Well, we are on our own now. Rich and Barb flew to their respective locations Sunday evening. Barb flew back to their home in Connecticut. Hopefully she will be able to relax for the next few weeks before some meetings in Omaha. Rich flew to Latvia for a week.Mosaic is a member of IMPACT and has international programs in seven countries (Latvia, Romania, The Dominican Republic, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, and India). Rich is heavily involved with Romania, Latvia, and Tanzania. Hopefully he will have a successful visit and be able to relax back in the USA when he is done.
It has been truly wonderful to have Rich and Barb here for our first month. We feel incredibly fortunate to have been granted a month of time – on the front end of our journey – with “the bosses” of an international volunteer fellowship. We know that not many volunteers are given this amount of support and direction. We still feel like we have a lot to learn from them, but it is time for them to head back, so we will learn the rest on the fly. We have had so much fun living with them over the past few weeks. It has been great learning about them, their lives, and their hopes for BCC. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to live and work with two people who have so much experience in a field that we want to be closely involved with throughout our lives. We are very excited to see them when they return in eight months! While we are going to miss Rich and Barb very much, we think we have been put in position to complete our year of work with our friends at BCC.
We have finished some final planning and we think we are on the right track. We meet with Kaaya and the BCC management team on Monday to discuss formalizing the BCC international volunteer program and setting some general goals for the next week. We think that we will have several meetings with local entities over the next few weeks. We have many long term goals and we are trying to establish a solid foundation for them.
An example of a large goal that we will be working on is health care. We will meet with a local private physician clinic to discuss the possibility of an alternative healthcare program for the children who are served by BCC. There is no social medicine, such as Medicaid in the U.S., and few people can afford health insurance or health care in general. Often, they cannot afford transportation to or from the clinic and they do not have the financial capabilities to pay for the recommended medications or treatments. Because of all of this, people often become disenchanted by the healthcare system. Preventative measures are not always taken, and people cannot always afford the medications that are recommended by the physicians. By western standards, health care is inexpensive here. We are working on ideas to create a plan that would promote preventative healthcare for the children served by BCC.
The infamous Land Rover was out of commission the past couple of weeks, but we just got it back. If you are currently unfamiliar with the Land Rover, it was made in 1988 and it is a solid vehicle. Rich and John say that working on the Land Rover is exactly like working on old farm equipment. At one point the accelerator was held together by a bottle cap! Recently the local mechanic updated the bottle cap. It is now held together by bailing wire!! The Land Rover continues to be a running joke with most of the locals, our families, and our friends. It is a great car, but driving it and working on it is a bit of an adventure! Please see below for a few photos of this famous vehicle. John has done a few final test drives through Moshi to familiarize himself with the car, the left handed shift, and driving on the other side of the road. He reports that all of those things would be easier if the Daladala’s would not stop in the road, people pushing carts would stay away from the middle of the road, and if there were any clear rules of the road in general. Jesse, a safari driver and friend, went out with John and graded his driving. He gave John an 80% on the first trip and an 85% on the second trip. Those are B’s in college, so he’s doing pretty well!!!
This week we will be establishing our own schedule. We have many goals to accomplish in the next year, so the tone of what we can complete will be set during these next few weeks. We are looking forward to getting on track and establishing quality working relationships with our friends at BCC. We are very optimistic! Hopefully we can achieve our goals in a sustainable fashion and leave a lasting impression on the BCC program.