Archive for the ‘Tanzania’ Category

Why are we here?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Last Thursday we had a house meeting - just like every Thursday. All volunteers get together with Johnson and it is a chance to bring up topics that need discussion.
Usually this means that Johnson puts one or two items on the agenda, talks about them, asks for feedback and doesn’t get any. Well, not much anyway.
Last Thursday he had just one item on the agenda, one question for all of us:

Why do people get involved?
What is the motivation for people to take their time, money and talent to become involved?
What does it take for volunteers to get involved and stay involved?

He gave that question to the group of about 16 volunteers and the answers were quite different:

  • Some said they were here, because their university send them to research volunteer work and they needed the work done to finish their studies.
  • Some said they were here, because they had the summer off after graduation and wanted to see what Africa is like.
  • Some said they were here, because a friend had been here and they also wanted to get involved and offer the skills and experience they have.
  • Some said they were here, because they have been here before and liked coming back and working with the people at the organisation and in particular projects and to see friends they made during previous stays.
  • Some said they were here, because they want their children to experience different countries and living situations.
  • Some said they were here, because they want to help the poor children.
  • Some said they were here, because they want to experience everyday life in Africa to understand the situation better when collaborating with African partners in business or research.
  • Some said they were here, because they had been exposed to similar conditions as those in some of the projects during previous travels and wanted to give something rather than just looking at people.

The reasons vary, but for me there are a number of facts that are valid for all of us, no matter what our motivation:
The local staff knows a lot more about the situation and the bigger picture than you do.
Setting up a project is not an easy and simple process, if it is to produce sustainable results.
Volunteers can support local staff and follow their lead, not take over the project.
Donating money to the need identified by the local staff in the project not by ourselves has the biggest impact.
Making a kid happy with some expensive item or brand from your world at home is not very sustainable.
When in doubt: Africa needs more business, not more charity. Buy locally, reduce your luggage to what is really not available locally.

Back in Tanzania

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

We got a very warm welcome from Sadock, who picked us up at the airport on Saturday. Much appreciated, as I know how busy he is!

It is very different this time and it isn’t. It is slightly chilly in the mornings, warming up in the afternoons around 3pm. So far we only got a short glimpse of Kili – better than nothing I guess.. I am traveling together with a friend this time – this is much more relaxed, I have to say. There are many new buildings in Moshi, including a brand new shopping mall, which I have only seen from the outside so far. Dee and Christina in the Foot2Afrika office I finally met in person, while Deb, who I have been in touch with on facebook a lot, and I have not managed to meet up yet – a good half-way through the 1st week.

The way into town hasn’t changed though and I didn’t have any problems finding it. The service at Union Coffee has gotten a lot slower, their wireless has gotten worse and a lot more expensive, while the „new kid on the block“ (as far as I’m concerned..), Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge has good wifi, very good food and much faster service. The kids are still lying around at the hostel half of the day, busy using the now free wifi to give long reports to frineds and family back home on skypeor chilling together.

It is interesting to see how Sascha has a lot of experiences I had last time: it is a bit unreal to actually be here, the information overload with the unfamiliar food, living situation, smells and noises, e.g. rooster and imam from the mosque, both to be heard around 5 am every morning.

We have spent most of our time getting started: we had a look at the room at the ‘Msamaria Orphange for Street Children’ were the trainings for the orphanage staff and the Rudisha Women Group are starting next week. We collected the laptops they received from a sponsor. Sascha is literally cleaning them, putting new software on the laptops, updating it and I have been looking at OERs and doing some excel, power point and wordpress training with Foot2Afrika.

 It is all good :D


Order Rudisha bags, jewellery and aprons via facebook!

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Just had an idea: I will be in Moshi from next weekend for three weeks.

I will take pictures of Rudisha products and publish them in the Rudisha Women Group on facebook.

