i hope you had a chance to ready about our day in the jipe area. besides the fascinating tidbit on elephant poop, i mentioned water and education and that i would come back to you on these things. and fore-warning, my verbosity really shows in this post. lol.
we all, to some degree, accept our lives and culture as we’ve been born into it. it’s all that we know. the wealth or poverty structure. how we live. opportunities, or lack thereof. accessibility of education and resources. yes, some break out of the mold, some dream beyond belief and achieve the seemingly impossible. but for the most part, most of us don’t move much beyond the confines of our birth to a large degree. we speak the language of our people, follow the traditions and religions and beliefs and ways of our people. and accept the truths that are delivered to us.
and when those of us that are delivered into a life of having much more than we need, even though we still want more, what is our responsibility or place when face to face with those that were delivered into a life that lacks even the basic of necessities? ah, that is probably highly debatable and this is not intended to be a forum for that. this is simply about sharing a story of stark reality, our plans to help and hopes that there might be help out there somewhere.
my eyes have been opened by my experiences here in tanzania. and while my heart has opened so much over the past months, this visit to the massai village has opened my eyes and heart even more.
so. just for a moment. close your eyes. no, never mind. if you do that, you can’t read these words. imagine, if you will. living in a remote part of the world, east africa perhaps. you are a mother, or a father, with several children. you live without access to running water, power, or easy access to food. your children must walk more than an hour to get to a school which offers barely an education, and no food during the day; they leave at 5:30 am. this wasn’t your decision – it is the fate of your birth and ancestry. perhaps some of your children may one day move out of this tradition but for now. this is life as you know it.
water. as a basic necessity. something most of take for granted. we turn on the tap and it’s drinkable. we pop into the store and purchase a bottle of water. we turn on the water to bathe, to wash clothing and dishes. to water our animals. what if. what if you didn’t have water available to take for granted. this massai village has been in the area for a long time. at one point, i believe that perhaps access to water was more prevalent; now only a few swampy areas of stagnant water remain for livestock and washing (although i cannot believe that they could do much with this water for washing). they must travel 12 or more hours daily to the mountain to get water suitable for drinking. can you imagine? making that daily trek? oh, you are a woman in all likelihood making that daily trek.
what is needed here, quite obviously, to improve quality of life for this village (approximately 1000 people) is a well. based upon initial information, we believe that the well would need to be about 100 meters deep, and will cost approximately $50,000 USD, as estimated by a tanzanian drilling company.
it is said that the path out of poverty is education. regardless of the remoteness, regardless of life plans, education is still an important issue here. their curriculum (government school) includes math, science, political science, geography, english and swahili. if these children do not go to school, they do not even learn swahili, which definitely causes communication issues – and all children in the education system will learn english if they go on to secondary school. hiring educated tanzanian teachers has not worked out because they must live on site and the quarters are ….well, they are not living in a hut, but with no running water or power, and so many children to a teacher – there is a high turnover rate to say the least. so, what makes sense is to send villagers to become educated teachers, to commit to the school. also needed is a dormitory so that the children can board there, eliminating the long daily walks. this would allow them more concentration on studies, homework and also food. so. educate more teachers. build a dormitory. have food. that doesn’t even count water or power. or books for the classes (i was given a list of needs for the books). our education system may be lacking but holy moly. can you imagine (anyone? especially those of you in the education system?) teaching without pay. teaching without power, books, resources. teaching in which you live isolated from your own community. can you imagine, as a student – a 3 hour walking commute? no lunch or meal mid day. not enough teachers to help you with questions. yet both students and teachers do what they can.
we would like to find a way to help in whatever ways we can. our initial emphasis is to help fund education for future teachers – it is a 2 year program that costs 3,000,000 TSH (or just under $2,000 USD for the 2 year program). other funds received would be used to purchased much needed text books or food.
i have learned that if you ask enough questions, tell enough people, eventually you will get answers. today – i am seeking resources – whether that be contributions toward these project, connections to companies or organizations that can help us partner on them or knowledge of other drilling companies that might do this for less money.
for the water issue: yes, it’s a lot of money. but how do you measure the cost of a basic necessity for 1000 people? $50,000 is about $50 per massai. if we could get this message to 1,000 people that would give $50 we would have it raised in a snap. or 500 people at $100. the math can be calculated in a number of ways. but i am reaching out to you – and hope you will reach out to other if this touches your heart in any way. who do you know that can help? who would be interested in this project? pass it on. get them back in contact with me.
for the education issue: if this grabs at your heart and you would like more information or to help, you just let me know. again, spread the word. ideally, if we could raise at least $5,000 to send two people to school, and have some funds to purchase books and supplies it would be a start, it wouldn’t build a dorm, it would feed the kids or take care of all needs, but…it would be a start.
i said in the last blog. it is overwhelming, the needs we face. i sometimes sit in tears. i don’t know all of these beautiful people personally and certainly you will not. but do we need to? we are all one, part of the same thread, that together is the tapestry of our human-ness. we can certainly become aware of the world beyond ourselves, open our hearts and minds, and discover ways that we can meet the needs we are presented with.
since i am first hand being presented with these particular needs, i am sharing with you the stories in hopes that somewhere out there someone reads the words, takes them into their heart, shares them with others and sparks ignite – together we make a difference. i am your hands and feet here, but i only have so many resources myself. i need you.
as always. nakupende. nimekumis kabisa. love you and miss you so much! but i’m right where i need to be and want to be. and i’m freakin lucky to have had this door open to me, and i’m thankful i heard the door squeak and that i opted to push it open and walk through it.
i’ll leave you with this vid that johnson captured on our visit. our volunteer nurses brought shoes and clothing with them. you will get a sense of the colors, sounds and people. and don’t forget. if you want more information or have some ideas to help or want to send money or know a company that would like to send money, buzz me!
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