5cense Tanzania

 A Day in the Life in the Millennium Village of Mbola, Tanzania, with Walter Willet

After a weekend in Zanzibar, we caught a small plane to Tabora. The rains had just come the week before to the western part of Tanzania, and boy did they come with a vengeance...

flooded fields around Shinyanga, Tanzania, where we stopped over briefly
(yes, that's mud on the window!)



downtown Tabora



Tabora street scene


Tabora was our jumping off point to the Millennium Village of Mbola, where Jess and the Spicer were paying a site visit. Walter Willet (the preeminent nutritionist and author of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy) met us too. The usual disclaimer applies here in that I don't work for the Millennium Villages in an official capacity, and these photos and observations are strictly my own point of view as a casual observer. It was an honor to be able to tag along with Jess and co. on this trip, to get a glimpse into the every day lives of these villagers in rural Tanzania and see the progress they have been making. It was especially interesting to be in the company of Walt Willet (who riddled the villagers and us with questions like, "why do we spit out watermelon seeds?")

We did the usual things you do on a site visit: visited a school, a school kitchen, a clinic, a maize storage place, a food processing facility with a woman's group, and he and Jess sat down and talked to a few typical households about their eating habits. Sure beats being a tourist if you ask me. If you are interested in supporting the work that the Millennium Villages project does here and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, you can do so through Millennium Promise or the facebook cause.

Here's a video and some photos from our visit.

storm clouds brewing over Mbola

dark clouds over Mbola


school girls greet us

mbola school girls


more faces

school children


children in class



my favorite little one

Mbola girl


at the maize storage facility

maize stockers


shouldering the maize

maize man


herding goats through tobacco fields

herding goats


sunflower crops



note the toy car the boy on the left crafted from clay

boy and his toy


chicken and hut

chicken and hut


school children chasing us

children and church


community health workers

community health workers


school cook

cooking makandi


cooking makandi (corn and bean mixture)

cooking makandi





dog and ugali cooking

dog and ugali


farmer that claimed to eat 50 mangos a day when they were in season!

Mbola farmer


proud father and his sons

father and sons


girl at the well

girl at well


back at home

girl in doorway


girls at the clinic

girls at the clinic


more posing

girls at the clinic


Walt Willet with dairy farming couple

Walt Willet and dairy farmers


ground nuts (they gave us a bag for the road)

ground nuts


Jess and Walt

Jess and Walt Willet


boy sitting in maize field

boy under clouds



village chairmen (formerly known as "chiefs" before the Tanzanian cultural revolution
prohibited the word)

village "chiefs"

Tomorrow Jess leaves back to Nairobi, and I'm headed south by rail, boat and however else to meet up with her next week in Malawi. Should be interesting... Onward into the "Heart of Darkness."


(c) 2009 Derek White

5c Tanzania