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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 14 Feb 2008

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapPlanet Ranger Feb 14th

Jambo!!
Today we met with Theresia and Nesphory to go over ideas for “The One Person Project.” We were happy with how the meeting went, they are both down-to-earth, great people. We did the official signing of the agreement with Paul Magazi who is the guy above Theresia in the Kahama political hierarchy. The gifts were given and we have lots of great pictures and video. She loved the scarf that you made Barbara!
Ananastasia was the frist child on our list today. They were very excited and ran out to the vehicle to meet us. Did we know that her brother is Ezekiel, Sherrill’s little guy? While we were visiting, their older sister was doing the laundry in a bucket on the edge of the yard. When we asked for a family picture she ran and grabbed some clothes off a bush and dashed in the hut to change. I thought the wrap she was wearing looked good but she reminded me that teenage girls are the same everywhere..worrying about what they look like. I got some good pics of the family.
We were off to see Manyanda next who is Beki’s sponsored child. A couple of the siblings had passed away and now there was also a grandchild living with the family. As I was sitting beside Manyanda, being swarmed by flies, I realized that the whole back of his ear was infected, cracked open and oozing with pus. It looked awful! The family said that he was very ill and had had a fever the month before and they took him to the clinic. This infection had developed when they arrived back and he had had it ever since. I guess they figured having just been there, he wasn’t due for another clinic visit for awhile. His mother was also due to have a baby any day so probably didn’t want to travel. I left money and asked the translator to have her promise that she would take him the next day and get some ointment for him. We also discussed sending Polysporin for the families to have at home and the WV team said that they thought it would be OK, they, of course, would explain how to use it.
We visited Shija and his family of five brothers next. Michelle from Braemore Lodge sponsors him. Thanks to WV sponsorship, all of the boys are all in school, which was great to see. They showed off a bit of their “Kingereza” (English) for us.
Marj, we went to see Japhet next. What a doll! He has four siblings that are all under 7 so there’s a real houseful. He wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
Next we stopped at the Mpere Health Centre. It was my highlight of the day because I really had to go to the bathroom and thought, here we go another pit toilet! I tried to talk one of the girls into coming with me and sharing the ‘experience’…we never know what to expect, but no one would come. One of the staff took me out to their ‘Guest House’ and lo and behold there was a real toilet! It didn’t flush but it worked good enough and I realized by my excitement over this, just how desperate we were becoming. I was even bragging to the girls about my good fortune!
Lunch was served that day at my WV child, Mary’s. I was so excited to see her but she was so shy, she didn’t really say much the entire time I was there. We got served the usual ‘Take Out”……greasy, cold french fries, “weiners?” and chicken bones. (This exact lunch was served to us everyday we were out!) This time there was a starving, meowing, kitten and about 12 hungry neighbour kids, under the age of six watching us pretend to eat. After lunch, MJ and Wendy had a lot of fun playing with the kids and then the neighbour kids were all fed the leftovers.
Last stop of the day! Her grandparents are raising Gerry and Jan’s girl, Jeniviva. There are 14 people living in the few mud huts around the yard. Her parents have moved and left most of the children but do come back to visit once per year.
Wendy and I stopped at our ‘duka’ (store) and picked up a few things for MJ’s birthday. We bought her some wine, Pringles and a can of Tuna and I’ll bet she’ll tell you that these were the best birthday presents she ever received! The WV guys came over for dinner….we were wishing we had a night off just to relax. It is really interesting taking to people that live in such a different culture. We all can learn so much from each other.
We are supposed to be on the road by eight in the morning to finish our last day of sponsor visits. We are also dropping off soccer balls and jerseys to be distributed for the big games on Saturday!!! Nesphory is planning on having us over to meet his family on Sunday. Apparently his children keep asking, "When are the ‘mzungus’ are coming?" It is quite funny, every time we are around the locals, it sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown movie talking, you can’t understand a word, but you hear the word “mzungu” over and over.
We're feeling a little homesick and missing all of you a lot but we're are meeting a lot of amazing people and sharing an experience that will be with us forever.