Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roller coasters

On a long walk home from school I was discussing with my friend/coworker how my students aren't creative bc they haven't been exposed to the outside world. They don't know that they could have power thru the night or drinking fountains or paved school roads or pizza. 

My friend brought up a great point though that since it's so underdeveloped, tanzania could actually easily jump ahead in the modern world. Someone donated solar lights to the students so they could study at home at night in their electricity free mud huts. And the school run off of solar panels...meaning I typically recharge my phone there instead of home.  

I don't see landlines so perhaps they skipped ahead to mobile phones. And with lack of running water perhaps they can start installing gray water systems. 

But any desire to develop needs to stem from the locals. Sure I can put ideas in their heads. I asked students to share complaints that they had about anything (in hopes that we brainstorm inventions to fix them) and they could barely come up with ideas. They complained about school uniforms getting worn down, or having more than one teacher, or having to walk to school,  but only one complained about standing on dolla-dolla buses bc they were so crowded. No one complained about mud on their shoes or being without power or running water. They see these as luxuries for the 'developed' countries. End of story. They don't care to change and quite frankly there isn't a need to change for them. They aren't starving or poor unless compared to other countries. The power becomes an issue for people like me who are used to having refrigerators for food and internet for work. Businesses rely in these things so will eventually modernize the country. But otherwise it's going to be slow movement because the people will just put up with whatever is dealt to them. 

It's these extremes that are so difficult to internalize. US you can have whatever you want, whenever you want. Tanzania you take what you can get. I have pretty good days here until I have to rely on a modern feature and it always seems to fail. My laptop has died and I'm ok with that. I really don't need it and frankly don't want to design with these internet speeds either. But now I can't upload to my blog for some reason and I don't know how to fix from my phone internet connection. I've gone days without internet an it's been great...I just make myself a list of what I want to check once I do get it. But then I plan a skype call with a friend and look forward to it, and that's the one day internet doesn't work...and suddenly my entire day is ruined by not seeing my friend. Then the entire day is saved again when I'm chased down by children and given huge hugs. What a roller coaster ride!

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