Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Spring into Service" in Tanzania!!

“Spring into Service” with Global Volunteers to receive a special limited discount offer for our March and April teams!

Four or more volunteers who apply by January 31 for any of these 28 teams in 16 countries will receive a discount of $200 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for one-, two- or three-week international programs or $100 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for USA programs. No other discounts apply.

Please encourage others to volunteer in our five fundamental project areas: education (especially promotion of girls education), labor and community infrastructure, health care, child care, and food and nutrition.

Call us at 800-487-1074 for details and we'll assist you every step of the way. Our worldwide host communities can’t wait to welcome you!!

Check out this link for more details & service program dates: http://globalvolunteer.org/special/springspecial.asp

Tanzania Service Program Dates, March & April Teams:
26-Feb-11 to 19-Mar-11
30-Apr-11 to 21-May-11

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vote for Global Volunteers in the Full Page Project!

From November 15 - November 21 the Star Tribune newspaper is holding a contest entitled 'Full Page Project' amongst MN non-profits and the winner will receive a free full page ad in the Sunday paper!

Please vote for us this week ~ you can vote once per hour!

Here is the link where you can register and then vote for Global Volunteers (please copy and paste the link):

We would also encourage you to pass this link along to your family and friends, and post it on your personal Facebbok page or blog. Let us know if you have any questions, and remember voting has begun!

Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 4, 2010

September Service Program Volunteers in Action!

Please take a peek at a few of our favorite images depicting our volunteer service program in Tanzania. ENJOY & thank you volunteers!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Connecting" in Tanzania

It was about 10 days into our service project, around 12:15PM and my son Jack and I were walking back to the Mission House from a tiring morning of hauling five gallon buckets of water, gravel, sand, and cement around the job site of building the new kitchen at the Secondary School. As we approached the Mission House, Jack said to me, "I'm exhausted. I think I am going to go take a nap and skip lunch" (you know a 14-year-old boy is tired when they want to skip a meal!).

No sooner were these words out of his mouth than off to our left we heard the voices of little kids calling out to him, "Jackie! Jackie! Unacheza mpira???" All fatigue instantly vanished from Jack's mind as he took off full speed to go play ball with the kids! He LOVED playing with those kids.

He had such an incredible time in Pommern -- from his friendship with our team leader, Edward Mgeni, to our team, working alongside Dr. Godlove, or the friendships he made throughout the village. It nearly broke my heart watching him say goodbye to those kids on our last day :)

Thank you all at Global Volunteers for all that you do to foster such amazing relationships around the world.
- Amy Kleissler

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11, 2010

Quote of the day: “Life’s about the journey…not the destination”

Today we left Pommern early in the morning. It was gorgeous….the sunrise was spectacular and I couldn’t resist taking the same pics I had taken on our arrival 3 weeks ago! The ride was long but fun and everyone fared well….we are so tough  We enjoyed our last supper together…it was nice to enjoy everyone one last time before retiring to hot showers where I personally rejoiced as I removed all the red dirt from my head. Tomorrow we go our separate ways….for me I’m anxious to get home but feeling weird about the transition to our “other planet”.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010

Quote of the day: “Be who you are because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter” – Dr. Seuss

Today was our last day of service in Pommern (tear). We went to our usual spots in the morning and met up for lunch. We had the afternoon off to pack and then somehow made room for 2 dinners that night. The first was our “last supper” at the school where we got to say goodbye to the teachers, students and some clinic employees that we had worked with the past 3 weeks.

Later that night we had a bowl full of meat in the attic of the mission house. Mama Tony, Mohammad and Haran joined us all as well. After the grownups left we made our way to the pub. It was a great last day in Pommern.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010

Quote: “Remember what one dream can do. You are unstoppable” – Rascal Flatts

Today was our second to last day in Pommerini and we got the afternoon off. In the morning we went to our normal activities of the clinic, school and construction. Today was the first time all of us got to go to tea time at the school to enjoy their delicious doughnuts. In the afternoon we went on an adventure hike to see the waterfall. It was challenging and fun and in the end, worth the work. After enjoying the afternoon sun, almost everyone went to the field to watch the students play volleyball and soccer. At night, Meghan and I went to the clinic to see a circumcision take place. Not surprisingly, however, it was rescheduled for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 8, 2010

Quote of the day: “Lead by Example”

• Breakfast (yum yum)
• I went to the clinic and cleaned….a lot!
• Hope and Kate painted…Hope managed to paint herself.
• Hunter puddied the windows for what seemed to be a while.
• Carrie went to the school and helped with the testing.
• Lunch time
• I went back to the clinic, not much to do so I then played soccer with kids and went to Patricia’s house and got my hair done (African style)
• Hope, Kate, Carrie, Ben, and Hunter went to lead the cheering at the volleyball court.
• Supper time (delish) with Shadrack
• Stories by the fire, hence my abs are store (cough cough Carrie!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010

Quote of the day: “Give a boy a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a boy to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

Today our day started with a nice walk to a lutheran church about 2 miles away. The service was filled with many wonderful songs and in the middle of the service we were given the opportunity to give a short lesson on nutrition. Edward did a wonderful job of translating.

After the service we hurried back to the mission house for a late lunch. Along the way we saw some nasty spider webs.

In the afternoon we sat outside and relaxed in the sun. At about 4 o’ clock we headed for another church service type thing where we have another nutrition talk to a different group. After that we headed for the football field and watched a match between Pommern and a neighboring village.

After a delightful dinner we went with Edward to “The place!” We enjoyed some good chat time before calling it an early night once again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5, 2010

Quote of the day: “Give a little bit, give a little bit of my life for you. So give a little bit, give a little bit off your time to me. There’s a time when we need to share.”
-The Goo Goo Dolls

Our day started with sleeping in until 9 o’clock. After that Meghan Hope and I went to the clinic where we tied string to the windows so they could be opened or closed with the screens up. Then we had lots of shopping since local vendors brought their products to our house. In the afternoon we went to the field we were played volleyball and watched their football game. We had a great time talking with all the students. Ben finally returned from Iringa with his brother Hunter so the house is once again full. Our night ended after we went to the pub once again. We are all looking forward to another relaxing day tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4, 2010

Quote of the day: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go. It doesn’t matter what you have done, it matters what you are doing.”

Today was the first day as a new group. Sherri went on her way bright and early with many great memories. Kate and I were in the clinic today. We started getting set up, and then Edward came over. He brought Kate and I to the labor room to see out vision being put into action. There was “the best carpenter” that Edward got and he was putting in screens (which are really extra bug netting) in the windows. We were ecstatic. Dr. Godlove then took us back into the room and pointed out that the bees were not only coming in through the windows, but through the walls and weiling as well that really put a damper on our day. We asked the carpenter to fix the other problems as well, not knowing if he would do so. So we went to the mother/child clinic and started to get the ball rolling by Kate weighing all of the patients, (they were all HIV/AIDS positive) and I would write it in a notebook. Then we had to take all 45 plus charts they had and then putting that information in a notebook as well. That many charts and a cramped hand later we then helped Patricia get things moving a bit faster with testing hemoglobin levels. We made an assembly line that consisted of me pricking the finger and getting a nice dollop of blood, Patricia put it on the paper and compared it to the book, and Kate wrote the results in the chart. It felt good to feel like such a help. Even the patients were saying it was moving much faster. We stayed about an extra 20 minutes to help finish and made out way to lunch. During lunch we told Edward that the bee problem still was not fixed, but we told the carpenter we would pay if he did. Edward gave us the news saying he did fix it! We were then ecstatic yet again. After lunch we went to go look at his work and there were no bees! This was by far my favorite most accomplishing day here, so far.

In the morning Hope went to construction looking like a thug with the speakers around her neck. When she got back she wanted to “put her hands in a bucket of lotion and not take them out.” She then went to the school and had some friendly visits with Carrie at the construction time.

