The rains are definitely here! The roads are getting incredibly muddy. As a result, several of the centers are incredibly difficult to access, if not completely washed out by the heavy rains. This can make the day centers very difficult to reach, particularly for the children who have difficulty with mobility. Also, because of the increase of rain, the amount of standing water has increased. As any Midwesterner from the U.S. knows, that means an increase in insects, particularly mosquitoes. Naturally, since malaria is spread by mosquitoes, this will cause an increase in incidents of malaria amongst the children and the staff. So, even though the electricity is on more frequently and the weather is much cooler, difficulties still exist.
Our work was a little slower this week, but we were still able to get a few major tasks accomplished. We visited the bag cooperative a couple of times throughout this week to check on the bag orders, check bag quality, and make sure they were all doing well. We also worked a little with the new bag cooperative. We worked with them to submit a budget and gain experience working with the current bag cooperative. Along with that, we have worked with a Lutheran hotel, Uhuru Hotel, to sell the bags in its gift shop. We are excited about the cooperative bags finally entering the Tanzanian marketplace!
We were also able to work on a potential grant opportunity with Rosemary and we sent revised documents to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center to begin finalizing the preventative healthcare program for children served by BCC. We anticipate reaching a conclusion in the next few weeks!
We were also able to visit Kaaya, his wife, and their new baby boy! On Monday, we went with the BCC staff to their home. Ebenezer, the baby boy, was only 5 days old when we saw him! Kaaya and his family welcomed us into their home and offered us peanuts and cokes. We gave them a few gifts, held the baby, and chatted for a while. It was a great visit and Ebenezer is such a cute baby!
Rev. Martin Russell from the ELCA Nebraska Diocese was in town this week! We had a second “Nebraskans in Tanzania” dinner. This dinner had a few less people, mostly due to the fact that Martin came alone this trip. The dinner was at El Rancho Indian Restaurant. The group consisted of Martin, Bob Kasworm, Greg Hennigs, a pastor who is participating in an eight week pastoral exchange, and us. The food was amazing and the conversations were equally wonderful. It was good to get together with our “Nebraskans in Tanzania” friends. We often see each other, but it is always revives our spirits when we see a familiar face!
As we mentioned last week, we are currently in Zanzibar! Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is part of Tanzania, but it is very different in many ways. We are excited to have the opportunity to learn about the culture and the history of Zanzibar. We are more excited to spend a few days on the beach!!! We will talk about our Zanzibar experience in the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section this week.
We will continue our “Through Their Eyes” series. This week, we will talk about Fatuma, a little girl from Msaranga parish.