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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Werner

On the ground in Kilimanjaro!

Hi there! I have been here for a few days now so thought I would post a live update. The days have been very busy! Today, I was going to meet Thadei for breakfast and ran into (King) David, who was our cook when Tony and I climbed Kilimanjaro. He joined me and Thadei for breakfast. Thadei and I then went to the Ofisi ya Waziri Hawala Za Mikoa Na Serial Za MITAA, in Moshi where I meet the government officials so they recognize the foundation. Apparently, if I am known by the government then most people who might complain about any work we are doing I tell them I am known by the Jamhuri wa Muungano wa Tazania (trying saying that fast even one time :) This is a very big step to be accepted by the Tanzanian government so I think is pretty cool! Next we went to Marangu village on Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was pouring at times, constant rain, and cold. I was with Thadei and one of his students, Glory, who was my translator and assistant. We met with one of the local foundations there who we are collaborating with on porter education so we had a lot to discuss . We all met for lunch at “The World Trade Center,” which is basically center city of the village. We had coffee and lunch and talked about a myriad of things. We were supposed to go see the building where KiliTech is sponsoring porter education but it was raining so hard that we kept our meeting at the center. As soon as we left Marangu the rain stopped. It is the rainy season here so everywhere is very wet and muddy. After lunch, Thadei, Glory, and I went on to Majengo village, which is the village KiliTech is focused on bringing technology and education. They are always so excited to see me! I met with many women today because we are in the beginning stages of the Girls Vocation and Education program. We have the enrollment form for the vocations and Thadei is making progress on the building. We discussed the curriculum for the programs and went through the building planning on where to put tables, have the sewing machines, lockers, library, etc. They wanted to give the building a name where I am from so it started off as Colorado Hall, then it was Texas Hall (they even have burnt orange as the paint!), but I ultimately decided on Freedom Hall so no one from Colorado or Texas would be jealous. I then met with about 10 women who want to have a “decorating business” which is basically party planning. They are very excited about it. They wanted to call it “Laurel Group” but I said they should think of something else and apparently Laurel is something like flower so we decided on “Maua,” which is flower in Swahili :) One of the village leaders, Patrick, wrote me a letter but it's in Swahili so I will get Thadei to translate and post it on my blog when I get home. Tomorrow is an easier day. We meet at one of the health centers to further discuss the mobile health clinic, we go to Kili Hub which is another foundation run by a girl I have not met (friend of a friend) so I look forward to meeting her. I then have lunch with a young man that Tony and I are helping through college, Adam, he’s basically an orphan raising his little brother and a smart kid who deserves a better life. Things are soooo poor here! It’s amazing how poor the people are but they are so friendly and generally happy. I think Friday I will go to Arusha to pick up some art that I bought from one of Tony’s and my favorite artists, Jomeke, then I will recover for the weekend and Monday I return home. I will hate to say baadaye but I know I will return again very soon!

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