DAY 11 - Church and Team Problem Solving - 2008


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Africa » Tanzania » West
January 13th 2008
Published: January 17th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Even the Window Makes MusicEven the Window Makes MusicEven the Window Makes Music

Our backyard church makes music nearly all the time
Today's highlights were church and the church auction; and then some tough team problem solving about the pasteurizers.

Church at 10:00AM and over at 2:15PM. Jason, Kaye and I went to the church right behind the hotel while Andrew, Andre, Tom and Ann went to the Catholic Church. People piled in - men on one side, women on the other. Jason stayed with us with no self-consciousness. Beautiful - I mean BEAUTIFUL clothing. I so appreciate the style, the blouses and skirts that match or complement. Is this the root of the beautiful clothing I see in some urban churches? Wonderful music and each song started with a techno-beat. A woman and two young girls sat next to me. The girl in the orange taffeta said "pree-ty" and then spit on the girl in the white dress. Not sure what that was about but no one reacted to it. I followed suit. Later the young girl sat on my lap and said "Mama".

Church Auction

I love this idea. If you don't have cash to give the church you can give out of your resources. The church then auctions the items off and uses the money to fund the church. This week's auction had the same things (minus the goat) as last week's service when the sisters were ordained. Pineapple, cassava, bananas, fruits, vegetables, tapes and CDs. Some kind soul bought 'the American' (me since Kaye and Jason left) a bag of tomatoes. They auctioned tapes and CD's and I wanted one but had no money on me and had no idea how to participate anyway. Then someone apparently read my mind and bought 'the American' the tape. I was so happy. But then the auctioneer helper gave the tape to a German visitor, Katya. Later the young pastor confirmed to Katya and me that the tape was intended for me. The tape was Fikiri Mambo Yako (and in years to come would become the signature music for our organization working in Tanzania). At lunch I learned the group on the recording was Rebecca's church singing group. She was very excited about that. She said 'then you can remember me'. I assured her I would not forget her and that the music would be a good reminder.

The other engineering students had tea with the priest after church. Ann is sick so Kaye and I asked her to lay low and stay away from our Tanzanian friends who may have no immunity to whatever she carries. However, she said she didn't feel that sick and persisted with her plans to help Rebecca cook a meal. Kaye and I sat in the back courtyard and talked with a man (Jombe?) who was fixing a car. Kaye and the guys went to look for tanks for the pasteurizers. When they returned, Kaye, Tom, Andrew and I walked around town and visited the Catholic Church with all the colored glass windows. Met an Austrian youth pastor, the priest Peter, Josiah and Joseph and talked solar and I.T. We were shown a large hole for water (16,000 gal) but I didn't quite understand the placement, purpose or how it would work.

I suggested to the team that they talk with Vincent about maintenance on the pasteurizers and identify a list of specific routine checks that must be made including the timeframe. All concurred it was a good idea and said they would. We returned to the hotel to find George and his firstborn son, a handsome young man working to be a preacher. The team asked George some questions about steps vs. ladders on the pasteurizers but was not allowed much of a change to offer his ideas. I later shared that observation with the engineers and they agreed. Their exuberance and mind for detail have turned our stay into one big problem-solving event - in a good way that is. Dinner: Ann was giddy about her contribution to the dinner - fish, rice, stew. Ate with some Danish visitors - Ellen and her husband - and that was nice.

Team Problem-Solving

The engineers are trying to figure out if they should put steps on the pasteurizer or a ladder. The problem presented itself as they tried to determine how people could assess the tank, conduct any needed maintenance, or fetch water. The entire team is smart and each member has good ideas. Some ideas were presented in really logical ways, some more outspoken, some on the cusp of demanding, and some as questions. The team tried really hard to listen to each other. Andrew asked how the group could improve and it was determined that they would turn the task from advocating for their own positions to one of listening and asking questions about others' thinking. I also suggested they might divide into 2 like-minded teams and pursue two ideas that could be weighed out. A while later it seemed they just needed to process so I asked if I were needed for anything - nope. The team worked on their own, had some tension and disappointments, but in general, were able to put the personal stuff aside and continue work on the problem of the pasteurizer build. It began to seem to me that there was not enough foundational work done in the U.S. prior to coming to the field site. Some of the issues such as the one of ladder, steps, could have easily been determined prior to this point. I wonder what the past project in Mali did with this issue. I asked if a needs assessment were conducted prior to coming to Karagwe and was told 'no' but that the other successful build in Mali was based on community needs.

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Take me to the Educate Tanzania website.

http://educatetanzania.org

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