If you like something and want to buy it: order in the comment section of the particular item on facebook, then I’ll send you my paypal details and as soon as I can see the money in paypal I’ll confirm in the comment.

I will bring the things back with me in mid-July and send them to people.


Going back to Moshi

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

And before you know it, it’s time to pack the boxes and leave…

I am moving back to Germany next month. I managed to squeeze in 3 weeks in Moshi (Yeah!) with Foot2Afrika , before I start my new job. Preparations for both events keep me very busy, never mind wrapping up my research in Dublin, finalizing all kinds of things and saying good bye to all my friends in Dublin. Gonna miss you guys - don’t be strangers, Germany is just a short trip away ;)

This time a German friend from college is coming as well, so IT training is the flavor of the month.. Over a glass of (good!) wine the idea came up in spring and now, just a few months later we are getting ready for the trip.

We have done some fundraising: both of us online at betterplace and me offline with a coffee morning at DCU and with my sponsoring card “harrassing” pretty much everybody I talked to the last 4 weeks.. ;) So far we have raised about € 1300; another €80 and we have reached our goal.

We also asked for a list of things Foot2Afrika send us. Friends gave us some of the items and we got some donations or vouchers from stores. Thanks to all of you!

Now I am pretty much done with the preparation. Started with the Lariam, so all set..

Now I just need to get my boxes picked up by a moving company. Sounds trivial, but indeed it took 2 weeks to get an offer from 3 companies. Now there are four days left before I am leaving the country and I still haven’t had the chance to arrange a time with the company with the lowest offer. But that’s just a little problem I will probably laugh about in max 1 weeks time :D

Next week at this time I will be back in Moshi - looking forward to the Foot2Afrika crowd, familiar and new faces.

Thanks to all bakers, eaters and supporters

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Thanks to the people who put in the work to provide us with the selection of home-made cakes; here is what you missed if you didn’t make it:

Polish Chocolate cake from Joana - BIG succes again :)
Lemon Cheesecake from Jie
Banoffi Pie from Evans
Linzer Torte
Marble cake
Chocolate brownies from Tony
Apple crumble cake
Paula’s special cake
Romanian Space cakes - just kidding.. , Ramona brought a variety of fruit cake, delicious as always

Home-made cookies from Jenny
Lemon Cake from Trudy

Thanks to the staff of the chaplaincy for helping with setup and providing the space.
And finally thanks to all who attended the coffee morning.

We raised a fantastic 365 € - a big chunk of the funds we are trying to raise and which I will take with me to Tanzania.

If you couldn’t make it on Wednesday morning, but would like to support the fundraising and online isn’t your thing, there are also these 2 options:

I am still collecting funds with a sponsoring card - just talk to me when you see me on campus - I usually have the sponsoring card with me at all times :)


Piggy, a money-hungry piglet (aka money bank), has moved in with
Breda McManus, EEng, Room 348, DCU
until Wednesday 19 June.
Piggy prefers paper money, but will eat coins of all sizes as well:)

Piggy and the engineers at DCU

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

I have been canvassing among the engineers at DCU for a couple of days and so far we have come up with a fantastic 370€! There is still plenty of room on my fundraising card - feel free to talk to me at any time :)
Thanks a lot to all supporters: Tarik, Jogile, Tian, Yann, Conor (both ;)), Owen, Evans, Tamas, Joe & Susan from the Inter Faith Center, Sarah (from NDRC), Philip, Gabriel (both ;)), Noel, Paddy and Stephen.
The amount has been added to the total and we have come a lot closer to our target.

Next week’s Tanzania Coffee Morning (5 June, 10am to 1pm, Inter Faith Center, DCU) with a long list of extremely yummy home-made cakes is coming up. So hopefully many will enjoy the cake and feed Piggy (the glorified pink shoebox aka Piggy Bank).

