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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Monday, 31 May 2010

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapMonday, May 31st

Today we spent the day visiting the WV children and the Faraja Orphanage. It was a great day; pleasantly exhausting without too many obstacles. We went to pick up Angela’s two bikes in the morning, after making the appropriate negotiations for this the day before. I shouldn’t have been surprised when they weren’t ready. When you purchase a bike here, they don’t put on all the parts until after you buy it and then that means when they fell like doing it.
We only had to travel to the ADP office to meet the children from three of the villages.
The sponsor party was going to be held there, which was going to work out well for me because it would give me a chance on the internet. Our visits with the children went well. We, of course, had to explain to all why they were only receiving the small gifts that we put together. We wrote a letter, translated it to Swahili and presented it to each family, briefly describing the crate being late and let them know they will be called in few weeks about their totes. I was sad to find out that Elizabeth’s mom (Rena and Gerry’s girl) had died since my last visit. She came with her dad and Grandpa and we made the negotiations with them for what animals they would like. They will be receiving 8 goats and 6 chickens as well as vaccinations for the chickens. All that for $250 CND!!!!!! They are SOOOO happy about this Rena; you’ve really made such a difference in their lives!
I think my favourite part of the visits and sitting around with small groups of the parents and a translator when the ‘official child visits’ are over. After breaking the ice with some small talk, everyone starts asking questions about our lives in Canada. They’re all so curious about how we live, how we grow ‘crops’, what we eat, etc.
The Faraja Orphanage visit was great. The children met us at our vehicle singing as they surrounded us, and then greeted us like we were celebrities. They proudly showed us their goats that have grown from a herd of 10 (purchased by the Montessori School and Jack’s birthday money last year) to a herd of 17!! They are buying more goats with the donated money from this year. The children sang and danced, we played ball with them, and they presented us with gifts. I received an especially flattering Moo-Moo made from beautiful African fabric, which was sewn by the women who run the orphanage.

I had met with Dr Subi and John Kamya, (ADP head) for four hours last night trying to work out some of the details of transporting items from Rwanda to Kahama overland. Since our crate has been re-routed to Muhanga, Rwanda, I still need to transport the 37 totes for the sponsor families as well as the Faraja orphanage boxes back to Kahama. I was going to hire a smaller vehicle and have already been organizing all of the paperwork/letters to make this happen. It’s not easy; you don’t realize how much paper work is involved in order to moving items across districts and borders. Dr Subi is understandably upset about loosing out on the operating bed and chair and medical items from the first crate so wants me to send them also. We would have to use a Kahama District Council truck which involves three people, a driver, a technician (in case the truck doesn’t make it,) and a government representative. The trip, in a truck would take four days, (to allow for the overnight at the border, slower vehicle, etc) and the wages have to be paid for all. After spending a few hours writing the appropriate letters and then talking the whole thing over with a few people I have finally come to the decision that I can only focus on transporting the totes for the WV families as well as the orphanage stuff. It’s just too difficult for e to work out the logistics of a bigger transport involving re-doing paperwork with different governments. As it is, I’m sure the following week will be spent trying to work out the transport. I already know that I’ll have to travel all of the way back to the border with the truck to do the paper work on the day it crosses.

We’ll be heading out on our last day in Kahama this morning with lists of things we still need to accomplish.