Greetings from Tanzania!

We arrived two weeks ago from the wintery cold and snowstorms of the U.S. to the sizzling heat and dryness of the Tanzanian summer. Our friend, Kaaya met us at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and delivered us and our numerous bags to the town of Moshi, which we will call home until May. Moshi is in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, being on the south side of this beautiful snow capped mountain. Moshi’s population is about 175,000 with a mix of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and those who practice traditional native beliefs. They live, work, learn, and play in harmony which reflects the gentle quality of Tanzanians.

A week ago we moved into a comfortable house that is in an area of mixed housing; some upscale homes, some modest homes, and many homes of poverty-ridden families. We drive through the neighborhood hearing “jambo,” and seeing waves and smiles from the countless absolutely adorable children and their adult family members.

Throughout town from early morning to sunset, the simply constructed stands (kiosks) of strips of wood and used plastic woven bags are open to sell various wares such as strips of metal, used shoes, and brightly dyed fabric or produce such as mangoes, cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes. Mangoes are very much in season, ripening quickly, and flying from trees in a strong wind or by people knocking them down. One walks at their own risk near these trees.

It’s within this environment that we, Mosaic staff and volunteers, have spent the last three years with our partners, the Lutheran Church in northern Tanzania and IMPACT developing a pilot project called “Building a Caring Community” (BCC). BCC was created to provide much needed services to children with disabilities and their families by developing a set of holistic supports at a neighborhood level. In the early stages of the project, it became obvious that extreme poverty combined with having a child with a disability resulted in the isolation of the mother and decreased her chances to improve the quality of life for herself and her family. As a result, the project focuses on activities that address the social, educational, and health needs of children in and out of their home. This provides economic opportunities to mothers or other caregivers through training and direct employment in the program, opportunities for accessing micro-credit loans, or working as a member of a parent cooperative that is designed as a Social Business. A more detailed description of this project can be seen by clicking Mosaic International on our blog page and viewing the film “Building a Caring Community… One Person at a Time” by clicking on videos.

Stay tuned for more snippets about Tanzania, including:

  • Trivia questions

  • Education

  • Health

  • Roles of micro-credit loans

  • Up close and personal with our day centers: children, families, & staff

  • Diversity of peoples

  • BCC parent cooperative

  • Plants and animals

  • Moshi & surrounding area

  • Rich’s jazzy vehicle

  • Quotes

  • And much more….

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