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vegetables. They all agreed that they were extremely well fed, and a couple girls actually gained weight while on the trip and needed to buy bigger pants when they got home! The itinerary for the trip was packed with activities. Twenty hours were spent in hands on community service, working alongside village residents. For three days the group learned how to make cement slabs to be used in building walls and floors for a school or library. Another day’s task was making a new boma hut for the village. The building materials gathered were: ash, manure, dirt, water and sticks. The work is done mostly by hand. These huts are often used as community kitchens. When the Americans visited a local woman at her home afterwards, all were amazed at how clean, cool, and good smelling the hut was. Tanzanians often use small pieces of glass, metal, and other found objects to create beautiful artwork to decorate the insides of their natural homes. The education piece was a prime component of the trip. The YHS students were immersed in Tanzanian culture with daily lessons in the Swahili language, playing sports and games with local children, and learning how to bead jewelry from the elderly “mamas” of the community. They practiced Maasai weapons training and learned how to throw a traditional conka, and shoot arrows. There were many team building activities too. A lot of time was devoted to the topic of water conservation, since it’s a global concern and directly impacts the country. This is easy to take for granted in the US, but almost 70% of Tanzanians live in rural regions, and only 44% of them have access to improved water sources. The students heard some startling statistics such as: 3.75 million people die from water related diseases each year, and every ninety seconds a child dies as a result of illness as common as diarrhea from contaminated water. There are now more cell phones in the world than toilets. The visiting Americans developed action plans on changes they would make in their personal water usage. Some decided to take shorter showers, others will stop buying water in plastic bottles, and a few would catch rain water in barrels for plants. All planned on spreading awareness about water to others back home. Kaiti states, “It’s important for us to understand, why does it matter to America what happens in Africa? What can I do in South Dakota to help the world? Learning about other cultures changes you. You make connections, and hopefully you care about your actions.” An activity that taught the necessity of the daily quest for water, was a special trek they took on day three of the trip. The students walked with local women to help fetch water for their homes. The women would usually go several times a day, walking five to seven miles each time. The community women balanced their babies on their hips and bellies, while simultaneously carrying huge plastic jugs of water on their backs. The containers held up to forty pounds. Homemade course rope made of braided sea salt plants helped stabilize the water jugs. Parts of the rope went around the jug and across the carrier’s vTANZANIA continued on page 18 HERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019v17

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