Our Kids Are Growing Up

Yes, our kids are growing up…

  • September 14, 2018

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Olais found it very funny to show how tall Denis has grown, and how short I still am!

But when I look at the children you have sponsored, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.

As of September 2018, here is where our kids are:

14 attend primary school

13 are in secondary school, 6 of whom are boarding

4 are enrolled in our vocational training programs

7 are attending post-secondary certificate or degree programs in everything from social work to business management

Yes, we’ve lost a few along the way, but mostly because they moved out of our service area or elected not to continue their education. I think this is an amazing statistic in a country where only 50% of the population is literate.

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I fly home tonight.

Mary, Olais and I have visited many of our kids, both at home and at their schools.

Above, Mary, Olais, and Aneth share a laugh during our visit. I will be touch with those of you who are sponsoring kids soon after I get home and through my jet lag, to give you the highlights of my visits with your wonderful kids.


Visiting Ambureni Dispensary

Many of us have a Utopian idea of what a government run,

single-payer healthcare system would look like. Although

a poor country like Tanzania is not a good comparison to

what we might see in the US, it can provide a cautionary tale.

- September 11, 2018:

You may remember that we built a new dispensary for the 20,000 residents of Ambureni Ward in 2016. The contract that the government makes with communities is that if you build the facility, they will provide a doctor and nurse, furniture and equipment, and necessary medical supplies.

When I was here last year, I was not able to visit the dispensary so I was very excited to do so on Friday.

Here is what the doctor showed me:

3 shiny new beds with no mattresses

Apparently, it is BYO mattress or other bedding if you are coming to give birth. And yes, there are multiple births here every month.

An examination room with 1 chair

Who sits? Doctor or patient?

A ton of painkillers and enough vaccines, but no antibiotics

I guess if you have an infection and can't afford to buy meds from a private pharmacy, you just take painkillers and hope for the best.

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First off, let me say this-

I love Dr. Goodrick. She is dedicated, open, clearly an advocate for her patients, and we are lucky she was assigned to our post. She is immensely grateful to Pamoja Project for the dispensary. And, in line with our beliefs, she is running a series of family planning clinics here next month in conjunction with the international organization, Marie Stopes. 

But there is much we can do to make her job easier. I am collecting the costs of the items that Dr. Goodrick believes are essential, and will provide opportunities for you to participate in the coming months.

The US healthcare system leaves much to be desired. Let's make sure that if we get a single payer system in the US, the budget includes mattresses.

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Training Tailors Since 2005

Yup, our tailoring training course has been offered to teens who have had to stop formal education since 2005!

Here's an update on the progress of the program.

It's so wonderful to know that in 8-10 months of training teens can be supporting themselves with the skills learned in our tailoring program. The current class is 21 students, 2 to a sewing machine.

Here students show me the skirts they are working on as practice.


Oh my goodness, Neema. Your dress is gorgeous. Did you make it?


I made plans to meet with Neema, one of the kids who has been sponsored for some years through Pamoja. She is HIV+, did not pass her national exam to attend secondary school, and last year entered our Tailoring Training Program. Now she works from a rented veranda, sewing a variety of items for local residents. I am awed by how beautifully she determined the layout of her dress so that the design was strategically placed.

Way to go, Neema!


Welding is Not Just Useful Work, It Is Also Art


This morning when I arrived at our offices, I looked over at the welding training center and was curious what the “huddle” was about. I walked over, said “good morning” and asked about what they were observing. 

Today's exercise was the fabrication of decorative corners for the grills every Tanzanian home has on their windows I have seen lots of iron bars on doors and windows in my time here, but these were positively beautiful.


Above, Teacher Jonah and another student demonstrate how the corners will look when attached to a wall. I am so pleased to see that the students are learning not only how to weld in order to support themselves and their families but also are creating products with added value because they are so attractive.


With their enhanced skills, our trainees will be in high demand once they enter the workforce.