Our village, known as Maruvango, is located in the large Arusha region, approximately 2 hours drive from the nearest cities of Arusha to the west and Moshi to the east. It is located up in the hills, between Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru and is very difficult to access without a 4 wheel drive vehicle. The local economy is based entirely on what the land can produce.
The majority are from the Wameru tribe who speak the local Kimeru language and Kiswahili, the national language of Tanzania. Most villagers are practicing Christians and attend Lutheran or Pentecostal Churches in and around the village.
Extended family members often live in close proximity to each other, as a result of inheriting farmland which is divided up and passed down through generations of the same family.
Life in the village
Life is hard for many families whose main form of income is through farming maize, beans and coffee and keeping a small number of livestock, all of which are reliant upon irregular and unreliable rains.
If a family member has been fortunate enough to gain a good education, they are likely to leave the area and find employment which will help them to support the rest of the family who remain in the village.
Family homes are simple in construction - made from wood, clay-soil or sometimes hand-made fired clay bricks. The homes have one or two rooms, a tin-sheet roof and very often a dirt floor. There is no running water or electricity and the outdoor kitchen and toilet are often of a very rudimentary construction.
It is not unusual to find families living in a partially built brick-home. Fired clay building bricks can be quite easily hand-made from the local clay soil. However families then struggle to find the funds for cement, window and door frames, window glass and roofing sheets to finish off the construction of their homes.
The village has no electrical mains power (although work has begun to try and bring electricity to the village and its surrounding area).
Its antiquated stand-pipe water supply (dating back to the Colonial Period) has recently been upgraded by OIKOS, a large Italian NGO and villagers now have a clean and safe water supply.
There is a small village centre where the Village Chairman’s Office and other small shops are located. Larger businesses and regular weekly markets are held in neighbouring Leguruki and King’ori village centres.
Other village amenities include a Government Primary and Secondary School, and a Dispensary all of which are located several kilometres from our site.
The 20km rough dirt road, can be challenging to negotiate, especially during the rainy season, and so a good 4 wheel drive vehicle is essential for making regular journeys up and down from the village.
Village transport includes the daily bus services which leave early morning for Arusha or Moshi and return in the afternoon or evening. There are also village taxis and motorcycle taxis (Boda Boda).