Days 8 – 10

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In Same everyone takes care of necessary, or, in many cases of Kangas being bought, very unnecessary purchases since this is the last large town known to us before Dar es Salaam. Our attempt to get the presentation printed and laminated in Swahili is in vain due to the vast incompetence of multiple employees of the minimalistic equipped copy shop. This ordeal cost too much time to allow another attempt at a different shop and so we must admit defeat or let the Range Rover drive to Gonja without us. Clearly, we have no interest whatsoever in this event occurring since the following days are to be free of waste and dedicated to relaxing. Thus being the situation, we are in no need of security and all four guards remain in Same where the truck is parked, seeing as we have no desire of testing its capabilities on the horrific road to Gonja. Robert and his students will be in charge of minor repairs done on it in our absence and on top of this will be returning to Kisangara to produce more waste pickers at the welding workshop of Malage.
We for our part embark upon the adventurous drive northbound up through the Mpare Mountains, which packed in the Range Rover like sardines is the epitome of any claustrophobic nightmare. Of course, the car does not leave until it’s full – and that is not the case by Tanzanian standards until at least two people are on the roof. As an appropriate counterpart to the cramped drive up, we all settle down and enjoy the idyllic green landscape surrounding us as soon as we set foot on Pare grounds.

The first full day off is quite contrary to our expectancies not entirely free of work. Micheal Mngara, our very hospitable host and a primary school principal Felix and Hanna have known for years from previous Tanzania trips, offers us the possibility to talk to his students about plastic. Though at first our motivation is quite limited indeed, we recognize the good will and unexpected chance to reach a few more students on the topic, this educational aspect of which is the aim of the project. Though we had presumed the students of Mtii Primary to be too young to grasp the concept of pollution sufficiently, we reckoned it to be worth the try and were pleasantly surprised to see Grace keep the little ones spellbound throughout her interactive dialogue. Many of them had absolutely no concept of waste whatsoever and even teachers showed surprise at how long plastic takes to disintegrate and what harm it can do along the way.

Micheal bids us farewell the evening before his departure, leaving us to our own accord in his home in the middle of what we like to call “Jungle Paradise” until our own return to Same the following day. As we approach town, we can see from afar our truck, to which we have already become attached in a strange nostalgic way, and waiting alongside are Robert with his students and the security guards. We all greet each other as if we had been separated for a number of weeks, not mere days, and are glad to see spirits high after some time off. Teacher Kodawa, whom Felix made acquaintance with several years prior at Msafiri English School, is also present and invites us to stay the night at Same Hill Secondary School, which he is now principal of.

Upon arrival we are pleasantly surprised to find this school already in the midst of constructing a collection bin; for now the provisional bin consists of many cardboard boxes filled with plastic bottles. Just as we have completed in converting an orchard into our nightly campground, Marko, Felix D. and Thomas pull into the long school driveway on motorcycles cheering. Just in time for dinner and a presentation held by Hanna in dimly lit classroom.

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