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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Werner

The village is SO excited!! See how you are helping!!

Majengo ward has a population of about 14,000 people, all very poor. There are very few schools, the nearest hospital or clinic is about 50 kilometers away, very few cars or trucks, but they do have a few motorcycles! It’s the poorest ward in the Kilimanjaro region. We have been working in this ward, specifically Kahe Village, for about a year now and we have made huge strides improving lives by bringing technology and education to this very rural area in Kilimanjaro.

This past year we worked in the Kahe village where we have trained and educated over seventy men and women and given them jobs in sewing/tailoring, decorating/cooking, maize mill grinding corn, beekeeping, and we are now building a workshop (see previous blog posts!). We also bought them a village truck (though a generous donation from Dave and Ellen Watson!!) and it is the only four wheel vehicle in the village! Two men and two women are learning how to drive the truck, which they can then take the clothes they are sewing to the roadside and junction for selling. The decorating group is hosting events in the community center for village ceremonies and their first job was for a 300 person wedding and they made 300,000TzS ($150)!

The maize mill grinds 500kg/week

generating 35,000TzS ($16)

The sewing group makes uniforms for the children and they sell at the market

We have done many things for Kahe village, they are doing very well, and it’s time to set our sights onto the next village about 15 kilometers away, called Soko. Soko has a very high, almost 100% positive rate of HIV, and over 150 orphans. They have asked us to help them eradicate HIV, bring family planning services, and build a children’s center for the orphans where they can get an education, shelter, food, and water.

These children have lost their parents because their mother died during childbirth, or from HIV, or disease, and their father cannot support a family and in many cases has left the village. The children are not up for adoption but they will have a school, shelter, beds, food, and clothing (made by the women in Majengo Kahe!). Most of the orphans have brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who do their best to take care of them. This means families often have five or more children from mixed families and they all live in the same single room sod hut.

We are working hard to bring Family Planning services and education, which includes not only birth control, treatment of obstetric fistula, and sex education, but also commitment by the communities for the abolishment of early childhood marriages and the ending of FGM. We will also work with government health agencies who treat and try to control HIV (no, Mr. village-man, you are not cured by having sex with a virgin!). The ward counselor suggests that we have a media campaign across the Majengo ward (14,000+ people) to educate and gain

support across the villages, so they all share in the same mindset to ban the cultural practices of FGM and early childhood marriages, and this is a great idea! We already have the film crew, who helped us with our documentary in May, and the village leaders are all on board! This is going to be wonderful for the women and save lives!! We can show the film from village to village, where they can encourage each other and show how their neighbors are all involved and working together to save lives.

Our core team effort is to continue to find ways to alleviate poverty through technology and education. The Soko village has a water resource challenge because the villages upstream have diverted most of the water so the villages downstream, including Soko, have no wanter for their crops. We are working with various officials on ways to conserve water. We will build water holding ponds (maybe stock with fish?) for when the rains come, and dig water wells as the water table

is not too far down. By addressing the water issue, they can grow more crops, have more jobs, sell more produce, feed more children, so this is a very important endeavor!

So a HUGE THANK YOU! Your donation goes a long way in the village and I just wanted to share these things with you so you can be proud of your role and contributions in helping these communities!

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