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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 21 Feb 2013

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapThursday, February 21st

Today is Amani party day!!! What started out as a gathering of the children from the Amani group to distribute the bins sent by the Amani supporters in Canada now turned into a more formal celebration with food and some of the medical staff. I thought we would just be buying some bananas, cookies and drinks like we did last year, but Flora wanted us to have a full meal. We bought enough food to feed 150-160 people and then ended up with over 200 attendees!! The chicken coop ladies had agreed to come and do the cooking. It was amazing to see them cook for a crowd of that size over fires they built on the ground by the Amani room.

We managed to keep the group entertained; Anna was with the children colouring pictures, Pene was putting name tags on everyone and LeAnne and I applied tattoos to long line of kids. There were speeches by a lot of the hospital staff and we made a couple of presentations which drew great rounds of applause. We presented the Amani chicken coop ladies $1100 from money donated by a lot of you back home and $1000 (donated by Nancy) to the Muvuma orphanage.

Like a finely oiled machine, the ladies dished up food for 200 people in record time. We had an assembly line and passed plates out to the long line of people. The children were allowed to eat first because this was their party. After everyone ate, we passed out cookies and a lollipop to everyone. We explained about the container delays and everyone agreed to come back and pick up their things on Monday.

During the day, I was getting repeated telephone calls from Rananja who was keeping us posted on the progress of the crate which was coming in that night. It was so exciting to know it would finally be here!!!! After all the girls went to bed, Dr. Andrew came by to pick me up to drive out to the highway and guide the truck in. Trucks of this size are not allowed on the roads we needed to take to the hospital so we needed permission from the local police. An ambulance would be our pilot car. It was surreal to be driving through the semi-deserted streets of Kahama at midnight in this procession, following an ambulance with its lights flashing and being followed by our container. We had to drive very slowly and as we got close to the hospital, they put on the siren!

It was a tight fit getting the truck in under the hospital entrance gate and into the yard. Everyone was excited but probably not as excited as I was!!!

After all that had happened with the requests for extra money, it didn’t come as a surprise when I found out that the drivers needed money to pay for their rooms for the night!!! I dug into my purse once again……