In the morning Carrie went to the school and got to enjoy an extra long tea time and yes, Hope joined her for that to. She then helped Moses with construction and wheeled the wheelbarrow up to the house. During the afternoon a vendor came by the house and Kate and I bought some cloth paintings and postcards. Kate, Carrie and I then went on a beautiful walk and picked flowers to press to put in the postcards to send back home. Then we had supper and went to bed looking forward to sleeping in until 9:00 am!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3, 2010

Quote of the day: “Love is the answer at least to most of the questions of my heart, why are we here, where do we go and how come it’s so hard? It’s not always east and life can sometimes be deceiving; I’ll tell you one thing it’s always better when we’re together”
-Jack Johnson

Well this was my last full day in Pommern. This morning Kate and I went to the clinic and performed some major mopping of the clinic. The rest of the morning was otherwise pretty uneventful. Meghan and Hope went to help Moses with the construction of the kitchen of the secondary school but Moses was not there. They both went to the primary school and the kids seemed to be able to get an extended recess with the two of them. Carrie went to the school and had a Swahili lesson with the kids. We met for lunch, it was awesome; we had what I would describe as potato fritter balls and they were delicious. Meghan went straight to take a nap and was to be awaken for the afternoon work. Carrie, Kate and I went to the primary school and each took a group of students. I won’t lie, it was difficult at first and went to my teammates for help. Once duck duck goose was played everyone had fun. Hope went to the secondary school to keep typing up exams. We returned at 4:15 to find Meghan awake from her nap. I had forgotten to awaken her and she had slept through the afternoon activities! Oh well, I think she needed it. Kate, Carrie and I walked to the catholic mission them returned for another delicious meal. Since it was my last night we all took turns talking. I felt embarrassed somewhat. Later we went to the pub fir a beer then stood outside in awe of the sky. I have never seen so many stars before. I though there were many where I lived but this African sky is different. I wish my teammates a wonderful week and know all of our goals will by met and lives changes. It is a bittersweet goodbye!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June 2, 2010

Quote of the day: “God does not require that we succeed. God only asks that we serve.”

Today some of us (including me!) woke up feeling tired and sluggish. But, we headed off to our respective duties for the day and by 4pm we all came back to the house seemingly more energetic than when we had left in the morning. My day consisted of an impromptu Kiswahili lesson outside the library… I was suppose to help type up math problems but there was no power so I just went to the library and sat in the sun. Before I knew it, at least 3 students (and one teacher) were around and I pulled out my notebook and they gave me a lesson. I in turn coached them in English. It was a blast… I think its my favorite thing to do in Pommern. The girls in the clinic witnessed 3 teeth extractions and apparently it was a wild thing to watch. Though Novocain was used and the patients (all children) didn’t cry, it sounds like something us westerners haven’t had to experience.

At 4:30 we played volleyball against a few teachers and many students. There were no women on the other team, all men. Meanwhile, our team of mostly woman (and Edward!) played out hearts out, talked some trash and eventually lost. A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jun 1, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Carpe diem, seize the day - boys make your lives extraordinary!” – Robin Williams from Dead Poet’s Society

Today our day started out like most others. Me and Sherri headed for construction while Kate and Megan went to the clinic and Carrie to the school. Mohammad and Edward left for Iringa Town for some shopping and left us all alone. After lunch we split up once more… thus Meghan and Carrie to the construction site and Kate and Sherri to the clinic and I to the school. Apparently we had little work to do because by 3:30 we were all at the construction site.

At 4:00 ish we headed back to the mission house to get ready to watch the HeHe dancers. Mama Tony led us to the area where we were to watch the dancers. We were greeted once again by the wide smiles of the children and their ample amount of energy. After a little bit of confusion we found the dancers and watched in amazement as they performed their routine.

At night we were joined for dinner with many surprise guests as well as the return of Edward who apparently experienced a flat tire. The night ended early with all of us heading up to bed and this time Meghan and Kate hoped to be woken up with the news of a mother giving birth.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Quote of the Day: “One tribe. One time. One planet. One Race” - The Black Eyed Peas

Today was the first day we got to work on the construction of the new school kitchen. Hope and Sherri worked on that project while Carrie taught at the school and Meghan and I went back to the clinic. The morning was rather uneventful and slow until a man who was in a motorcycle accident needed sutures. After a delicious lunch where we finally got to try ugali we switched our projects. Sherri and Meghan went to the clinic, Hope to the school, and Carrie and I went to the construction site. We carried bricks for Moses and mixed more cement. It was very dirty work, but fun. Then, Edward invited us to his house to meet his “human beings”. We were greeted with tea and many delicious snacks. We returned to the house where we sat on the porch until dinner while Carrie and Sherri went on a quick walk. After dinner, Revered Harrison talked with us about the role of a Hehe man. During, we enjoyed Mama Tony’s delicious, salty popcorn.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010

Quote of the Day: “It’s better to travel light, without sadness, anger, or fear. Without jealousy, judgement, or spite.” - The Book of the Shepherd by the The Scribe.

Today we got to sleep in to 9 am. Even though some our internal clocks were right on time to volunteer, we all enjoyed relaxing and making our way to breakfast. After eating we got into the LandRover and stopped in Iringa to use the internet and buy more bags and gifts for people back home. We then had yet another spine crushing ride home that Kate and I enjoyed in the back seat. Only after a few minutes back home we were greeted with very energetic (to say the least) kids. By the time I got outside, Hope was chillin’ on the stairs with her personal translator, and Kate was getting beautiful braids in her hair by about 6 different kids. I just sat on the ground showing pictures from my camera. Oh yeah, and this is after filling my memory card with the kids taking pictures of each other. Kate will have some 200 fond memories of those 10 minutes. The madames went on a leisure walk in the fire-lit sky with the sun setting past the horizon. We then had a wonderful supper. If anything happened past then, I wouldn’t know because I was passed out in my bed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

Quote of the Day: “As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are, otherwise you will miss most of your life” – Buddha

We started the morning to another wonderful breakfast and a more wonderful and breathtaking view of the Rift Valley near Ruaha National Park. After breakfast we started our game drive with Alex, our driver and guide. After driving for some time he took the roof down. Meghan and I promptly jumped on to the roof of the LandRover, feet dangling; Kate and Carrie were in front of us sitting on the back of their chairs looking over the roof of the car and quiet Hope sat up front. We saw hippos sunning themselves on little islands jutting out of the river and timid ones popping their heads in and out of the water. There was an abundance of impala and many other like-type animals. We saw a menagerie of giraffes, zebras, and elephants. I’m not sure whether it was the time of year but we were also treated to baby zebras, baboons, giraffes, elephants and impalas. The icing on the cake was watching a male lion resting and cleaning himself and about 6-7 female lions intently watching a hippo eat grass on the river bank. We had a delicious boxed lunch. On the return to Hilltop we were thirsty and out of water. We stopped for refreshments and the mood in the car suddenly changed. We all began chatting and laughing again. It’s amazing what rehydration can do! When we returned, “the girls” went to their lodge, Carrie went into the shower and I promptly bought a bottle of wine and just sat and took in the view – again. We had a wonderful dinner of spiced rice, fried fish, ratatouille and salad. We were all back at our rooms by 10 pm.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – JFK

Today we had a half-day of volunteering. I taught a class on the environmental effects of rapidly growing populations and learned that Tanzanians are encouraged to have no more than 2 children. Meanwhile Hope continued to help Prosper in the biochem lab, and Sherri, Kate, and Meghan went to the clinic where they witnessed a man dying of AID and sarcomas. His family had to carry him into the clinic. We then had a quick lunch and went to the market. No one bought anything but we saw lots of things being sold: food (fresh and cooked), winter jackets (even though it’s not cold to us!), shoes, combs, congas, underwear, t-shirts, etc. There weren’t too many crafts (if at all other than the congas). By the time we got back from the market, our jeep for the safari was at the house, so we left for our weekend adventure at Ruaha Nat’l Park! The drive was about 4 hrs and we stopped in Iringa (or “Iringa Town” as everyone says) to pee. We got to the Hilltop Lodge at about 5 pm and just gasped in awe. It was stunning. I think it exceeded everyone’s expectations. The views were just incredible, particularly with the setting sun. And we were treated to lovely rooms with big beds, pillows, showers, towels and soap. I felt spoiled – it was awesome. And dinner was delicious…we just couldn’t get over the peanut soup! It was fun to see another part of Tanzania and be welcomed by the same hospitality. We retired early and awaited our safari the next day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Hold your head high, don’t ever let them define the light in your eyes. Love yourself, give ‘em hell, you can take on this world, you just stand and be strong and fight like girl” – Bombshel

Today was the first real day of work. Orientation and training was over and we were finally on our own. Again the nurses (Sherri, Megan and Kate) went to the clinic while me and Carrie made our way to school. After the morning routine we met back at the mission house for lunch and to go over the English exam we were to go over with some form IV students. After we figured out the key we headed down to the school to make photocopies of the test…or not. Before meeting with the students we went to the headmaster Shadrack’s home, which was built for him with the help of Global Volunteers. There we met his wife Rose and 10 month old daughter Gladness. After a short chat with the headmaster’s family and a short discussion of the American English lesson plan, we broke up into groups and talked with the students. They pretty much breezed through the test and we moved on to question and answer time. Again the students were filled with curiosity and asked many questions regarding pop culture, politics, current events, as well as our opinion about their own country.

