I’ve been doing some interesting work with Zanrec. Right now, I’m part time until our classes finish. I can’t wait to start full time because I feel like I haven’t been able to accomplish much going a few days a week. Although, I’ve been pretty busy! I’ve done two rounds of interviews for our baseline studies. This is basically a glorified version of cold calling and really intimidated me at first. The first round of interviews was completed in a village called Matemwe. I was the only mzungu and it was difficult shedding the perceptions people had about me. We were asking questions about bio-gas technology and monthly expenditures, so they weren’t easy questions and I had a hard time in the beginning getting used to my Swahili enough to ask the questions in a way they would be understood. I’ve also been working on communications for the company. We spent a day in Michamvi, one of the first villages that has the full Zanrec model, interviewing the agents and cleaners employed by Zanrec. I also worked with cutting the video and doing translations of the interviews, so that’s been great experience in and of itself.
I’m really happy how this short exposure through Zanrec has improved my Swahili. Most of the interactions have been great and a few pretty bad, which are stories for a later date. I now feel mostly comfortable and capable in my Swahili to enter a myriad of situations and know I can succeed. I’ve also been getting real experience in seeing how hard development work truly is. There are so many barriers and hurdles to jump through that it can be overwhelming. But, once you meet with someone the work has touched.. well I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding. Even with our shitty class experience, just listening to lectures has helped my comprehension. I made a joke the other day that the classes weren’t a total waste because at least now I can bitch and moan in Swahili now. Silver Lining.
Here’s some photos I took from our training at SOS Children’s Village. (Thanks for the new camera, mom<3)