Also, if you live in Dublin, you are on Facebook and you are in need of some kitchen utensils, have a look at Piggy’s Kitchen Sale
Have a good week and spread the word about our fundraising.
Feel free to share the link  to our online fundraising page :D


Things for Foot2Afrika projects

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

If you are in Germany or Ireland, preferably either near Stuttgart or Dublin:

we are putting together a number of things needed in some of the orphanages and nurseries in Moshi. We will take these things with us at the end of June.

Here is the list:

  • knitting needles & wool,
  • slippers,
  • bed sheets,
  • writing pads,
  • nursery teaching resources,
  • clothes and underwear for boys & girls 6 to 8 years
  • used, but usable digital cameras
  • used laptop, but usable with Windows 7

Table Quiz, DCU NuBar, Wed 18 July, 6.30pm

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I am organizing a table quiz and proceeds go to Foot2Africa .

Teams of up to 4.
10€ per Person, 6€ for students.
Sign up on the evening; come as a team or join a team.

I went to Tanzania last year - not traveling this year myself, but one of my colleagues from Engineering will go together with his wife and deliver money, cameras and other much needed items.

We will have a
1) table quiz
2) raffle 

The (growing) list of prizes you can see below ;)

You can
1) bring your friends
2) drop off used digital cameras with rechargeable batteries for the Msamaria Photo project
3) buy Rudisha products (bags, aprons, jewellery)
4) buy Tanzania postcards with pictures from the Msamaria photo project and more.

Update (16 July)

Some fantatsic new team prizes for the Table Quiz on Wednesday:
team voucher for 4 gâteau at Le Petit Cafe, the French coffee shop with home-made cake at the corner of Ballymun Road and St Pappins Road!
All you have to do is come and win the table quiz :)

Prizes for the Table Quiz & the Raffle: 

Some of the team prizes
2 Swahili classes for a team from
Home-made Cake
NuBar Team Voucher

Wine & more
Extra dry Prosecco
Organic Elderflower Cordial
Dry White Wine

Food & stuff
Italian Pudding & Ice Dishes
Sardinian Torrone
Gourmet Jelly Beans
Rosey Tea pot & tea cup

All kinds of things
2 Salsa Classes with Christiano Colucci
Spring toy for your desk
Souvenir from South Africa

Ian Rankin, Exit Music
The Culchie’s Guide to Dublin & a Dublin Street Atlas
Robert Kee, Ireland’s History

So long, and thanks for all the chicken

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

It was a strange journey in the sense that it clearly is an experience unmatched by any other. Like China, Tanzania is a country of big contrasts - very rich and very poor, unbelievable natural beauty and hard to believe tristesse. The best about this trip are the people I met. I will miss the women from the Rudisha Women’s Group, but mostly I will miss Johnson and his wonderful group of friends: Bumper2Bumper, Margaret, Rashid, Deb, to name a few.
The conference in Dar hopefully is the start of a good cooperation with Margaret Mushi from OU TZ and Brenda Mallinson from SADIE.
The most prominent feature, what I will probably never forget, is how welcoming people are, as well as how often you are the Muzungu. I guess you know you really have settled in here, when you are not referred to as the Muzungu any longer.
Elimu ni mali - Education is wealth. Yesterday I had the women write another test and, as expected, Aisha and Sara had by far the best results. But all of them did well. I hope Caroline will be able to continue the teaching; I left her most of my books and some ideas on how to continue. I hope the book I ordered for her will be helpful. These women really want to learn and they, do if they are given the chance.
I’m also glad Johnson took me on a trip to a small mountain village two days ago. The local secondary school will have students from an American school visiting next week. The best students were selected to host the American kids and we went with the teacher to visit the homes and to see what might be needed. I know, this is a worn out expression, but it did almost break my heart how some of them live and I’m full of respect that they are still the top students. One boy shares his home with his 90 year old grandfather, which means after school he takes care of everything. They live in a mud house without water and electricity. Another student, who is also an orphan, lives with her aunt, who has several children of her own, was left by her husband and on top of everything else has had breast cancer for the last 3 years. It seems she is in the terminal stage. I really hope that some of the American kids will keep in touch and that a few scholarships for those in worst circumstances come out of this. Having said all that, we also visited families, living in a nice house (however, without electricity), with parents who will do anything to help their children to make it through school. It was wonderful to see how neighbours or relatives take on the challenge and become guardians, despite their own difficult living conditions.
I will have to write about Margaret and children of destiny in a later posting. An extraordinary woman, taking care of very special children, orphans between 4 and 18 years of age.
On a more trivial note: I won’t eat chicken for a while and although I like it, I have also had enough avocados for a while… Not being able to eat tomatoes, sugar and beef turned out to be a real challenge. But obviously this is moaning on a very high level - considering that a lot of the people I met and worked with have to survive on 1-3$ per day.

