In January, Bernard and Daniel traveled to the village of Nadosoito outside of Arusha to teach our technology design curriculum to a group of villagers. During our first session, there was a group of MIT students working on technology projects in the area who helped us as we discussed problem generation and we worked to foster collaboration. We traveled to the community for a total of five sessions between January and March as the villagers worked on projects that they chose.
One project that we worked on was an improved chicken house, since the chickens have been dying there, because the existing designs trap too much heat. The end product used locally available materials and combined elements of several different designs to make a much more appropriate design for the community. We also worked with them to use sisal for making charcoal, since trees are becoming scarce in the area and there is a need for locally available cooking fuel. Sisal is incredibly abundant in Nadosoito and they should have cooking fuel for a long time.
More than the projects, though, our work in the community was about the people there. Our leader on the ground was a man named Emmanuel who helped us organize the meetings and bring people together for the sessions. He was always the most eager to learn, asking questions and wanting to try everything for himself. Vicky was also inspiring. A mother of five with more determination than just about anyone who we’ve met. She always shared her opinions and was ready to pass on everything that she learned to anyone who would listen. Everyone had amazing stories and it was wonderful to work with all of them.
Of course, we also learned a lot of lessons in the course of the program. There were challenges of scheduling, language, transportation, even food. We definitely improved as we went along and it was incredibly smooth by the end of the program. And now we know a lot more for our future workshops.