Friday, January 30, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Believe it or not they say Swahili is actually one of the easier languages to learn. Pronunciation & spelling are easier than English as there are no silent letters and every letter is pronounced the same way every time, unlike the English language.
However, even though this is my 2nd visit to Tanzania my vocabulary is still VERY limited which helps to qualify me as a 'Mzungu'. It's a term used in Tanzania & most of E. Africa to describe white people wandering lost & confused through Africa, but I think 'we' have good reason to be confused 'at times', for example... the clock in Tanzania is centred around sunrise & sunset. So 6 a.m. (sunrise) is actually 12 a.m. & 6 p.m. is 12 p.m. Tanzanian time.
So our day usually starts with a 12 a.m. (6 a.m.) walk up the mountain known as Mlima Ngangu to watch an amazing sunrise followed by work on our various projects around the Kilema Hospital Compound. Today, I was in charge of the painting crew at the Kilema Vocational School, in Roger's absence. The crew consisted of two men & one woman from the Kilema area. They were known as PLHA's (People Living with HIV/AIDS). They have voluntarily been tested for HIV/AIDS & have tested positive, however, in doing so they in turn are being provided with medical treatment from the CTC (Care & Treatment Centre) at the Kilema Hospital. This treatment is vital in allowing them to lead as normal & healthy a life as possible, but unfortunately they must also endure the stigma attached to living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. So we have employed them to work along with us on various projects in order to help provide them with work & they are GREAT workers.
Roger or 'Mr. Roger' as the painting crew has named him spent part of the morning on the job site but then he left with Dave on a trip into Moshi to meet with the Rotary Club of Moshi. The Rotary Club of Alliston & the Moshi club along with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) are partnering together to provide mosquito nets to 100,000 needy children. This is in an attempt to protect them from contracting Malaria, which is one of the main causes of death among children & 2nd only to diarrhea. I too have been sleeping under a mosquito net & even though it can be a challenge at times it's hard to believe that it's considered a luxury in Tanzania.
Speaking of mosquito nets, I guess it's about that 'time' now, time to say good night or alamsiki!
Kelly from Kilema
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
FISH POND : Three of the more adventurous explored upstream to unlock the water blockages that is preventing the fish pond from reaching it natural water levels. The team found that some parties have decided to divert water from the fish pond for their own favourite devices. Hence, as they worked downstream, they cleared up many water barriers---something very simialr to the American west's early settlers. As of tonight, it looks that more water is reaching reaching the pond slowly so that more talipia can be grown for the community. The next few days will tell the story.
COMMUNITY GARDEN: Kisiluni SecondarySchool is always looking for new ways for feeding hungry students and have found a terrific answer in starting a 1/2 acre garden for a variety of vegetables. So last Friday, all the members witnessed the students of the highschool working in the blazing sun to clear an area of heavy stumps and roots. That project is progressing slowly because the community must take ownership and some of the CACHA group is working with an experienced organic farmer and a nutritionist to develop an appropriate plan. Much more tocome next week.
PAINTING: Three dedicated painters along with some of the community's workers have painting up a storm in two different primary schools----making the learning environment more appealing to all the youngsters and making it somewhat easier for the teachers. The rooms look brighter and cleaner. Most of the painting will be completed by early next week.
ESL OPPORTUNITIES Four team members have initiated teaching in the four primary schools. conducting classes in a way that truly tries to engage all learners in the adventures of trying to learn this challenging language. They are doing that through the use of everyday objects and experiences of the kids. Also, through acting out the actual activity and thene having the students re-enact the same activity. They are trying to change slowly the trditional way that Tanzanian students have learned. That is the usual rote approach-- but lacking in actual experience So far, the students seem to appreciate this "new approach".
As well, we are working with the teachers to enhance their language capacity and expression in order to develop the key communication factor of speaking out in class and answering queries.---giving them more confidence. The key to any success in this effort is to work cooperatively with all the teachers of English.
Will keep you posted on these themes.
COMPUTER CLASSESS: Today, two team members worked with a couple of ladies in elementary basics of computer operations---starting up,e-mail, saving documents and developing ease with thes fangdangled machines. This is early in this project.
DESK REPAIRS: Our capable carpenters have managed to repair more than 36 desks and are starting to build some new ones. ALL under the blazing sun of 36 degree C.
