2012 Tulewasili Tanzania! We Have arrived!

It has been the fullest of days since leaving Canada on December 30 for our latest visit to Tanzania and we are aware of how tardy this first announcement comes! Samehani!

Mary Todd of Bristol, David Crossley and daughter Caroline are accompanying Eva and me to Kilema Hospital for a month of rural work and life in the Kilimanjaro foothills and after many days of movement we have finally arrived, by a cliff hugging dalla dalla, to peaceful Kilema. After settling into a completed visitor centre, rooms now named Serengeti, Arusha and Ngorogoro, the girls were quick to learn from Sr. Clarissa the workings of a kerosene lamp when the power predictably vanished as it does most evenings. We’ve have had a stream of greetings from our hosts and colleagues at the hospital, the refrain, “feel at home”, still ringing. Many are wide eyed to see Eva having grown into a young woman and they have paused to take in the stature of Caroline too. As always the welcome is warm and handshakes plenty and lingering.

Passing through Arusha a few days ago after safari (wow!), we met our first sponsored student who studies at Edmund Rice Secondary school. Weaving through an undulating dirt back road, brimming with industry and effort, open sewage, toddlers crawling and the occasional community water faucet, we finally arrived. What a pleasure to meet the headmaster and see this freshly renovated Catholic school and meet Lilian who looked smart in a red sweatered uniform. She took us on tour and described her life. She plays net ball for recreation, eats only ugali, beans and rice and no meat and would like to become a teacher at a higher level. With surprising confidence she corrected the headmaster’s error regarding her recent marks, which are good. She is 10th out of 34 students in her class. We look forward to many more student interviews and I’m sure there will be much news of progress.

Yesterday the annual distribution of school supplies and uniforms to the children served by the Kilema Orphan and Vulnerable Children Program allowed us to work along side Sunday and Ireni and to connect with grandmothers and children, seeing first hand where a sizeable portion of the OVC budget goes every year. Eva and Caroline learned how to fit a waist by holding the waist band around a child’s neck and they saw secondary children seize upon a bin of white shirts, some donated by Glen Lyon Norfolk and St. Andrew’s schools in Victoria. The book bags donated by Triple Shot and the Shaw sisters were snapped up and we locked the remainder for KSF Tuition Project students in the days to come. David and Mary helped fit shoes and navigate children from shoe to notebook station and generally relished this early contact with local village grandmothers and children. Our thanks for all the donated items we’ve begun to distribute

Mount Kilimanjaro has been obscured by thick cloud and David has been looking upward, perhaps praying for clear summiting later this month. Views were still spectacular from Ngangu Hill yesterday where we lingered in the long grass watching the light fall into long shadows. The thick coat of vegetation that shelters and sustains thousands of people living beneath is looking thicker with the heavy ‘short rains’ and with so much moisture I notice more mosquito. The girls have been culling as many as possible and we hear the happy slapping of flip flops on the wall into the night. David’s coffee grinder goes off every morning followed by a bug bite counts. We are all happily settling into life here.

Of course our thanks to everyone who has supported the project. This year I have $10,000 Canadian available for students as well as shirts, bags, English dictionaries (three given out today alone to senior students), fleece blankets, pens pencils, soccer balls. We have been sustained by interest and all manner of generosity and care. Thank you Rob and Priya for a spectacular New Years Eve dinner in Amsterdam, amidst the crackle of fireworks. Kilema will miss you this year. Tutaonana.
posted by Fraser Malahoffs @ 9:10 PM 0 comments

Leave a Reply