DAY 16 - "Meeting" President Kikwete - 2008

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January 18th 2008
Published: January 18th 2013
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Traditional Garb
Summary: Picked up dresses at shops, met George's lovely wife, Eunice who is a school inspector, and enjoyed our meals. With the solar pasteurizers built, it was pasteurizer testing day at KARASECO.This is it! Exciting. Let the testing begin! After lunch we waited four hours to greet President Kikwete who passed through Karagwe.

Pasteurizer Testing

The engineers assembled and mounted the solar panel and began the testing procedure. The valve would not stop leaking which frustrated the engineers. After tea, they tested some more and the valve continued to leak. I am no engineer but this does not seem good. They talked of the obvious problems with even the tiniest leak with something like a water pasteurizer. I hope they can work it out. Meanwhile Ann stayed in the sun too long and burned her hands to a crisp. Kaye asked her to stay out of the sun. Kaye worked on accounting for the trip.

President Kikwete Comes to Kayanga

I will refrain from more detail about other things and hop right to meeting President Kikwete. Ok, we did not actually meet him. However, he did acknowledge our group before he moved on and that is quite enough for me. Brush with fame and almost famous.

Around 3:30, George asked us to eat lunch and then go see the President of Tanzania, President Kikwete. We arrived at a nearby town which was lined with people. We stood by George and Vincent and in about five minutes, were surrounded by about 200 people (mostly children at first) staring in a friendly way at us. They stared and stared. Then they started touching me so I extended my arm. They laughed and George invited them to ask questions. They wanted to touch Tom's hair so he kindly allowed that. He is tall so had to get down to their level. George shared that they said we have long noses. One child wanted to know if we were white all over or just on our heads and arms. Tom took off his shoe and showed them the top of his foot. The crowd cracked up. By this time there were probably 75 adults surrounding the children in the circle around us (I am not exaggerating on the numbers). Some of us in the group enjoyed this more than others - I was at ease. I thought it was (as

Beautiful campus still in need of potable water
my mother-in-law used to say) 'free and educational'. After a few more questions, George told them to separate, shake our hands, and then let us through. So they did. We waited for four hours during which time, I had a request from a young girl to have my bottled water. I felt guilty for having taken it out of my pack for a drink and didn't do that again. Andre was proposed to by a young woman who offered to be his wife and come to America. The people were gathering and the excitement was growing. I talked with Vincent for a quite a while about the fronds we would wave when the president arrived. He told me that they represent that the people want peace and to encourage the president to help Tanzania keep peace. I gave Vincent a soccer ball for his family and he liked that.

We waited four hours and President Kikwete came. His entourage of Hummers stopped. President Kikwete then stood up through the sunroof to talk with the people. The guards held the people at bay. They were armed with guns although I have seen nothing here that would intimate the guns are needed. The president greeted the people and then made a short speech in Swahili. The people listened intently. When he finished with that he said 'hello' in English and welcomed people to Tanzania. (The President later asked the Bishop to greet the team from the University of St. Thomas.) George knew an authorized photographer so asked Asha to take photos of the president for Kaye to have in her log.

When we arrived back at the hotel I was saddened to learn that the water pasteurizers would not work. The team of engineers was deeply affected and painfully disappointed. I admit that the possibility of the technology not working did not occur to me, and I suspect it did not occur to the students either. At dinner, a deflated team processed what to do. The group realized that fixing it in the time remaining was not possible and wanted to tell George and Vincent as soon as possible. I supported the full disclosure option.

I don't look forward to disappointing our Tanzanian friends.


Take me to the Educate Tanzania website.


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