February 14, 2011

The rains have come…

This weekend marks a milestone in our trip (and perhaps the calendar year), as the first of the long rains reached Dar!  Praise be to God!  On Sunday morning we woke to cloudy and darkening skies and by mid-morning the wind, thunder, and torrential sheets of rain greeted us.  If you have ever experienced the rains after a long awaited drought, you know it is a special thing.

The rains are of course vital to the livelihoods of many Tanzanians and indeed impact the daily routines of residents in urban settings like Dar where electricity production is mainly from hydropower.  We have been experiencing increased challenges with reliability of electricity (for most students it is available in their homes about 50% of the time).  This has been an increasingly challenging problem for Dar, and is partly from the lack of water in the main reservoirs used for generating hydropower.   Perhaps the arrival of the rains will bring respite in this way to the daily lives of Tanzanians in Dar.

This weekend students were free to explore new areas, spend time with their host families, or catch up on rest.  Matt Thomas and Josh Miller spent an overnight hiking in the mountains near Morogoro, about 3 hours west of Dar.  Other students sought out traditional music performances in town, while our family spent the day swimming.   The reality of this being our last week in Dar is near to our daily thoughts and we are trying to fully “absorb” each experience.

As our week is dedicated to the arts in Tanzania, after Swahili class today students were free to explore one of the many artisan venues and/or music performances in town.  The pictures today are a mix of weekend events, life with host families, and evidence proving the rain has arrived!

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