A collection of journal entries of two students from the University of Western Ontario, Dallas Curow (June-August 2005) and Jonathan Birinyi (June 2005-April 2006). Feel free to read and explore their journey working on the Western Heads East probiotic yogurt nutriontal project in Mwanza, Tanzania, Africa.

June 10-17

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That is Kiswahili for Saturday, "day one," which is appropriate as today we write our first installment as the second pair of Western Heads East interns.
The flights here were long but rather enjoyable. KLM is a very nice airline with great meals! We had a brief stopover in Amsterdam in between our first and second flights. Despite the jetlag, we jetted out to the city center for a quick 40- minute walk and then dashed back to the airport. Our second flight arrived in Nairobi.
In Nairobi we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted not only by Charles, but also by the famous Brian and Cynthia. She wore a beautiful blue wrap and Brian, er, had a very large trucker-handlebar moustache! We were immediately impressed by how well Brian and Cynthia spoke kiswahili; the two were well acquainted with Nairobi and were excellent tour guides. After a luxurious night at the Fairview, We spent 2 days in Nairobi seeing the sights, learning more about the internship and eating some traditional African food. We also went on a mini safari to a Giraffe park where we got to feed and pet giraffes. It was incredible! On Monday, After going to KEMRI to meet Charles again, we flew into Mwanza, Tanzania.
After being picked up by the employees of Kivulini (The Women's Rights organization that WHE is partnered with) we endured a very bumpy ride into the city centre of Mwanza. Our neighborhood is called "Mlango Moja" (one door) named for the pub turned used clothing market that only has one way in and out. We live in the third floor of a very nice office building across from the market. The apartment has two bedrooms, a spacious living/dining area, fully equipped kitchen, one bathroom and one "choo" and of course, a yogurt making room..
Our first week was a lot like Orientation week at Western: lots of running around. Brian and Cynthia were amazing tour guides/mentors as they showed us all the best places to eat and how to navigate around the city.
Throughout the week the "yogurt mamas" come in every morning to make their batch of yogurt and distribute the already made yogurt into containers for the 12 families involved in our program. None of the women speak more than a few words of English, yet they are very helpful and patient while trying to teach us Kiswahili. We checked out our partner medical research institute, NIMR and met the microbiologist there, Simon. The rest of the days were filled with errands, but at night we would go out for delicious food and ask Cynthia and Brian a million questions about their experiences and the program. The mamas also threw B&C a goodbye party, complete with singing, dancing and cake.
After many fun but overwhelming nights and days, Brian and Cynthia have headed back to Canada. Today was the first day of true independence. Last night we went out to a lakeside bar called the Yacht club with the Kivulini staff for some dancing and samosas.
Today we sat down to map up our goals for the upcoming months. Yogurt production is going very well, but there is still room for growth and development. However, there are many things we are looking forward to with living in Mwanza and the WHE project.
See you next week,
Dallas and Jon

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