After devouring the pizza prepared by Mama Tony, we had a short info session about disciplinary actions by Haran. They say you learn something new everyday but here we seem to learn something every minute and yet my head doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode quite yet. After Haran and Edward had completed the agenda for the night we made our way to the local pub and tried some Tanzanian beer. We sat around for a couple of hours, relaxed a bit and got to know each other on a whole nother level. The night ended with a brisk walk home to relieve our bladders.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.” – Mohammed Ali

Our day started after breakfast when Hope and Carrie went to the school while Meghan, Sherri, and I went to the clinic. We started by unloading all of our donations and they were very grateful. Then Dr. Godlove showed up and took us to see the patients in the wards which included a baby with pneumonia, a woman with asthma, a woman who was in a bike accident, and a man who appeared to have AIDS. Then the four of us went to Dr. Godlove’s office where Sherri had the important job of ringing in the next patient, Meghan took vitals, and I copied the records in the log book. He was very quick with diagnosing, but always took our inputs into consideration. We saw many interesting things like a woman getting her dressings changed on her C-Section and we almost got to see a tooth extraction. No worries though, they say we will see plenty in our time here. After another delicious lunch we went to the school to talk to the students. We all had our separate groups where we talked about many things such as AIDS/HIV, poverty, and marriage. It was a lot of fun and we ended up staying long past the time we were supposed to leave. We are all looking forward to another exciting day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” – The Beatles

Today we started out by having breakfast at 8:00 AM, followed by a group cementing activity. We made goals which included the topics of learning, helping, and growing. We also made characteristics such as accepting, open minded, fun, and adventurous. After the activity, we visited Shadrock’s (AKA Big Potato) office and talked more about the students schedule. We also met Herran, the Vice Headmaster of the school. Then we had tea and doughnuts (which were better than the ones in the US) with the teachers to communicate each others thoughts. The Headmistress, Spara, then took us on a tour of the school. We got to see the classrooms, computer lab, dorms, library, and kitchen. Even though there were not enough books, computers, or even electricity to run the computers, spirits were still high and all the students and teachers were very welcoming.

After the tour of the school, we got to see the clinic with Dr. Godlove. I am not sure what I expected the amenities to be, but I was in shock. There were not enough rooms to keep the sick, medicine, or helping hands. Sooner than later, it was lunch time. No surprise, it was wonderful as all the meals are. We then had Swahili lessons with driver, helper, and Professor Mohammed. We took notes and learned a lot. We then applied it when we went on a walk with leader, electrician, plumber, and fellow volunteer, Ben. We would say “Kamwene” to every person we saw and were trying to have a conversation with a group of about 10 kids, which went as well as I thought it would. We visited the local government office to sign ink, but no one was to be found. Later we learned they were enjoying themselves in Tanzanian time, having hard drinks. When we got back to the house, we got out the soccer ball and jump ropes and headed outside to eventually be greeted by many kids who came and kicked the ball around and to jump rope. I think we all soon realized that they could dominate us with both activities as we sat on the stairs and grass gasping for air (due to the altitude and jet lag).

After a long time playing with the kids, we had supper. We had beans, rice, avocado, greens, and bananas. It was referred to as the best meal since we have been here to some of us. As the day was coming to an end, Edward gave us our assignments and time schedule. Everyone is now in bed, eagerly awaiting for tea at 7:30 and to start a new day here in Pommerin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Quote of the day: “It is easy to take a person out of the bush, but not the bush out of the person” – Fratz Fanon

After a somewhat noisy night, Day 2 began again with a group breakfast. Already we are getting more comfortable with one another; Edward is the catalyst for this for he is warm and welcoming. We met Pastor Donald and Mr. Shadrack, the schoolmaster of the secondary school in Pommern, who was to accompany us to Pommern. After breakfast we headed to the headquarters of the Lutheran diocese, where we met Mr. Namon Challa, the secretary director of the diocese. In his office we learned a lot about the people, especially the women and culture of Tanzania, the prevalence of AIDS and how the statistics are doubled in Iringa. We also had an open discussion about sex education and factors that led up to these staggering statistics. If all governments could do the same! He was an interesting man and I could have listed to him longer.

In town after much confusion, we booked a safari. That God for Mohommad and Ben! We exchanged and withdrew money with their help also. We all met at LuLu’s for lunch. We went to use the internet café but the power was out and we were unable to use the computers. We walked thru the market then went to the pharmacy and bought medicine and supplies for the dispensary. Again we were grateful for Ben. It seems to be a theme here. We finally left for Pommern at around 4 pm. As we drove southeast, the terrain again changed. The trees bigger, the red clay ground against a sky so blue and big, and the air so sweet – or was that Hope’s lip gloss? I see why our leader Edward loves the place he calls home. We were greeted by some of the girls of the school in song and dance. Megan led us by joining in and dancing. Again a truly warm welcome. It must be the Tanzanian way! I think I speak for the group in saying that we are eager to start.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

Quote of the day: “All can be done; try your part” – Nelson Mandela

Today our journey began! Things began with a team breakfast half-way through, I personally felt like we really were “one”, as Edward keeps emphasizing. It was exciting to think that we barely knew each other, but after a couple of weeks we would have so much in common and surely be friends. We were a little late getting on the road, but even after a detour to get a piece of lost luggage at the airport (hooray for Sherri!), we made it to Iringa just fine. Along the way we were treated to an impromptu safari with sightings of impala, zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, and baboons. We also sadly saw at least 6 bad car accidents…one of them was a turned over pepsi truck and several people were amongst the glass cleaning up. But here we are in Irgina and the accommodations are wonderful once again, and we just got fed a delicious meal. Alright – must wrap up….can’t wait for Day 2.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Education is Fundamental to Development

(Bishop Dr. Owdenberg Mdgella has been Global Volunteers' Tanzania Host Representative since 1986.)

A lot has been done through Global Volunteers in Tanzania. It would take one hour to describe because the things are too big for a short blog post.

Tanzania a long-standing host of Global Volunteers and I am glad to be part of the 25 years of genuine development assistance. I reflection on one of the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs): education. You cannot believe today how many have students have achieved a lot from the teaching through Global Volunteers. There are five lecturers at the university and five magistrates. Education is the key. If you want to get out of poverty you must get an education.

Global Volunteers exposed me as well as the villagers to Americans. Out of that relationship we have taught 2870 university students in less than 17 years. Some of these students are now working in government because there is a rippling effect. There is a storm in the sea and so many waves come from here. People don’t want to give credit to who started the program. It was Bud Philbrook who wanted to make as many Americans as possible know about the world and as many people here know about Americans. Americans are not members of the CIA. These are wrong prejudices. This misperception has been highly corrected. Because of this exposure, you can no longer count on your fingers the 2000 to 3000 volunteers. So when you think of the Millennium Development Goals remember the Americans also brought an interest in tourism to this country and that was good for us too.

Yes, it is good for Americans to know the world and for people of the world to know Americans.

Global Volunteers works with the vulnerable and people at risk helping them to determine their future and their present. They have been working at dispenseries teaching people from a book called “Where there is no Doctor.” Now there are three villages that have pharmacies where there is no doctor but those who work there are now called doctors. When Global Volunteers came they spent a time and little by little you feel and it is fitting.

