June 5th, 2013
Things are going well in Mwanza! I have been here for over a month and am starting to feel at home. Having Stephanie here has been a great addition to our team. I have been trying to work with APYN as much as possible and am assisting on finance, marketing, and am hoping to be more involved in the community. Last week we went to all of the kitchens to collect samples of yoghurt for quality control. This gave us an opportunity to meet with the mama's and ask more questions about the kitchens. I am interested in observing the processing steps that are taking place within the kitchens and documenting everything to see where there are some variances. Through testing, Stephanie was able to conclude that the kitchens are all producing very different qualities of yoghurt. Having one standardized practice may be helpful in attempting to control the quality. I think documenting the process for each kitchen and talking to each kitchen about their own business goals and how they approach the market is essential.
The kitchens have agreed to allow us to go into the market with them to gain a better understanding of how business is conducted. I think this will be very helpful in developing strategies to make the business more efficient and effective. Y2Y kitchen has also requested to have someone come and help them with their English and business skills. Since this falls right into my area of interest, teaching and business, I am excited for the opportunity! I am going to try and arrange to meet with them at least once a week to work together on these skills. I think it will be a great opportunity for both of us!
I have become very comfortable in my environment. I have developed a much better understanding of the language and culture. I had an amazing experience last weekend when my roommates and I joined up with other international volunteers and went to Ukerewe Island. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. We took the ferryboat to the island, which was about a 3.5 hour trip, and stayed for one night. During the day, we biked over 20 kms around the island. We rode up and down hills, through the countryside. It was difficult but worth every second! I would highly recommend this to anyone who visits Tanzania. The views were amazing. We rode through small villages and on dirt roads. Everyone was very friendly. We visited an old palace and the first church ever built on the island. It was absolutely amazing!
That night we had dinner right on the beach! The stars filled the sky, it was such an incredible day. On Sunday, we went hiking. We walked through small villages and hiked up rocks. At the top of the rocks was the most wonderful view of the island and lake. Many of the children from the village followed us up the rocks and enjoyed the view with us. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.