Hello From Tanzania

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Hello!

On Monday morningBrenda sat on a bench outside the WAMATA offices telling us excitedly about her 1st term at Beekeeping College.

BEEKEEPING COLLEGE????

Yes, the only one in East Africa is in Tabora, Tanzania, and it has been Brenda’s dream since she was a child to be a beekeeper.

She told us about the ordeal each student had to endure, being stung many times to be sure they were not allergic before beginning the training.

She shared information about the medicinal properties of honey learned in the classroom, and the importance of never boiling honey so as to keep the enzymes intact.

With glowing eyes, Brenda explained the life cycle of the bee, the jobs of each type of bee, and how to maintain a healthy hive.

I have to admit, when I learned last year that this was Brenda’s choice for post-secondary training, I was a bit skeptical. But once she told me that she could sell a liter of honey for the equivalent of $20 at the local market, I bought in big-time. Because not only will she be doing what she loves, but will able to support herself beautifully.

I don’t know where it came from, but when Brenda exclaimed, “I LOVE BEES!”, I absolutely believed her.

Carol

Many Children, Many Paths

It is always wonderful to watch children grow and develop over time. As the kids in the Pamoja Project have gotten older, their unique interests and abilities have become more apparent.

While all of them attend school, they exhibit a variety of interests and abilities. For example, we are seeing several of our secondary students begin to make choices for their futures. Some can graduate and attend university. This week, we got the news that Alfa has completed his national service obligations and will qualify for pre-medical school.

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Other graduates are currently attending training institutes, which offer good opportunities to find employment. Neema is in teacher's college. Mesca is being trained as a medical equipment technician. Gifti, enrolled in the same training college, is studying Community Development. With this training, she can find employment as a community social worker.

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We have also been interested that two of our young teens have shown a strong affinity for animal husbandry. John is still in school and doing well. At the same time, he has already taken the initiative to raise rabbits. On his own, John built his first hutch. We plan to have someone teach him how to construct a larger, more secure version, adding to his skill base

Alice was not able to continue in school due to difficult health challenges. She loves to raise poultry and has been quite serious about selling chicks and eggs to her neighbors and at the market. We will help supply materials for a larger banda (coop) so that she can continue to expand her business.

Our sponsored children are growing up. We are delighted to see the various paths these young people choose to follow. With continued Pamoja Project support and encouragement, we believe these children will become independent and productive.

Catherine

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Back in Tanzania - August 2017

Hello there. I’m in Tanzania with Catherine Monserrat, board member and Pamoja Project collaborator. This trip, Catherine will be our guest blogger, photographer, providing insights from the road.
— Carol Parker
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Gratitude from Tanzania

Yesterday, Carol and I travelled with staff to a remote village where Pamoja Project has supported 2 primary schools. While we travelled along the dirt roads, I was struck by the barren terrain and the great distances between dwellings.

Water is very scarce, and what little they have is stored in man-made “ponds” shared by the people and their livestock.

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The water is not clean, and the people often suffer from water-borne disease. The schools don’t have running water so the young children walk long distances to school, carrying water in buckets on their heads. This is so difficult. Yet, like all children, they want to go to school to learn and to grow. 

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Each of the schools has around 500 students. So how were we able to help? First, with safe drinking water. Pamoja Project has purchased large storage tanks that can hold the contaminated water the children carry to school, which can then be treated with the purification agent our safe drinking water project, supported by Proctor & Gamble, provides. Most recently, the schools were threatened with closure by government authorities because their old, inadequate latrines were full. We are pleased to report that with Pamoja’s support, both schools could build new latrines.

During our visit, I was filled with a sense of awe as I visited giggling children in clean uniforms, happy to be in their classrooms even after trekking 7 kilometers or more to school with a heavy bucket on their heads. I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to have a direct experience of the good that has come from the support so many of you have extended to these kids.

As we were leaving one of the schools, a young teacher took both of my hands. “You must hear me, “he said. “My heart is filled with gratitude for all of you who have cared about us. We appreciate the help you have given our children….so much, so very much.” And so, I extend his sentiments on to you. Deepest gratitude from the other side of the world. 

Catherine

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Are You Tired of Hearing About Toilets?

Well, it is a messy subject :)

International best practices suggest a WASH program (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) at every school. While this isn't always practical, we decided to supplement our safe drinking water program at the 2 schools in the Masaii lands of Mswakini with support for the sanitation and hygiene pieces.

First Step? New toilets. With school censuses in the 5-600 range, the 4 little cement outhouses were not adequate for student use- and they were nearly full to boot. Village leaders are overjoyed with Pamoja Project support, and every family will participate in digging the trenches and carrying water to make the cement. 

We'll do a 4-holer for boys and one for girls at each school. Buying materials and hiring local laborers will be a small but meaningful supplement to the local economy as well.

Update on Lillian

Many of you remember, and supported, a year of eye patches for Lilian, the little girl with crossed eyes. When her specialist decided the patches weren't really working, he scheduled her for surgery. In the 2 weeks since her operation, Lilian's vision has improved and everyone is elated by the result. 

She doesn't look like she is as happy as the adults- maybe because I took her thumb out of her mouth to take this photo!

Carol

www.PamojaProject.org