19 Oct Tanzania 2016
Here I am again, before the memories disappear I decided to describe the impressions of this trip;
It all starts, as usual, from Milan, this time via Istanbul and then directly to Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.
The arrival is never easy at night time and the painfully long queue at immigration certainly does not ease the relaxation.
It starts with the payment, a truckload of paperwork, a long series of photos and then finally I have a visa.
The suitcases at the exit are meticulously checked and an official considering my equipment says that I absolutely have to pass the baggage from the customs, where surely some of the warm colleagues I think will parade a couple of hundred dollars.
I am feeling quite annoyed, it’s 2 am and I’m rather tired, I point out that I’m in their country to work with their government to help.
I show the letter of invitation and at that moment a female officer who until then has remained on the sidelines takes control, evaluates the letter, looks at me attentively and allows me to leave without having to pay any fee.
At the time I did not know what to think but I thank her and I head to the exit.
After an hour I’m at the guest house, one of the employees I think is in the third sleep left me a ticket with directions for the overnight stay.
From the next day, I organize the room and prepare the equipment for the work, I await the arrival of Ambrogio, the project manager with whom the work is scheduled but the work is not under the house but rather 600 km from Arusha, ouch ouch other day lost and above all the concern for the equipment needed and materials to be installed.
The third day of arrival I am ready, I unload the material, I check, I evaluate with the staff the positioning and the dimensions of the system and I relax in my work.
We are in full savannah under the kilimanjaro and in full territory Maasai and, yes, men and women are as you see them in the TV series, tall with many necklaces around their neck, wrists and feet and still with their shepherd’s stick and sword belt. Beautiful and rigorous as the land that feeds them.
I would like to clarify that during transport 4 of the 24 batteries were broken. I then decide with the staff to do another 500 km to recover 4 batteries on a site they are no longer using, and with the inconvenience of the case, connect them to verify the operation of the charge controllers and inverters.
Everything works well, even if with a very limited accumulation.
I leave the school complex of Enduimet, with the instructions and the material of connection of the definitive battery bank, when in September the new ones will arrive, destination Arusha.
The Oikos staff is very young and I feel good among them, even if at times I fall into the shoes of their dad.
The first phase of the internal flight from Arusha to Mwanza on Lake Victoria is over.
This time at the airport I meet a driver of the CUAMM doctors for Africa, Pierino.
He is friendly, available and even spoke some Italian.
Once again I do not know where we are headed and I completely trust him. The journey lasts 7 hours but is pleasant, a mixture between savannah and Meteore in Greece.
Arrival in Shynianga where I am welcomed by Giada, the project manager, Giampiero, the doctor and Roberta, his wife.
I ask for my room and how can I organize myself but Giada very kindly tells me that the journey is not over yet we have an hour drive to Bugisi. After a quick mental calculation I quickly realised that I spent almost 10 days traveling.
We arrive in Bugisi late afternoon and meet the nun who runs the hospital; I ask for a ride to see the volumes and decide where to place the system.
We opt for installing the equipment and batteries in a modified container and panels on the adjacent roof, I ask for the next day to be supported by a local technician who takes care of the maintenance.
For my stay I have a guest house available and eat there with Giampiero, Roberta and Giada; Roberta is a good cook considering that she has a few things at her disposal.
The installation proceeds the following day and I have to do some somersault to get the results I want; during the whole performance I have a large number of admirers and in the nearby village, says Giampiero, this event will be a reason for discussion for the whole year.
The particularity of the connection of the system forces me to a different programming of the systems and therefore I need a few more days for the tests.
During the talk after dinner, Giampiero mentions a visit to a village near the hospital to check the health conditions of a child and I think this is the right opportunity to make a difference.
From Italy, a donor has given me a small amount of money and I think these are money well spent; the child will be sent to a recovery center with his grandfather, his only relative, for the treatment that will be necessary.
The African contrast between wealth and extreme poverty, between beauty and cruelty upsets me every single time and it is never addictive.
Upon finishing the second step I leave the Cuamm staff of Shynianga and I head to Mikumi via Dodoma the capital and Iringa in the mountains in another 15 hours of travel.
We are almost there, and once we get picked up in Mikumi home is just around the corner.
Good Bye Africa,
See you soon