Global Volunteers has sent people to plant trees and work at health centers. The Ipalamwa road that used to take 12 hours to transport has been improved by the local government and now takes just two hours -- this is the catalyst effect of Global Volunteers. A catalyst effect so even the questions you are discussing and even those criticizing the local government -- a lot of them say it is a learning scenario to know there are people in the world who survive in a site so different as that. It can never be measured what we can achieve together.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Final Day Jan. 21st, 2010

If you take “the beauty out of your face,” push your nose at just right angle, and shoot air up into your brain, you can successfully say NG’URUHE.

Red dirt – it’s everywhere. On our shoes, covering our socks, dying our white shirts and promisingly stuffed in every corner of our luggage. Despite the anger it had given us, we can only hope that we are able to take a small piece of it home with us.

Red dirt – that has been our home for the past three weeks. We have walked countless miles around the village and on that red dirt we practiced our Kihehe and Kiswahili terms. On that red dirt we saw the smiling faces of mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the crying faces of babies who couldn’t handle the paleness of our skin. On the red dirt we came together with locals through playing soccer, reconstructing/building a house, fetching water, spreading grass seed, hiking to waterfalls, and dancing while watching stars. The same red dirt has come into our house and around the table where we shared countless hours of laughter, insightful conversation, cultural learning, candlelit eating, and competitive card playing. Here, we became family.

That same red dirt was carried upstairs where we spent each night writing in journals, reading or discussing the future, boys and bodily functions. Each night like a small girl’s sleepover with rolling laughter as new inside jokes were created.

As we leave the red dirt, I know that each of us will take part of it with us wherever we go. The world will look different as we have seen a new culture and way of life. Forever we will reflect on the endless memories we’ve created – Mohammed doing the tembo, Edward’s “HUGE” and “human being” phrases, the re-construction of windows, learning to follow African time, watching Marcia do “head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” cold showers, rice and beans, Mama Toni’s smile, Jennie’s birthday, Ben’s trip to Kenya, the young girls’ safari adventure (interrupted by the German), Greg’s daily interactions with Alfred, Sam’s fiancée, and the inability for Danielle and Kayli to respond to e-mails.

As we end this journey, I want to say a little thank you to each of you. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been to have my experience enriched by you – how wonderful all this has been.

Sam: From day 1 you have been a person of passion, devotion, and desire. I know your hard work will pay off so much in the future. You are going to do amazing things. I am so amazed at your braveness in coming here – especially on your first adventure out of the states. Thanks for all the nights of laughter – you are always willing to try a new adventure!

Jennie: I am so excited you live in Portland – we can re-live this experience often! You always surprise me with your vast amount of knowledge – you are brilliant! I am so going to miss your “my bed is spooning me” comments. I hope you know we will be spending lots of time together in the future!

Danielle: I could not have done this without you. Thanks so much for letting me barge in on your adventure. It’s been fantastic to have you as my emotional support – truly to laugh, cry, question, talk, and relax with. I am so thankful we could so this together.Greg: We secretly all needed a male figure like you on this trip! You have been such a strong support for all of us. Your kind heart and passion for tohers has shown us all a new look into the Tanzanian community. Thank you for always looking out for us and taking us on as your own. I promise to respond to your next e-mail and truly hope we stay in touch!

Marcia: Where do I even start? You have added something special to each of our days. Starting with our morning kisses to late-evening chats, you have been a rock to our group. Thanks so much for your kind and generous heart and for pouring your love on us.

Mohammed: You have given us the gift of safety and LAUGHTER! Yes, your driving was superb but I will truly miss having you around my meal table. You have such an intelligent mind, and an abundance of wonderful stories. You have shed so much kindness on each of us making us feel comfortable. Thanks for all you do.

Ben: You are a blessing to all of us. Being a fellow mzungu but having such a depth of knowledge on Pommern made us more comfortable here. We are so thankful to have you here. I wish you the best of luck on the rest of your time here and in your future. Thanks for being a big brother and watching out for us.

Edward: You are a master country manager for Global Volunteers! Not only have you shown us Tanzanian life by allowing us to interact with locals and by communicating with us, but you have shed an immense amount of love on each of us. Your sense of humor has brightened each of our days. We appreciate all you organization (even if it didn’t always go as planned) and your desire to let us help you. We will never forget you and the things you have taught us. We are so incredibly thankful for you – thanks a million for ALL you have done even during this crazy time in your life. We wish you the best of luck with your upcoming teams.

Much love to each of you! Team 139 you will truly be missed! See you ALL again soon!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan. 20th, 2010

The first thing I remember from this morning is Nutella. We knew is was going to be a great last day in Pommern. Like usual, we started off the day laughing and smiling. After breakfast we all posed for a family portrait in front of our home.

Kayli and Danielle went off to play and photograph the kindergarteners. Marcia passed out personalized cards to each of her form I students, which I’m sure they will cherish. How could they ever forget Mama Marcia? Greg finished painting the windows of the house! Bravo! Sam and I went to the clinic in the morning and for the first time I got to see lots of patients! Patricia was with us for most of the time, so we actually got lots done and in an orderly manner at that. We all had tea together at the secondary school and then shuffled our work assignments. Kayli and Sam went to teach English at the primary school. Kayli did an elegant solo performance of the Hokey Pokey. Danielle and I went back to the clinic. We were lucky to see an 80 year old woman, which is much older than the average life expectancy.

At lunch we were greeted by enthusiastic…rain. We took this opportunity to start getting packed up. When the weather cleared (no rainbow though) we all went down to visit Mama Kinte to wish her well and thank her for lending us her husband. We really enjoyed seeing his human beings and his little simba. After that the young folk headed over to the playing field. We felt awkward at first being the only wazungu and not being very athletic. After we wandered around for a while we found our friends Dennis and Hakim from yesterday. Kayli and Danielle cheered on Ben as he ‘dominated’ the volleyball court. Sam and I were invited by the sweetest girls to play netball, which we were not great at but we had a lot of fun!

At 5:30 mzungu time we had a celebration and dinner with all the teachers from the secondary school. We each got the opportunity to express our thanks to everyone (or we tried at least) and Patrick consoled me by telling me I don’t need to worry about: not being married, not being huge, not being able to find a husband because I’m vegetarian, and not being able to pronounce ‘ng’uruhe’. But really, he is a very dear man. Sam may or may not have gotten engaged and Ben and Patricia may or may not be heading in the right direction…

We had a bumpin’ time with Patricia and Evodia when we went to go check on Mrs. Mgeni. We danced and learned how to shake it African style – another woman out fetching water even came and joined us! We are now set with Hehe greetings and handshakes for when we meet again.

We spent our last night bonding around the dining room table – singing, playing cards, and reminiscing about childhood. I will really miss all our times like this together! Looking forward to our long car rides to come…


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jan 19th, 2010

“After the verb “to love,” “to help” is the most beautiful verb in the world” –Bertha von Suttner

Happy day 17! We were served a feast this morning from the kitchen of master chef Mama Toni! Donuts, French toast, ugi and bananas graced the breakfast table. Greg spent the day at the Headmasters house – the windows now look awesome! The painting and most of the window pane installation is complete. Jennie, Marcia and I went to the kindergarten in the morning. After endless games of London Bridge, handclapping games and “attack the mzungu” (a popular game among all African children under the age of seven), we were more than ready for porridge time. Kindergarteners have so much energy! We were very impressed with the teachers unlimited energy and patience.

Marcia taught a bible studies class on the story of Sampson and Dahlia. She regaled us with tales of the resulting class discussion during lunch. Hopefully she set one form V boy student straight that not all women are deceitful like Dahlia and Eve J

Kayli and Danielle drove with Neema to Kitowa for a mother and baby clinic. Highlights included:
- teaching Neema how to dance ‘mzungu’ style.
- Giving polio, MMR, DTP shots and vitamin A pills
- Talking about family planning with the patients

They later spent the afternoon in the clinic with Dr. Godlove.

