
Permits are required to cut firewood however the villagers, according to Virginia, do not care for the firewood cutting and think mostly for survival use.

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