Well, we’re here, in Bunda. It’s been a long few days of travel, but its been good. Something about airports and planes makes me feel excited. I do have to admit I was feeling nervous while we were landing in Dar es Salaam, but that has since passed. Our trip here went smoothly, with only one minor complication. Something that I have learned over my travel experiences, is that there will usually be some sort of complication and the only way to handle complications is to ride them out with patiences. Really, it was hardly an issue. There must have been some miscommunication in regards to pick up at the Dar es Salaam airport to our hotel. We had thought there would be a ride waiting for us, but apparently the hotel did not get the email to confirm pick up. After some confusion, a phone call, and negotiating a taxi fare, we made it there. Getting back to the airport the next morning was a breeze.
Mr. Kombo picked us up at Mwanza airport and drove us to Bunda. It was a beautiful two hour drive, although I had difficulties staying awake. Bunda is really close to Serengeti National Park and Lake Victoria; in fact we even got to see some zebras from a distance. Once we got to Bunda we went to the CPAR office where we were welcomed with open arms. Everyone we have met so far has been so friendly and generous. After the tour of CPAR office, we went out for lunch to a local restuarant. We had rice, beans, veggies, and fresh bbq fish from Lake Victoria. Everything was so tasty and delicious.
Normally I eat a vegetarian diet, but sometimes this proves difficult while in a different country and other times I don’t want to limit my experiences by staying restricted to a diet. Also, something that I have thought more about, is how priviledged I am to make a conscious choice of what I eat. At home, I choose a vegetarian diet because of moral and ethical reasons that fit my lifestyle. I know that I am still able to stay healthy and nutritious with these choices. However this is not a choice most of the world gets to make. Especially for those who live in poverty, or who have limited access to food. As I was reading through the Background Information on Bunda that Susie provided us, the awareness of my priviledge became undeniable. The 2005 Poverty and Human Devlopment Report indicates that as many as 68% of people living in Bunda District live below the poverty line, and according to the Bunda Health Department, anemia is a major cause of death in children under the age of five (malaria is the number one reason). In Bunda District, over 80% of people work in the agriculture sector. However, production of food and cash crops has decreased over recent years because of environmental concerns, traditional farming, and lack of access to agricultural input. This results in farmers selling crops at a low price, and can cause serious economic stress for families.
This is why I believe that my diet choices are a privilege. With the above statistics, its easy to see that the choice of what and when to eat is just not a reality for most people. This is not just an issue in Africa, or a world issue, this is an issue that is happening in Canada too. The child poverty rate in Canada has increased in several years according to Campaign 2000. In 1989, 15.8% of families lived in poverty compared to 19.1% of families in 2012 lived in poverty. The 2014 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada also indicate that 2/5 Aboriginal children live below the poverty line. On reserves in Canada, this number changes to 1/2 Aboriginal children who live in poverty.
Poverty is clearly a serious issue in Tanzania and in Canada. I have to ask, shouldn’t it be all of our responsibility to make sure that every child is not going to bed hungry? And how can we do this at a national and international level in a sustainable manner? These are dificult questions that I am not sure can even be answered, but still are important to think about and ask. I hope I can explore how the issue of poverty and hunger is being addressed from a development perspective with CPAR and relate it to a Canadian perspective.