Changing inside out and learning, learning, learning…

This is my second blog and I can’t believe that more than one month is already gone! So I will try to overtake my blogging.

First two weeks after arrival were absolutely dropped out from my life, of course now I can reminisce everything with a smile on my face, laugh and feel a little bit proud 🙂

Before the departure I was sure that I am fully prepared mentally for changing the environment, but you can’t fool your mind and body – your instincts are taking over you. Anyway this is a part of a change journey that we were preparing for and we are doing things that we do not do or face daily at home and have began our life in a new country from scratch. You need to find new home to live, get a sim card, internet, find the way to move around the city, to know the prices, to find were to buy food, what to cook and were to cook, how to get gas tank, pay for electricity and this list of a “new” things could be endless both at work and in your daily life.  I can tell that my resilience, bargain, negotiating, communication in Swahili and other skills have been improved a lot, otherwise you will just simply not get the essential things you need.

I was very lucky to have other 2 GSK volunteers in Dar es Salaam –Asif and Ahmed working in the same NGO- Amref Health Africa that arrived a little bit earlier than me. Believe me, I was like a remora fish near them 🙂 and they helped me a lot. So, I want to use this opportunity to say thank you for their patience and support. We became a very good friends and spend a lot of time together.

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My friends and colleagues Ahmed (GSK Egypt) on the left and Asif (GSK Saudi  Arabia) on the right standing in front of our office

Not to lose time I began actively explore more than 24 Amref’s health improving projects that are running throughout the Tanzania. Some of the problematic areas were new for me – like Female genital mutilation (FGM). I have heard about this practice, but the nowadays statistic impressed me deeply. Long time ago, when I was a teenager I saw the film “Desert Flower” (highly recommend you to see it!), that was highlighting the same issue, but even than I was sure that this is a story of past that is not relevant nowadays. I was wrong… Female Genital Mutilation happens primarily in Africa, in particular in North-Eastern, Eastern and Western Africa. However, it also takes place in the Middle East, in South-East Asia – and also among immigrants in Europe. According to estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 200 million women are affected by FGM worldwide. In Europe, the number of mutilated women or girls and women threatened by FGM amounts up to 1 000 000.

To stop this both phisical and mental health harmful tradition Amref Tanzania is running the preventive projects in the most impacted regions. The main focus is on eliminating FGM practice among girls and young women by working in partnership with communities, LGA and CSO/FBOs/NGOs based on the four main project components:

  1. Community Empowerment — SMS text, Campaign, forum, traditional dances, Radio
  2. Capacity Building- Kolb Model, m/e-learning.
  3. Alternative Rites of Passage — Preserve good culture without mutilation, Community Led Anti FGM.
  4. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning.

This is a success story of one of the Maasai girl who managed to avoid the cut, because she was educated in the consequences of this practice.

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Few things about Tanzania and Dar es Salaam that you probably didn’t know:

  • There is absolutely no time difference between Ukraine and Tanzania (GMT+3)
  • You live near the ocean, but you can not swim because of low tide most of the time and wastewater that is coming from all the city into ocean+ there are usually no tourists and only few locals on the public beaches.20160912_114404
  • You are a minority, be ready that you will attract a lot of attention  and locals will call you “mzungu”- white person in Swahili.
  • People are friendly and welcoming, always greeting you in the street with Mambo, Jambo, Habari, Karibu what means Hi, Hello, Welcome.
  • Walking here could be inconvenient-no space for pedestrians , your shoes is better to be closed because of dust and sand.

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    On my way to work

  • It is better for you to learn Swahili, especially numbers and how to say straight, left, right
  • Tanzania has UBER and 4G internet that is SUPER!
  • You can see a lot of Maasai in the streets, wearing it’s nice national clothing
  • In Tanzania there is a left side traffic and mostly people are not using the names of the roads-usually they oriented by some “famous places” like shops, hotels, buildings, restaurants. There are a HUGE traffic jams that can last for hours and hours.

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  • It is still not very hot, the weather is very nice, some sun, some clouds, nice breeze, let’s see what summer (November-December) will bring us.

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And the last for today

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And be creative while trying to save :)))