Jennie and I ventured to the primary school to teach a short English lesson on “why” and “because” to standard 5. The students were so welcoming and brought us chairs – so thoughtful! We went to the secondary school looking for work in the afternoon. We typed up several letters in Kiswahili for Shadrack with the assistance of Dennis and another student. We then spent the next couple of hours in conversation with Dennis (a form V student) and Hakim (the Kiswahili and civics teacher). The conversation was certainly enlightening and entertaining to say the least. We were impressed with Dennis’ knowledge of American pop culture and both Dennis and Hakims progressive anti-wife beating views. We learned many things about life as a Tanzanian student. Dating amongst the students is strictly prohibited as the students are supposed to focus solely on their studies. We also advised the boys not to refer to a mzungu woman as “huge” or “wide and good” as weight is a touchy subject among us wazungus. We are confident our Tanzanian acquaintances now have all the necessary skills and knowledge of American social customs to successfully date a mzungu woman.

Marcia and Greg spent the evening at Mr. and Mrs. Songas’ house. They enjoyed a lovely supper and watched a video on their son’s wedding under the light from solar panels. Mr. and Mrs. Songa were excellent examples of Tanzanian hospitality as they warmly welcomed mama and baba into their beautiful home.

We are looking forward to tomorrow but as it will be our last full day we are beginning to realize how much we will miss this place, its people and our time here.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Jan. 18th 2010

“We cannot all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”

How sweet it was to have our team complete at breakfast!

Today was filled with sunshine and blue sky from sunup to sundown. Sitting in the sun in front of the mission house warmed us physically and emotionally.

The clinic was especially busy today because of the mother and children well baby weigh-ins and immunizations. Jennie and Marcia helped record the weight of the little ones on special cards that were used at birth. The cards are brought in as data is collected. Danielle, Kayli and Sam worked in the clinic and were kept busy with tooth extractions, routine ailments and immunizations.

Marcia taught with Jennie and Sam in the morning as the form I students tackled verb tenses along with practice introductions and a bit of singing.

Greg made fine progress at the house as the painting around the windows commenced. Jennie and Sam also had a hand at some painting… they were everywhere today!

Ben returned to Pommern safe and sound with a new visa from Kenya in his possession. What fun it was to hear his story of travel over the past few days.

Mohammed also returned from Iringa after obtaining the credentials for a new bank account for the program.

Madam Sanga came to speak with us at 5:00 concerning the role of women in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was most gracious in explaining the traditional and modern ways of the Tanzanian family structure.

A walk rounded off the night.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan. 17th, 2010

Another Perkins breakfast, then off to church. There are visitors from Tumaini University in Iringa, a Finnish Minister and his wife and an African minister. There is to be a power point but there are electrical problems in spite of Mohammeds best effort. The time is filled with extra singing and dancing. The youth choir does 2 numbers with some dancing. The students from secondary school continue in their excellent leadership of services. When they realize the electricity won’t work they decide to do a vocal explanation of the Holy Land. The Finnish minister speaks in English while Pastor Bennet interprets. Shortly thereafter the electrical problem is resolved and we get the power point after all. After the service there is an auction of many items. The most impressive being a huge bunch of bananas. After church we return to the house to wait for the safari humans.

When they return we are all happy to be together again. They had a most wonderful time. We looked at pictures and heard stories. Sounds like it was well worth it.

Marcia and Greg visited Jenro’s home, where Marcia was given the honor of holding 3 week old Mary. Jenro and Tupenda have 5 children, the oldest is at Dar at a university. There was also three or four orphans and Tupendas mother living there. They have goats and pigs and there are many pots of flowers around the yard.

We return to the house for a presentation by Barnabus, ward education director, on the education system. We have a wonderful conversation about differences of the two systems. We also talk about other aspects of American life.

Barnabus joins us for supper that includes the chicken that Kayli and Danielle hilariously chased around the yard.

As this will be my last entry, I want to note how thankful I am for the work of Edward, Mohammed, Mama Toni and Ben. You are all special people. To the women on the team, including Mama Mark, it has been great getting to know you. You are very special human beings and you have shown great compassion. It is my hope that you all have a most wonderful life.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan. 16th, 2010

We slept in and Mama Toni cooks special breakfast – bacon, sausage, toast, eggs and waffles minus the bacon, sausage and waffles. Marcia also has porridge. After we we ate we go to the school and attend religious graduation ceremonies. It appears to be something like a baccalaureate. There is a Catholic mass, Lutheran and Pentecostal services and a Muslim service. There is a lot of singing and dancing, with music from tapes/cds and a funky keyboard. We like the acapella best, but it is all good. We are recognized at the Lutheran and Pentecostal and asked to say a few words, so we congratulate them on their work and wish them the best in the future. Marcia encourages them to use their talents by serving God and the people.

There are many people who recognize “Miss Marcia” and want to talk. It is a very delightful experience. We did not stay for the whole day as it was quite warm. We returned to the home for a nap (Greg) and reading (Marcia).

Edward and Mohammed went to Iringa today to set up a bank account. As we were gone, Mama Toni went to spend some time at home. She returned shortly after 5:00 to start supper. Mohammed returned a short time earlier and reported that they had done 95% of the work to open the account and all they need are their cards.

Today has been very quiet in the community. Much less coming and going than on weekdays.

As this day comes to an end, Marcia and I are hopeful that our other teammembers are having a spectacular time.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan. 15th, 2010

Today will be a short day as the girls will be gone on safari. Marcia, Danielle and Kayli did an English lesson at standard I. The teacher was a sweet heart, but she used a switch to control the class of about 40. Moses was one of the students.

After lunch we waited for the safari vehicle, which arrived at 2:15 with Edward. Mohammed noticed the front left tire/wheel had only two lugnuts. So Alex, the driver, took one bolt from each rear tire and they were on their way with 4 bolts on 3 wheels and 5 on the other. The girls were quite excited as we took pictures around the van, and gave final instructions!

After cleaning up, Edward took Marcia and Greg on a walking tour of Pommern. We got off the main road and met some friends. We stopped and sat at one home, and we talked to many people. Several people approached Edward to talk, and it seems that his advice and support are sought after. It is obvious that he is a respected elder in the community. We visited the Catholic sewing center and the book store.

Tried several times today to send a text but with no success. Hopefully this weekend, but if not Thursday from Iringa.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 14th, 2010

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive!”

As I’m sitting down to record today’s events, I am realizing that our time here in Tanzania will be coming to an end a week from today. It seems like 2/3 of our trip has just melted away and I pray that the remaining days we have here will be spent in learning and giving more of ourselves.

After a breakfast of the usual porridge, bananas and toast (where Greg opened up the 2nd jar of Jiff peanut butter – truly a momentous occasion J), we headed to our assignments. Marcia, Kayli and Danielle headed to the primary school where they taught a standard 7 class the phrase “enough too.” Jennie and I ventured down to the secondary school and participated in Haran’s history lesson to form II. Greg once again labored on the headmasters house, installing and plastering around the windows.

It was truly a privilege to sit in Haran’s class. He is an excellent teacher and involves the whole class in the lesson – something that is very rare in the teaching style here. Jennie and I frantically prepare an English lesson on articles (a, an, and the) which we quickly realized was very challenging. We were very impressed when one student, Joseph, asked us why it is “an hour” not “a hour.” Ahh! He caught the teachers a little unprepared but Jennie valiantly attempted to explain the intricacies of phonetics. We are all truly impressed with the form II students – they seem lightyears ahead of form I.

After the requisite tea in the teachers lounge, Marcia, Kayli and Danielle taught a form I class. Lunch was my favorite – chips mayai with salad! Jennie and I then made our way to the Roman Catholic Church to use the internet and make a few copies for our lesson tomorrow on reading comprehension. After being held hostage for 15 minutes in a very odiferous choo – I was unable to open the door from the inside – I once again joined the land of the living. I don’t think this will be an experience I will soon forget.

We all relaxed on the porch which seems to be a common occurrence here – those lazy mzungus! We devoured Mama Toni’s dinner on rottini noodles with all the fixing, plantains, veggie soup and popcorn! (Truly sorry you are not here with us Ben). Haran joined us to give a brief presentation of Tanzanian history. Tanzania is comprised of 122 different tribes. Takagana (sp) was under German and then English rule until its independence in 1962. Today there are 13 political parties but only one has significant power and as Haran informed us, is corrupt. Hopefully Tanzania will continue to make strides towards peace and self-reliance in the years to come.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan 12th, 2010

“The Traveler is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep.” – Margaret Mead

Today was a success. I showered. Writing the journal for today is quite a challenge with the family scattered around Tanzania, but I will do my best to recount our bust day.

