So over a month since I have been in placement and about time (thank you for the gentle prompts mum), for an update on what my life is like here in Lindi.
Lindi is the southernmost coastal town in Tanzania, on the Indian Ocean. Lindi Region is one of Tanzania’s 31 administrative regions. According to the 2012 national census, the region had a population of 864,652. and is the least densely populated region in Tanzania with 13 people per square kilometer. Lindi’s port facilities are rudimentary, although I have been told it was the 2nd largest port, in Tanzania and the region was once an important sisal-producing plantation area. A recent development has seen the town of Lindi linked to Dar es Salaam by a continuous (very good) tarmac road.
My role has involved travelling a fair amount to Mtwara, the next biggest region and to Dar-es-Salaam, where the VSO Country Office and the project partner organisations are located.
Our project is a small team which includes my manager; 2 x local partner community worker coordinators and 1 x National; 1 x International volunteers.
A lot of my time is spent interviewing the youth that have undertaken the training provided by the course and documenting the results from being employed to start up themselves.
We also have fun, particularly on the road trips and never miss an opportunity to dance.
I share an amazing white house on the beach with 3 other volunteers, who started at similiar times and work on different projects. we have the usual volunteer challenges, no internet; loadshedding; having to check our electricity and water supplies daily and sharing a bathroom when we all work to the same schedules can be challenging.
Lindi is a cosmopolitan town with Arab and Indian merchants owning the bulk of businesses. Islam is the predominant religion (all too apparent, at 5am mosque loudspeaker prayer calls). The town has a market, a bus station, a post office, an airstrip (currently not in use by commercial airlines), primary and secondary schools, several banks (two with ATMs). The main employment is fishing in Lindi Bay and some farming on the outskirts of the town. Employment opportunities are very limited, as Lindi lacks any kind of major industry.
Gone are my city lifestyle clubbing days, life in Lindi consists of early morning sunset beach walks. Walking to the office with the children yelling Mzungu (white person) as you approach an the obligatory hi pitched “Hi Mzungu” . Shopping at the market, creative cooking with the limited ingredients, sunset, moonlight/shooting stars beach walks …a pattern here. Anti malarials insomnia induced, early sleepless nights. Sumptuous dinners at the “Mayor of Lindi”,as I call Matthew, who kindly befriends and adopts all of us VSO volunteers, entertaining us at his house on the hill and the fantastic weekend boat trips, thrown in for measure.
I am definitely loving Lindi.