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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapI just want to say that the internet is barely working which is why there are so few entries on here. I do one and then can't get on here again until the next day. We'll do our best to catch up!!!

Thursday, February 14th

Today is treatment day for children in the HIV area and also our first meeting with some of the Amani kids. We had brought more posters to put together, one with pictures of people from One Person and Amani supporters from our area. The kids enjoyed helping us and the Amani clubhouse is now plastered with colourful pictures of the Okanagan!!!
While we were hanging out with the kids, we were also talking with some of the mom’s. A small 18 year old boy named Oliver, who is the chairperson of the Amani kids, was our interpreter. It was very sad when the women were telling us about their husbands leaving them when they were diagnosed with HIV. They’re left alone, infected themselves, to care for the family with no financial support. They’ve usually acquired the disease from their husband in the first place!
Later, I asked Flora about the possibility of visiting the Nyahanga orphanage, (where we’d heard some of the Amani kids were living,) and was told that it was no longer operating. The woman that ran Nyahanga had passed away and the 12 children who were living there were moved to what is now the Muvuma Orphanage Centre. We were welcome to go and see the place. Flora, (sitting side-saddle and of course with no helmet,) LeAnne, Pene and I hopped on motorbikes and went over to visit the kids.
There are 17 children living at Muvama presently and a lady named Lucia John stays with them. They live in a small, four room house and said that they pay very high rent. A volunteer committee of 20 women work to raise money to support the program. Two years ago, they started construction on a new orphanage that will house 50 children. The Kahama District Council has donated a piece of land on the other side of town across the tarmac road. Whenever enough money is raised, another bag of cement and some bricks are bought and another row is added.
Along with the orphaned children there are also two albino children living at Muvuma. There are a large number of albinos living in the ‘Lake Zone’ and they are targeted by local traditional people who mutilate them and use limbs for traditional ceremonies. There are plans to relocate children living at risk in the Kahama district to Muvuma. The danger to these kids was considered when the land was donated for the orphanage. It’s right beside a school which will enable the children to attend school safely without being on the streets alone where they could be grabbed.
After visiting the kids, we hopped back on our motor bikes. I went with the two ladies to visit the new building site. I was really excited about the idea of One Person getting on board with this orphanage. The committee had talked before I left about having a building project/orphanage like this added to our programs. It'll be great to have another project for non-medical/non-educational volunteers to work on when they come on a trip to Kahama. Nancy Comeau generously donated $1000 towards the construction of the new building and we’ll work to expand the project when we return home.