Tanzania: A World Apart From Here

chris martin photography - Tanzania
Tanzania, 2011.  Sunset at Lake Babati

We are back…sort of.   It is impossible to accurately describe this trip or how I feel now after returning home.  It is very hard to re-acclimate back into this life after having an opportunity to be immersed within such an amazing culture as the Tanzanians.  As David duChemin says, coming back to what folks call the “real world” only really means returning to some of the conveniences that we take for granted, such as clean water and no fear of malaria.  This however, isn’t really the real world – it is over there.

chris martin photography - Tanzania
Tanzania, 2011.  Students at the Sinai Primary School welcoming us to their school.

The reason for our visit to Babati, Tanzania was work for my company’s non-profit foundation.  In short, during our trip we installed a hand pump on a well that was drilled last year at the Sinai Primary School, repaired the submersible pump at the Waangwaray Primary School, worked with the students at Sinai on reading and speaking English (a requirement for advancement to secondary school), spent a morning taking portraits of every child at the Sinai school, handed out Friendship bracelets and hacky sacks provided by a local high school here, left behind 100 pounds of books and games, met with students at the Kwaangw’ and Singe Secondary Schools and developed goals to accomplish on our next visit – specifically getting water at the Kwaangw’ school.

Here are are some facts about life in Tanzania, Babati and the Sinai Community:
  • There are 29 community primary and 3 private schools in Babati.
  • Fifty percent of the population is age 15 and under.
  • The average number of children per household is 5 – 8.
  • Eighty-eight percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day and 50% on less than $1 per day.
  • The typical distance walked by students and teachers to get to and from school is 1-4 km for primary students and up to 12km or more for secondary students.

chris martin photography - Tanzania
    Tanzania, 2011.  Local Sinai Community children.
Sinai Primary School: 660 students, 7 classrooms, adjacent water (now!), no electricity, no teach housing
Waangwaray Primary School: 400 students, 8 classrooms, library, kindergarten, two teacher houses, adjacent water (now!), electricity
Kwaangw’ Secondary School:  320 students, 11 teachers, 11 classrooms, 3 teacher houses, no water, no electricity, no library, no science laboratories

chris martin photography - Tanzania
Tanzania, 2011.  Local Sinai Community rope maker.

On this trip, our team of 6 shot over 7,000 frames,  ate more than our share of rice, mangos, watermelon, cucumbers and tomatoes, developed quite a fondness for Kilimanjaro beer, were some of the last patrons of the now permanently closed “Half London Pub”, and found and purchased the ONLY pair on vice-grips (called grip-pliers) in Babati!

This was unquestionably the most amazing trip of my life and I eagerly look forward to our next visit, soon.

In my next post I will continue discussion of traveling with photo gear and to my gleeful surprise the realization that a Canon 40D with 24-105mm f/4 L lens and remote flash trigger will actually bounce, unscathed, off a concrete floor after falling from a height of 6 feet!

chris martin photography - Tanzania
Tanzania, 2011.