We made Mama Toni prepare us an early breakfast so those traveling – Edward, Mohammed, Greg, Marcia, and Ben – could get out on the road. The single ladies stayed behind, and somehow we managed to get a lot done without our friends. We said goodbye (for now) to Ben and are hoping his journey to Kenya goes well! (we worry – hope this makes you smile when you’re typing this up). Then us four remaining mzungus went off to work.

Danielle and Kayli went to the clinic where they made sure that a young girl getting 3 teeth extracted will never go to the doctor again (we heard her screams on our way to school, poor thing!). Sam and I went to the headmaster’s house to work with Bryson the Mason. We had several visitors to the house who all commented on “how hard we were working.” We are professionals now at standing around.

Mealwise, our day was full of treats! Pancakes for breakfast, chapattis for lunch, then snickers from Mama Marcia after dinner! Lunch was brief because we were lonely, but luckily lots of children came over to play soccer and look at the pictures in my book about climate change – they had lots to say about the pictures of trains, planes, skyscrapers, and machinery. Too bad we have no idea what they were saying.

In the afternoon Kayli and Danielle worked late at the clinic (as did Dr. Godlove) and our mason had to take off somewhere so Sam and I went to Shadrack’s office in search of work. We chatted in his office for a while waiting for a student to walk a mile and back to fetch keys to the computer room. Then we typed up the graduation invitation and some other forms – in Kiswahili – and we felt really useful with computers compared to construction. Then Sam challenged me to get out of my comfort zone – which I was very reluctant to do – and join in on the groups of students practicing songs for graduation. The boys were all very welcoming but the girls have not warmed up to us yet. A funny moment was when an older boy requested that we step outside so we could solve something that was puzzling him – turns out someone had given him playdough (presumably some crazy mzungu) and he was wondering what in the world this mushy stuff in a plastic can could be used for. We were sorry to disappoint him went we told him that it was just a small toy for children. And then we made a playdough person to demonstrate.

We got back late in the afternoon to the mission house where we sat and had a few laughs on the porch. Then we were so surprised and happy to have the rest of our human beings return from Iringa! We missed them so much, but it sounds like they had a good day in town. Marcia bought some fabrics with racy sayings on them (just kidding) and Mohammed brought us Pringles which were devoured like hippos eating humans. After dinner Dr. Godlove stopped by for a chat, then we sort of showered (4 girls in 1 bathroom) and now the generator’s off so it’s time for bed. As always, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and am so happy to be here!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan. 11th, 2010

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

Though many days here in Pommern have been eye-opening, heart-wrenching and emotional, today was the most intense so far for me. The day began with the news at the clinic that one of the women we had been checking on for the last week passed away this morning. Sam, Kayli and I observed the preparation of the body for removal to her home village, which was indescribable. I had been forewarned that emotions are not displayed the same way as they are in the United States and that was absolutely apparent today. Many family members weren’t openly emotional until they were driving away in the trailer with the body and began to wail. This was the most heart-breaking part of the process to watch and hear. This experience was a real display of the cultural and medical differences between here and back home.

Sam and I spent the rest of the morning seeing patients, including quite a few VERY pregnant women, while Kayli joined Jennie, Greg and Ben down at the headmaster’s house. It sounds like the framing of the new kitchen door has been going well and the camaraderie with some of the local workers and neighbors for tea has been wonderful. Marcia got to teach a class on directions and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video of the students singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes.”

Lunch was the great chips and eggs and we yet again welcomed some afternoon rain despite Edward’s morning sunshine predictions. But once the rain stopped and the threat of jiggers was over, Edward took Ben and us girls down to the public primary school, where we met the head teacher and second teacher and thoroughly embarrassed Toni in front of his friends. Starting Wednesday (because tomorrow is Zanzibar Revolution Day), a couple of us will be helping out in the primary school classrooms each day.

The girls then ventured to the Roman Catholic Internet, which was unfortunately down again (hopefully Wednesday) and then to a pub for our first Safari Lager! Negotiating prices was a challenge as the shopkeeper didn’t speak any English and our “translator” was not doing the greatest job, but we enjoyed our time, including meeting an adorable 9-year old, Joshua. Marcia and Greg took a walk around town and we all played with some local girls before dinner, including a rousing performance of “YMCA” including arm gestures. I think they thought we were a little crazy, but it definitely made them laugh and smile, which is worth losing a little of out dignity.

Dinner was an amazing pizza-like creation by Mama Toni and we were graced by the presence of Pommern Secondary School headmaster, Shadrach, who explained the Tanzanian 7-4-2-3 school system in a little more depth.

Though today was a hard day and not one I will soon, or ever, forget, it has made all the difference to have my amazing team members by my side, whether to talk and listen or just for a much-needed bear hug!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jan. 10th, 2010

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” –author unknown.

We awoke to blue sky and the promise of new experiences in Pommern.

After breakfast, we walk to church and spend one and one half hours praising God. The men are one side and the women are on the other with a few exceptions…like us!

There were students who helped us with some translating. It was amazing to listen to the singing. Usually one leader singing a phrase and the rest of the group following in close harmony. The harmony is in thirds and fun to sing along with even without knowing the words! After the service, all the congregation gather outside for an auction of items that parishioners have brought with proceeds going to the offering. Today a bag of tea, some peas, sweets, and soap were auctioned off.

Haran was at church and it was good to see him. Many teachers and students attended the service. We went to 8:30 service with another one at 10:30.

Before lunch everyone went for a walk in the beautiful weather. After lunch a few clothes got washed then the RAINS came. Rains continued throughout the afternoon so we read, played games, rested and talked smart!

The fire Mama Toni brought us before dinner helped take a bit of dampness out of the air. Good conversation with Edward and Mohammed around the dinner table. How lucky we are to have them as hosts.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan. 9th, 2010

“To serve people is to serve God.”

We start out the day with French bread, bananas and oatmeal. The serving table has been overrun by ants – honey is very good for them. It will be a short day. Danielle and Jennie will stay back to plant trees and flowers with Edward and Mohammed; Sam will go to the clinic with Kayli for Sam’s first visit there; and Greg and Marcia will go to the headmaster’s home to work.

When we arrive at the headmaster’s home, we go to get water and Marcia carries her bucket “like African women.” Theo tests cement and he says it needs to cure more, so no cement today. Instead we will shovel debris from deconstruction, which requires only two, so Theo wheels and Greg shovels. Marcia wanders around the neighborhood making friends with the families who live there.

The remainder of the day was quite relaxed as we read, played cards (Ben and Greg let Danielle win in hopes she would be nice to us, but it didn’t work), visiting and wandering the village. Jennie, Kayli, Danielle and Sam purchased fabrics and baskets.

Lunch consisted of cabbage, spaghetti and a bread (flat) in which we rolled the ingredients, and mangos. The fruit continues to be incredible.

Mama Toni’s mother stopped by, as did Pastor Saga (twice). We had very nice visits with them. Pastor says there are 1,500 students in Iringa district supported by Lutheran Churches in the US – many from the St. Paul, MN diocese.

There were many children around today playing soccer (?) with Ben and visiting with everyone.

Edward reported that Anhela is getting stronger and is eating and moving about. We are all happy for that.

Supper included corn and greens from Edward’s garden, pasta with cheese and mush potatoes.

At 7:30 the young crew (college folk and Ben) headed to the school for the “Jesus disco,” while Marcia and Greg tended the home fires.

As we finish our first week together I am struck by the cohesion that has developed. Positive talk, support and enthusiasm are evident daily. Our adjustment to the African way is going well, as we slow our pace, watch and listen.

Ben, Mama Tony, Mohammed and Edward are true servants as they fulfill their respective roles. I know this is the place that I am supposed to be, and for that I thank God.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Jan. 8th, 2010

Be the change you wish to see.” –Gandhi

Today is day 8 and Jennie’s 20th birthday! We woke up to a beautiful handmade birthday sign for the birthday girl courtesy of Mama Macia. After a breakfast of porridge, bananas and pancakes (!!) we made our way to our projects.

