Making Memories

It is mid-July, and I am at the midpoint of my internship with Mikono-Yetu, an organisation that started from a Tanzanian kitchen. Mikono-Yetu is growing exponentially and continues to contribute to the country’s economic development. As I said in my previous post, the girl’s media group is in its infancy. It needs nourishment and care. Usually, organisations create a care plan to implement programs and services. With that in mind, the girls’ objectives have been at the centre of the program Mikono-Yetu provides. I endeavour to be an ally and support their plans.

A few weeks ago, we planned a Zoom cooking session with the girls. That Tuesday morning, I set up my camera in my white kitchen. We started the Zoom meeting just a few minutes past 8:00 am, which is our usual meeting time. Both Avery and I were trying to pay close attention to the instruction given by our girl’s leader. First, a metal pot sat on a single flame gas camper stove. Then gradually, we added the flour. The yellow colour of the cornflour faded as it met the water. Then we repeatedly stirred and added flour to get the consistency of mashed potato. Their Ugali looked like a mashed potato on the camera, but my pot had a different story. It looked more like baby food. I think, on my second try, I got the real Ugali, but I wouldn’t know because I have never had it before.

Screen shots of our Zoom cooking

They also brought okra, tomato, and coconut milk and transformed the fresh ingredients into a vegetarian dish in less than fifteen minutes. Once they cooked the side dish, it was time for a demonstration –how to eat it. At that moment, a void overcame my thought. How much I wished I could be in Mwanza. We could be enjoying the food and telling a joke or two. But, unfortunately, the absence of human contacts is a challenge with the remote internship because the everyday life experience of living at the designated place doesn’t exist.

Still, I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to make these experiences. To tell the story this time and be a small part of the girls’ lives. Despite everything going around the world with COVID-19, I want to keep a positive attitude and make the best out of this rare opportunity.

Pandemic has changed everything we do, but one thing I am sure of is that it could not change our desire to become an ally with our community partners. We want to work together, learn from each other, and empower one another.

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