Time flies! – Or so they say…
The spring term 2018 is about to come to an end, and so is our work with the Tanzanitation project. We just held our final presentation – which was a success –, a presentation for our partners from Porvoon Vesi, and what is left to be done is just some minor things before sending out our report to CCI, PU, and Huussi ry. Nanami is about to leave the country as her exchange is about to end as well, and the rest of us will change for a holiday – or most likely a summer job – mood.
Before going completely offline, we still want to share something with you, dear reader. In addition to sharing some more insight on our final suggestions, propositions for next steps, and outcome (our designers did some pretty cool stuff!), we want to learn some of our key learnings as well. The spring went by fast, but still we managed to gain A LOT from the work done. So here you go!
Working on a development project was new to most of us, hence there was a lot to learn. While understanding that we cannot solve complex challenges in basically no time or that nothing ever goes as planned, we learned not only to relax but to take things as they come and adapt to the situation. We’re not gods – just human – although we’re still trying to do our best and have an impact on the local ecosystem. In addition, we understood the importance of personal relationships in the making and the fact happiness is the result of simple things.
We’ve all learned pretty much in what comes to ecological sanitation in general, permaculture, and “closing the loop” of human waste. Most of all, if someone was not familiar with it from before, we became experts in using those squatting toilets with washing water – as the locals prefer. Although peeing in the toilets was found out to be harder that it seemed…
In addition to other skills, we learned more about teamwork – and that it works in a girls only team as well. The diversity within our team was definitely a plus, but most of all, the awesome attitudes that the team possesses were an amazing surprise. Also the adaptability of the members facilitated our work tremendously. Sometimes we might have not felt confident about our work, or that we were completely lost, but we were productive at all times as we never stopped doing things.
While also learning how beautiful Tanzania is, here are some more practical learnings (and tips for future travellers):
- Hold tight in a bus, so you won’t hit anyone else
- Hold tight to your flashlight in a dark toilet
- Be careful about food, especially before going for a long ride
- Doximycin is not the best anti-malaria pill to take so close to the equator
- Children are cute all over the world!
We couldn’t have learned all this by ourselves, so thanks to Aalto University, Aalto SGT, Matleena and Olli, Zita and Venla, CCI, PU, all the people we interviewed and all the entities whom we’ve collaborated with, in making this journey possible and as fruitful as it has been. Asante sana!
(Ps. one final picture from Tanzania, the mood was more or less the same after or work here in Finland was done…)