Danielle and Kayli spent the day at the clinic. Some of the highlights include a 5 month pregnant woman whom they examined with a fetal stethoscope. An infected circumcision and many HIV tests made up the rest of the day. They are hoping one of Dr. Godlove’s patients, who is 9 mo. Pregnant will have her baby soon and they may observe the birth.

Mama Marcia began her day before the rest of us by teaching an 8:00 AM class on how to tell time. Marcia clearly has such a passion for teaching and we all admired her creativity in constructing card board clocks for the students to practice with.

Greg, Jennie, Ben and I made our way down to the headmaster’s house. Where we continued our construction. We removed (or ‘deconstructed’ according to one of the teachers) the second window and used the headers as a base for steps.

Theo, a form 5 student, was our constant coworker and supervisor. Our work at the headmaster’s house has been more of a mental and personal challenge for me than a physical one (though I am no without a few bruises and sore muscles!) I am accustomed to a day regimented by tasks and schedules. Success is determined by tangible results. I find myself attempting to apply my work ethics and thoughts of now things should be done on our work here. Thank you to Greg for reminding me that we are not solely here to make a house habitable. Hopefully this lesson learned will force me to take a step back in the future when I encounter something that runs counter to my thoughts and sensibilities and allow me to observe and learn the Tanzanian way.

Edward arrived from Iringa this afternoon and we were glad to greet him and were thankful to hear his wife is improving and is expected to return thome in the next couple of days. With Edward’s return I feel like our family is once again complete. Edward gave us a tour of bamboo juice (the locally brewed alcohol) collection sites and much of the rest of Pommern. We observed and sniffed a sample of the local moonshine in “the disco” and checked out a handful of shops selling cloth, bia (beer), soda and other staples.

After a supper of rise, beans, and beef we celebrated Jennie’s 20th with a delicious cake made by Mama Toni! We have been so impressed with Mama Toni’s culinary talents thus far and she certainly out-did herself tonight with an amazing cake cooked over a charcoal stove!

With Edward’s return to our dinner table, our conversation was once again full of laughter and enlightenment. One of the most interesting insights into Tanzanian culture was through Edward’s explanation of marriage and premarital relations. Expectations and consequences are so different that mainstream US views. I certainly admire the way Tanzanian’s view unplanned pregnancies as a problem and damage to the family rather that sole responsibility of the woman.

After dinner, we drifted away to our books, personal time or arctic showers J. I am looking forward to the experiences and lessons that tomorrow will surely bring.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jan. 7th 2010

“The bravest sight in all the world is someone fighting against the odds.” –Franklin Lane

Today has been a very long day. It’s 8:00 and everyone is calling it quits for the evening…

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, toast, and an egg scramble mix with onions and some other stuff. The conversation was delightful until Greg and Marcia asked Danielle and I if we had received their pre-Africa trip e-mail. Things began to get sour when we lacked a good reason for denying their e-mail. Needless to say,, it was a long day of poking fun!

We all went our separate ways for the day:

Ben, Greg, and Sam headed to the head master’s house for a day of re-construction. Although I was unable to witness their wonderful handiwork each one shared that they “tore down a wall” during their recap of the day. Apparently a window was covered to make way for a bigger window – I saw pictures of a swinging beam and a large hole. Rumor has it there was also talk of masonry, cement-mixing, and kitchen work. This group has spent a long day hauling material. Greg and Ben (along with Marcia) figured it was a day worth celebrating at the pub.

Marcia and Jennie headed to school. For their first bit of time there they learned about Swahili time – something about 12 meaning 7 and the time reflecting the amount of light. Marcia also got to teach a geography lesson where she free hand drew a map of Kenya. Both seemed to enjoy their time there and when Jennie was feeling slightly bored she was sure to make herself useful by hauling sandbags at the headmasters.

Danielle and I spent our day at the clinic. It was incredibly eye-opening and so very different than the US. We were able to sit in the doctors office with Patricia and Dr. Godlove as they saw patients. To avoid giving Greg the willys, I’ll share just a few of the most eye openers for me:

1. The two-day old baby,
2. The AIDS patients in the infirmary
3. The way in which Dr. Godlove checks eyes and ears.
4. Tooth extractions

After our morning work we ate lunch together consisting of potatoes and an ocra stew with noodles. We finished our afternoon work and had free time before dinner.

Jennie, Sam, Danielle, Ben and I played with a group of kiddos out front. Ben took Marcia and Greg to the pub while us girls tried to catch the first clear sunset.

Dinner consisted of Mama Toni’s fantastic guacamole, rice, beans and the world’s best pineapple.
Everyone is now making their way to dinner as we sit under our few hours of generator light.
I know we are all excited for what another day brings!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jan. 6th, 2010

“Don’t be a human doing, be a human being!”

After several hours of contemplation, I finally decided to get out of bed at 7:30. I got myself together just in time for a great breakfast of Mama Toni’s porridge and, to our delight, French toast. Edward returned to us safely, and though we were sorry to hear of a death in the village we were also very grateful to hear the good news of Angela’s, Edward’s wife, improving health. We decided on job assignments and headed off to our first day of work as Global Volunteers.

Kayli and Danielle went to the clinic where they oversaw the store closet being organized and treatment of several patients, including an unexpected 80-year old man. I went with Marcia to the school where we observed an English lesson about the family taught by Mr. Maketa and a math lesson taught by Ms. Msue, who were both newcomers to the school and town just like us. One of the goals we set for ourselves was to reflect on our talents. I have now confirmed that teaching is not mine, but I enjoy very much watching and learning from Marcia and I hope to one day find my calling just as she has with her students. Greg and Sam hoped to do construction work on the headmaster’s house but unfortunately the mason did not arrive. However, they made themselves useful to Rachel in the library sorting past examination papers and then joining Marcia and me in the Form 1 classroom.

After our morning work we met Moses, Samuel, Paulo, and Emanuel, ages 7 and 8, and we loved playing games with them – especially jumping through hoops in the mud. Maybe Tanzanians should look to a future in long-jumping instead of soccer…

Then we had a great lunch of African foods, including the Tanzanian national dish, ugali. Edward made us laugh with talk of baby and bamboo juice factories. After lunch we played cards amongst ourselves while it rained. We gave Ben the victory hoping from his friendship in exchange, but no such luck. Hakuna matata, he will come around eventually. When we began to feel stir crazy and the rain had let up, we played with a soccer ball in front of the house with Freigo (10) and Stefan (6) while mama and baba looked on. Then Ben led the girls on a hike to the waterfalls. Walking through the village we got to practice our greeting, ‘Kamwene,’ and got laughed at a lot. Greg and Marcia also took a walk and visited the pub and heard and saw the bus fly by.

We shared an excellent meal of pasta and guacamole. We shared a lot today in fact and I feel we are getting to know each other very well in a very short time. We are very excited to see what tomorrow brings.

-Jennie G.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jan. 5th, 2010

“Anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college education. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree. All you need is a heart full of hope and a soul generated by love.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today started with the clanging town bells at 5:30 and 6:00 AM, which was actually a great thing because Kayli and I took off for a walk around the village to see the sunrise, which was unsuccessful because of the clouds. But the walk was absolutely amazing. The calmness of the village was something I haven’t taken the time to experience before and greeting people with our new learned KiHehe greeting, “Kamwene.” One of the random things that struck me were how often we encountered lone shoes lying in the middle of the pathways.

We then enjoyed breakfast of oatmeal with bananas and sugar and craisins, courtesy of Marcia. Our first official morning meeting was brought to order by Ben, as Edward had to take his wife to the hospital in Iringa, and all of our thoughts and prayers are with them. We then wrote out some of our skills and interests as well as three goals for the trip, which we categorized and stuck to the wall to remind us daily. We then brainstormed 15 characteristics of an effective team and Mohammed laid out the list of important people in the village.

The rest of the morning was spent touring the village and meeting the people we would be working alongside. First we met Seth, whose wife Sophia, had a baby girl last night in the clinic. We found out that this is his fourth daughter and he would get to bring them home this evening. We went to meet the town chair person, but he wasn’t in, so we headed to the clinic instead. There we met Dr. Godlove and the dentist (whose name I didn’t catch), who so graciously took time out of their busy patient schedule to explain to us the work they have been doing in Pommern. We learned the top 10 diseases, some of the mother and baby services they provide, HIV/AIDS and oral hygiene education, and vaccinations available. One of the things that struck me was that he said that often people walk more than 10 kms to come to the clinic because of the extra services, like the laboratory.