COMING UP Next week, we are planning on inviting several groups and outstanding individuals from Kilema and surrounding area to speak to us about the contemporary Tanzania.
Tonight just the facts. Who knows about tomorrow?
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Our second day at the Tanzania sight started with the march up the hill (Baby Kilimanjaro) at 6 a.m. Some of us climbed the hill while others slept. I would have climbed but I somehow did not hear the 5 a.m. , 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. church bells next door. However, everyone made it to the 7 a.m. breakfast ready for the half day of hard work scheduled for Saturdays.
A team spent the day painting, another repaired desks, another repaired buildings and others prepared for the quilting lessons to start on Monday. I had the best job today as I tried a few things. I started by filling a wheel barrel with 4 100lb bags of white stuff needed to build the chimney and stove in the new kitchen in the vocational school. Plus, carry metal framing. It was quite an experience considering that anyone that knows me knows that I struggle with a 10lb bag of potatoes and not the straightest driver of a wheel barrel. Halfway to the school the path became too narrow for the wheel barrow so we had to empty it and carry it for about 25 feet. Unloading was so much fun in this heat but we made it. Of course it was great that Sue and I were doing this together and not only is she very strong, but she knows how to handle a wheel barrow and can speak a little Swahili which probably enticed a child to helped us along.
After the first job I staggered in and started to sew patches for a quilt. Those of you that know me please stop laughing as I will admit I am definitely not a seamstress or domesticated. My sewing was pretty straight but I do not know how people have the patience to thread needles. I was then asked to iron the seams of the squares which I think I did okay so I moved onto cutting up material. What a domestic morning.
The others completed a lot of the painting, fixed numerous desks and completed the repairs required to one of the schools. Overall, it was a productive morning.
Everyone had a relaxing afternoon and at 5 p.m, some of us climbed the hill for an evening view of Kilimanjaro. This is a hard one hour walk. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Although we are not at a 5 star hotel and spend a lot of time working, it is wonderful that everyone is working well together and enjoying each others company. In fact as I typed this, most of the others are playing new card games tonight, rules only known by a selective few, and there is a lot of laughter.
Friday, January 16, 2009
We made it!
On January 16th, our team, of fifteen strong, rumbled into Kilema. (You have to have driven on a dry river bed to fully understand the state of the roads for the last few kilometers.) The area is lush and beautiful, even though there were no November rains. It is only after experiencing the blowing red dust that you begin to notice the dryness of the vegetation. The rains expected in around March will be thankfully received.
Immediately upon our arrival, we were ushered up to Mykashi Primary School, one of five schools on the Kilema hospital grounds, to celebrate our arrival. After being greeted individually by the teachers of the area, we were seated before the students circling the outside school yard. After the greetings from each of the five schools, children from Kilema Primary School sang and danced for us in both Swahili and English. (Enchanting! The children are delightful.) Our warm welcome wrapped up with a special cake and tea with the team and the teachers. This was a new experience even for the team members that have worked in the community for the last four years. A truly memorable experience.
Day 2 began with the ringing of the church bells, the barking dog and roosters (I understand!). Within the team, this was the signal for the sunrise Mount Kilimanjaro hike to begin from the front gate....a daily occurrence with our Ironman, George Duffy.
After breakfast and a brief meeting, we toured the site to look at the projects. It was interesting to here the comments from the repeat members as they saw the progress that had been made on a number of projects e.g. the new kitchen at Kitchiloni Primary School boasting an external chimney and no soot covering the walls. (The previous kitchen was an open fire under a precarious lean-to!)
The afternoon had the work begin with the painting of classrooms, fixing of desks, replacement of termite riddled wood, sorting of the generous donations and visiting the first of 30 students involved in the ABCD - Art Building Children’s Dreams project (www.abcdreams.blogspot.com).
I had been warned that the experience would be rustic....but at this time, I can report that the ammenities are working out just fine.....variety in the food (imagine a made to order omelette for breakfast), showers after a day in the dust (some cold...some hot) and a clean bed complete with mosquito net....dorm style. So far...so good...the mishaps have been few and the laughter great. Everyone we have met here is welcoming. We all feel exhilarated....(OK after a GOOD night’s sleep we will feel exhilarated) and raring to go!