Thursday, October 26, 2006

ok so i know that it has been awhile. (once again) i actually have some good excuses for the delay in writing..i have been working. well, more than normal. well, i worked for a couple of days...but i was darn productive in those few days.

Pig update: all 17 pigs are still alive and well. We had one fright. Apparently, one of the female pigs likes to “dance”. Well that was the Swahili translation of the reason that was given when one of the pigs had broken a leg. They said that the pig gets soooo excited when it sees people that it dances and somehow broke its leg (not that they have been skimping on the feed by any means). So I had to play vet. I went into town and bought plaster and some antibiotics. You should have seen the look on the faces at the pharmacy when I told them I needed to plaster a pig’s leg!! But an even better site was three adult men holding down a pig while me and a mama reset the leg and put on a splint and plaster-taped it. That was definitely a Kodak moment that I did not have my camera!!!! The pig is going on well these days. Hopefully she will be in full recover very soon. If you would like to send her get well cards, you can do so at the address at the top of this page and I will make sure she gets them.

HABARI NZURI!!!! GOOD NEWS!!!! I got my fish grant approved. I am the proud mama of 10,000 little itty bitty fishies. We have this beautiful lake in the village. Really it is gorgeous set in the rolling hills, however there has not been much reason to protect it. So local business have been using it as sort of a dumping ground and many people have been planting eucalyptus there (which is a high water consuming tree and could be cause of the dropping water levels). There are a few fish in the lake but are not much bigger than minnows. So my boss comes by the village and says, “why not make this lake useful?” After many many many many meetings with the government officials and village government, the village designed a project that would introduce a small breed of tilapia to the 540hc lake. The simple project design is this:
The local fishermen will go through training to learn sustainable lake aquaculture fishing practices. They will then fish the lakes on schedules that will be designed by the government official for fisheries in the district. After six months the lake will be in full production and expected to produce 200 kilos of fish every week. From each catch, ten percent of all fish caught will go directly to people taking care of orphans and to the existing school lunch program for orphans. There will also be a tax of ten percent of fish caught that will go into an account that will be used for several purposes. Some of the money will go to the costs of transportation to get people to and from the closest HIV/AIDS testing center. Some funds will be allocated for transportation to and from the closest treatment center for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). These costs are actually quite low as we are fortunate enough to have a testing and treatment center within 15kilometers of the village. Other money will go to the purchasing of school supplies and school fees of orphans that have been identified in need of these services. This year there is an expectation of 22 orphans that will pass their standard 7 national exams, but have no resources to continue their education. Ten percent of each tax will go into a pool of money to help maintain the project. This will help cover costs of any future problem than might occur included another removal of weeds.
The fishermen will then sell the left over fish. The costs of the fishermen are low as their only needed equipment is nets, lines and hooks. Since the lake is located within in the village, there are no transportation costs. This makes it possible for the costs of fish to be very low and quite affordable to most everyone in the village.
The village has also agreed to build a water outlet structure to help keep any overflow of the lake under control. This will help protect the environment around the lake and protect the lake incase of flooding. The village government also agreed to plant 600 trees around the lake to help protect the water and the ecology of the lake. Very little of the land around the lake is in use but exposed to heavy slope erosion in which the trees can ease this problem.
Stay tuned for further updates on this one...hopefully all will be completed before the rain starts in December.

As soon as i got to my village, people asked for help in the continuation of a vocational school for orphans. (My village of 2,600 residents has 199 orphans!!!) A group of 12 people had started a tailoring school with their own finances and were currently educating four young girls. After many attempts at funding, we finally got the project approved. Starting in January, there will be 40 students going to two schools; one for tailoring, and one for carpentry. The program will last one year and in addition to their technical training they have lessons in life skills and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. all in hope of trying to break the cycle that made them orphans in the first place. but the center still needs a name…what do you think: The Jane School, or Centre LeGrand???? Just a couple of ideas? (good thing I am modest!)
So this project is REALLY big and fortunately i dont have to DO a whole lot, just supervise. But the village wants to throw a big party for the opening. I am totally excited! It should be a blast. And to top it off, this was the grant that i had told many of you about that i would have to ask for money. But since i found money within the country, i will not have to pester my loved ones for donations. So since you are off the hook for guilt ridding obligations of contributions...send me stuff!!! (just kidding....ok not really)

I won’t lie, it hasn’t been all roses around the lands of tanzania. I was really feeling this (apparently not so mythical) one year slump. But it all ended when the village executive officer told me that the village was very lucky to have me. That one statement made all the pains (well most of them) worthwhile. Who needs running water or a sit down toilet when you are appreciated. So the moral of this story boys and girls is to tell people when they are appreciated!

So now that the lesson is complete, i am going to sign off for now. I hope all is well over there in the lands of the west. Know that i am here missing and loving you all.



Anonymous kilo said...

I was all ready to start raising money, and I feel terrible that I haven't sent you anything yet. I'm such a bad friend... PLUS I didn't have time to see your 'rents at the reunion. But you know I'll make up for it one day.
I can't wait to see you!!!

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! You are amazing! I'm so proud of you for all the stuff you are doing over there!


11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you and all the stuff you are doing there. It's amazing!


11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jane! I can't believe you're in Tanzania. Last I heard, you were saving sea turtles from poachers in South America- what phenomenal things you have accomplished! I have missed you so much- I'm so happy to hear good things. If you don't absolutely hate me for the six year lack of commumnication (not completely my fault- you moved) you have to catch me up!
Love, Elise (gypsyboggs@aol)

6:35 AM  

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