We then headed to Pommern Secondary School to meet the headmaster, Shadrach, who explained the complicated school system to us, which was actually very enlightening. He then brought us to tea in the staff lounge where we were introduced to all the teachers and staff members. Not all spoke English very well, but talking to them about how they got here was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had here so far. We took a short tour to see the computer lab and the headmaster’s house, which will be one of our group’s work projects.

Kayli and I then headed to the clinic to see if we could help out with the CTC, which is the care treatment clinic for those living with HIV and AIDS. The clinic was just finishing up, but we did take a couple of women’s weights. Then it was back to the mission house for a wonderful lunch of eggs and chips prepared by Mama Toni, which is also when we were introduced to Marcia’s hand singing!

We then had a break until 3:00 PM, where we all sat on the porch reading. There were so many sounds around me, including: the roll of thunder in the distance, the sawing and banging of the carpenters next door, the lilting KiSwahili from the patients waiting outside the clinic, the crowing of the roosters, the blowing of the wind through the trees, the sloshing of Mohammed washing his baby (named “Van”), the rattling of passing bikes, the bleating of the lone goat in the field, the ringing of Mama Toni’s cell phone, and her hearty laugh and singing as she struggled to carry some heavy wood to the house. I was surrounded by noise yet once again everything felt peaceful.

3:00 PM was our Kihehe and Kiswahili lesson with professor Mohammed. He was a great teacher, very patient when we asked him to repeat words over and over again and often indulging us with random phrases we wanted to know how to say. We then continued our walk around the village which included seeing the Catholic church, Kayli and Jennie playing soccer with some local boys, Marcia doing some crazy dances with some young children (who just laughed and laughed…), and touring the pub and the bus stop.

The evening was full of Phase 10 in which we practiced our Kiswahili numbers and a delicious chicken dinner, which was saw Mama Toni pluck earlier. We were joined by the headmaster for dinner and were pleasantly surprised when we were brought a small generator for a couple hours power.

Everyone is really looking forward to starting work tomorrow and can’t wait to see what the next three weeks brings!

-Danielle C.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jan 4th, 2010

“One can’t love humanity. One can only love people.” –Graham Greene, submitted by Greg.

The day started with god wars about 2:10 AM, continued on with call to prayer from the mosque at 4:30 AM, and finally with breakfast at the guest house at 8:00.

Ketumbwa (rice buns), crepes, papaya, coffee and tea was enjoyed by all. Danielle feels great as do the rest of us… let the adventure continue! Mama Toni joins us.

We took the van to Bishop Mdegella’s office. After “signing in” he spoke to us about GV’s relationship to the village of Pommern. He is from the Iringa area and has been a bishop for 24 years.

A stop at the bank, safari tour office, and internet café, took up the rest of the morning. Eating at Hasty Tasty Too gave Sam her first experience with curry…yum!

Mama Toni shopped in the morning at the market and we picked her up, loaded the goods on top of the van and headed to Pommern.

The ride was not as bumpy as I had expected. The red earth covers the rocks in the road and turned a bit slick when the rain started. Mohammed is a wonderful driver!

Sights on the road to Pommern:
- young boys herding 3-10 cows
- clothes drying on fences
- children walking alongside road and playing in ‘yards’
- houses of red mud and red brick as well as a few of rough wood.
- Feral chickens around
- Corn fields being prepared
- Bicycles
- Absence of cars
- Nearly everything being carried on women’s heads

Arrival at the mission house was delightful. It was raining. Other men arrived to unpack van. Our rooms were chosen: Greg and Marcia downstairs as well as Ben (GV long-term volunteer) and the single women upstairs. The place is huge… enough room for them to have a dressing and staging area for choice of daily garb.

Jennie, Kayli, Sam, and Danielle walk with Ben on a little exploration as do Greg and Marcia.

- children everywhere
- woman making basket
- smell of charcoal smoke

Mama Toni fixed over charcoal fire spaghetti pasta, plantains in sauce, potatoes, peppers, onion soup, white bread, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, pineapple. We ate by candle light as the electricity failed to make itself evident at 7:00 PM

Short talk by Edward concerning the giving of things to children and others was shared. The practice is ill-advised for obvious reasons.

We are tired and head to bed in the dark for a much longed for rest.


Characteristics of an effective team:


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jan. 3rd, 2010

“What is one is in the whole, and therefore, ultimately, each soul if responsible for the whole world.” –Gary Zukav

We had our first meeting last night after Danielle, Jennie, and Kayli arrive. Sam, Marcia and I had spent the day together after arriving very late on January 1st. We introduced ourselves, shared our stories, and had a nice meal. Edward and Mohammed provided some orientation and an outline for tomorrow.

We had breakfast and departed about 10:15. It was raining quite hard and a little hard to see. The streets of Dar were very bust as people were coming and going from church. The colors of the outfits were amazingly vibrant and diverse.

We stopped for lunch after 2 hours, a very nice buffet in Chainze. The roadsides were busy with people and there were many different foods for sale – pineapple, mango, onions, potatoes, bananas, tomatoes.

We traveled through the Mikumi reserve/national park and saw baboons, cape buffalo, warthogs, giraffe, zebra, impala, elephant, and lions. We were all quite impressed by the experience. What a great beginning for all of us.

It was a long day, as we arrived in Iringa about 7:30. The travel was somewhat unnerving as we saw several accidents, including a head-on of two gas trucks.

Upon arriving in Iringa, we were shown to our rooms at the Mlandege Lutheran Center and then served a lovely meal. Edward outlined our schedule for the next day and bid us a good night.

All in all it was a good day, with the exception of Danielle feeling a little out of sorts. Hopefully she will be better tomorrow.

I am pleased by the care and concern that Edward, Mohammed, and James have extended to us. I also enjoy their good nature and their senses of humor. They are truly servants. I look forward to the next three weeks and the joy we will undoubtedly share.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Jan. 13th, 2010

“This is the place we were meant to be, you are the people we are meant to be with, and these are the people we are meant to serve. Let us be thankful we are here together.”

Today was an incredibly beautiful day – the rain didn’t come until nearly 5:30 this evening; that may be a record in itself.

Marcia left early this morning to teach a class at 7:30 at the secondary school. We are all continually amazed at her immense amount of teaching aids and passion. I only wish I could see her in the classroom… I have no doubt that she’s marvelous.

Danielle and I headed to the primary school to help out. The headmaster took us around to all the classrooms – standard 1-7, pre-standard 1 and the technical school classes. They all stared at us as they were told that we would return tomorrow to TEACH! Oh no, I don’t know if we are prepared for this! Thankfully Marcia will help us! The kids are adorable, but school looks very different as 75-102 students are crammed into one classroom! Their little red sweaters and blue pants/skirts are awfully cute however – hopefully we can teach and entertain them tomorrow.

We all met at tea at the secondary school! This is my favorite and I can say I will truly miss andazi when back at home. Edward explained to all the teachers that we were here to help so to make sure we are used as a resource. This got Sam and Jennie a spot in a classroom while Danielle and I bound old books with paper until lunch.

After lunch Greg was in much need of a rest and relaxation after a pulled muscle. Jennie and Sam headed to the clinic. Jennie was finally able to see the way the clinic and Dr. Godlove work. She became “Jane.” Her and Sam enjoyed watching patients and playing scribes.

Danielle and I went back to school to help Rachel. She was done for the day so Marcia showed Danielle and I the girls dorms. They were very neat and packed full with pink and rows of bunk beds. I was grateful to meet the girls – they were so sweet!

The rest of the afternoon included the internet, reading and watching choir practice of the local church. Edward blessed us with a special helping of pork cooked perfectly by Mama Toni. Marcia discovered the rice secret – coconut milk! I need to steal so many of her recipes! Pastor Sagga came and spoke about African religions before we all headed to bed. We learned new information about ATR (African Tribal Religions) and polygamy! I think we are all looking for monogamous relationships!

Each and every day I am more and more thankful for my team and place. I am unable to express the things I have learned and the immaculate way this experience has shaped my life. Thanks to all of you for being part of this fantastic experience!