What!!! It’s 31 May ALREADY???

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

So this will be another long posting; sorry folks;)
Saturday, 21 May we went on a day trip to Marangu. Marangu is famous for it’s waterfalls and the Chagga culture you can experience during the walks. I had arranged the taxi and Deb, Maren, Sarafina and I left early on Saturday morning. I thought Salmin, the driver, could show us some of the sites. Well, it turned out he couldn’t and Msafiri saved the day: we called him, he called a guide he knew in Marangu and we were sorted;) We spent the day leisurely walking, listening to explanations about plants, buildings and history - from 9am until 5pm. It was quite the day! We saw stone potatoes, coffee trees, of course some avocado trees and the traditional grass hut of the Chagga - it used to house the whole family, a cow, food for the animal and humans and a place to cook. The Kilimanjaro Resort in Marangu was the stop after our lunch - a place I can definitely recommend.
Rose and Santa Maria - 23/24 May
Monday was a very normal day - teaching, going into town to find out about the bus to Dar on Wednesday - had to come back on Tuesday, because tickets are only sold one day in advance. I briefly talked to Caroline who had visited Sally on Sunday - I had assumed that Sally would go home for the weekend just like the strudents at St Jude. It seems she has settled in alright and has made a friend already who shared a few things she was missing - she just needed washing powder, flip flops and the snacks are a bit more expensive as we thought. So I got those things on Monday and gave it to Caroline, who will visit Sally either this week or at the weekend.
Tuesday I started teaching, the women started showing up, I explained something and while the women were copying it down I walked around the building. And who would I run into but Rose? She has a slightly tense relationship with Foot2Africa - to put it mildly. But that day she was all sweet - she asked about the class, she even sat in for a while and then she invited Olga and me for tea and a samosa. Well, I will not write more about this. It was a nice gesture, although a bit bizarre. I left the women with a big homework as I wouldn’t be back before Monday.
There was one thing to do: I had promised Aisha, one of the Rudisha women, we would walk to a nearby school together to investigate about the conditions and requirements to get into the school. Aisha has four children, two of which are currently not attending school, because she cannot afford to pay for secondary school, which is considersbly more expensive than primary school. The younger daughter just finished primary school last December, while her oldest daughter finished primary school in 2008 and has stayed home since, helping around the house. Santa Maria is a school run by catholic nuns and a 10 minute walk from Rudisha’s workshop. It is a school similar to Mount Kilimanjaro School, slightly less expensive, also with a high standard, but it requires students to pass an entrance exam. They will not accept students who have been out of school for longer than 1 year - which means Aisha’s older daughter cannot get in, while the younger daughter will now sit the entrance exam in October. Aisha has signed her up for tutoring to prepare for the tough exam. If she passes successfully she will need a sponsor/mentor. If you are interested - please get in touch with me. I am looking for someone interested in supporting a child through the six years of secondary school, which costs approximately 700€ per year, and who is also interested in taking some interest in the progress and provide some mentoring: give positive feedback, provide encouragement when things are getting more difficult and, depending on how things develop, help in a few years with finding information about university or vocational training.