Charlie 1 – Charlie Challenge

9th December 2013

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Charlie 1 is currently halfway through their Charlie Challenge week with some difficult tasks completed and some yet to come!  For our challenge we came up with the idea of doing something different each day of the week.  We decided to follow some of the more traditional ways of life of the villagers of Miganga in order to get more of an insight into the challenges they face.  

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Day one of Charlie Challenge week was named ‘men take-over day’ as the men of the camp took over all duties for a whole day, in order to understand the role of women in the village.  Out action research showed that women in the village are expected to cook, clean, wash clothes, fetch water, collect firewood and sometimes farm as well.  Our men may not have managed that much but they did a great job taking over camp! 


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Members of women's group in Miganga

Day two consisted of a similar idea as the girls did their part and took over – a chance for them to see what their lives would be like if they lived in the village of Miganga.  This was an interesting experiment as it challenged gender stereotypes and the team was forced to see the huge responsibilities of women in this culture. 

As singing is such a big part of the community here, with regular singing clubs which we attend weekly, we decided that the team would do a day of singing instead of talking to our fellow team mates.  This proved to be more difficult than expected as even asking someone a question had to be done through song!  However the challenge caused a lot of laughter and fun for the day. 

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Thursday’s challenge was the hardest yet as seven of the volunteers set off at 6.30am armed with the empty jerry cans to the water pump 2km away.  We managed to stagger back with about 115 litres of water to live off for the rest of the day.  This particular task really opened our eyes to the reality of the tasks that the local women must do for their families every day. 

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Due to the team’s community event on Saturday morning, Friday’s challenge has been moved to Saturday to allow us time to prepare.  The challenge is to collect firewood from about 2km away (luckily we have managed to fix the wheelbarrow!).  Modra, from the village women’s group does this long walk alone to collect firewood for her family every day, something that we find difficult to believe as a team of 5-6 of us are going.

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To make up for our day off the team will be completing two challenges on Sunday.  The first will be living in ‘Tanzanian time’ for the day by abandoning our watches and guessing the time.  Hopefully this will help us to understand the lateness of the villagers a little more!  Last of all our final challenge is to cook our evening meal over an open fire, something which almost all of the villagers of Miganga do.  We are looking at the possibility of buying a goat to prepare and eat, a common food choice here, and also something which we have not done before.  Wish us luck!