Dear Friends, Today I received the following write up on the Nov. 1 solar presentation to the Masaii Village in the jungle above Arusha. As you know, I was unable to participate in this presentation due to my injury and early return home, but my dear friend Clare and "friends" apparently did a spectacular job........read on:
It's Clare here again. I am writing to report on the extremely successful solar cooker presentation that we gave in Petro's Masaii Village on Saturday, November 1st.
As usual, we received the warmest of welcomes in the village. However, the tribal council and members of the community were disappointed that we did not have their beloved Nasieku (Jamie) with us, and they all sent her their love and warm wishes for a speedy recovery.
The enthusiasm with which this presentation was received, was overwhelming. The villagers were truly inspired by the concept and showed, through their thoughtful and provocative questions, as well as the support that they offered throughout the presentation, that they fully understood the limitations of the solar cookers but also the advantages of solar cooking and how this new and simple tool could greatly improve their lives.
We cooked a meal of rice, beef and onions accompanied by steamed vegetables (in a separate cooker), with a dessert of cake and brownies. When I left the village, the rice was not quite done but the villagers were all excited about eating it for their evening meal and kept three of the four cookers that I had brought with me for the demonstration. They will use these cookers to continue practicing and perfecting the art of solar cooking and we will visit periodically to check on their progress and answer any questions they may have.
After serving us a delicious lunch and entertaining us with a tour of their various eco-projects, we were invited to join in with their traditional Masaii dancing. The Chief's wife then delivered a speech to formally accept the new Solar Cookers on behalf of the village and to thank us for helping the women of the village and women everywhere for showing them an alternative to using firewood and helping them to avoid long walks to collect wood as well as arrests and fines for taking wood from the nearby forest. They also expressed their gratitude for showing them a new way to avoid the devastating health issues of smoke inhalation and burn injuries suffered by the children of the village under the current cooking methods.
I was so proud and moved to hear such gratitude from the women of the village. It convinced me that this community will order many solar cookers and soon be using solar cooking on a widespread and daily basis.
I want to thank everyone that has supported Jamie's Africa Project on behalf of Jamie and myself for your financial support and encouragement. Today, I saw first hand how the simplest investment can truly change the lives of an entire community. I am so proud to have become part of Jamie's Africa Project and my experiences here in Tanzania in association with Jamie and all of her many efforts will remain a meaningful memory for years to come.
Earlier this month, Clare Brenton wrote a entry on this website, introducing you to Faraja where she is a volunteer. At that time, she wrote to thank The Africa Project for making an emergency food purchase when Faraja found itself without food for the children.
After some discussion, and input from many of you via email, The Africa Project agreed to provide emergency food supplies despite the fact a fundamental principal of our project is that groups in need must begin to think in terms of self-sustaining projects rather than existing on donations alone. In this case, a critical food emergency had arisen because a private supporter of the orphanage had suddenly discontinued what had been long term regular financial assistance.
While the Africa Project has always operated from the perspective that the creation of self sustaining projects is a critical element in the support of any of our recipient groups, the administrators of Faraja, although well intended, were not engaging in this kind of forward planning and thinking. After using the website to ask for your input, we agreed to do a major shopping expedition on an emergency basis, the consensus being that the children should not go to bed hungry because the directors were not doing the sort of planning that would help to make the center self sustaining and financially secure.
I have just learned that Faraja is now two months behind in the rent and the current rent is due in a few days. If not paid, 16 fulltime children and a total of 23 outreach children who come to the orphanage on the weekends because their families cannot feed them) will be displaced in a matter of days.
After discussions with the orphanage directors, (using a Swahili translator so that there can be no confusion), The Project has agreed to pay three months of rent (roughly $105 per month, U.S.) which constitutes last month's rent, the current month's rent and the coming months rent on the following conditions: Faraja must agree to allow the afternoon volunteers (three young people from TVE) to build and begin a chicken raising project on the property) The purpose of the project will be to provide eggs as an additional food source for the children and to use the additional eggs to sell at market as income for the orphanage. Several other orphanages in Arusha are doing this successfully and the knowledge and resources on how to start the project, what is needed to get the chickens to successfully lay, care and feeding, etc. is all readily available via two other TVE volunteers whose orphanage is operating a similar project and who have offered to assist.
Faraja has been informed that in order to receive this rent money, they must allow the volunteers to begin immediate construction of the chicken enclosure, and an additional private donor has been located to fund the cost of the pen, as well as the purchase of the first flock of chickens. Faraja has also agreed that these chickens are to be used for laying and not as a food source.
The purpose of attaching these conditions to the offer to pay the rent, is to get the directors of Faraja to understand that it is critical that they begin to engage in projects that will eventually allow them to become less dependent on donations and to insure that they will eventually be able to sustain themselvess in times of critical shortage and lack of donations.
In this way, we are hopeful that Faraja will soon be on the road to financial independence. To the right are some additional pictures of Faraja. Hopefully, we will soon be seeing loads of chickens in these pictures as well as happy children.
After nearly seven weeks of projects, orphanage work, school building and various community projects, Clare and I decided to take some personal time and get out and see the countryside. Having done our fair share of tent camping at Masaii camp, we decided to splurge (on our own dime) and do a mid-range Lodge Safari instead of a camping Safari.
We booked a private driver to take us on a four day game drive through Lake Mayanara, the Serengenti and Ngorogoro Crater. These are the top three Safari sights on the northern Safari circuit.
With a car and driver all to ourselves, a pop up top for full four sided viewing and no jockeying for position for photos, we had the opportunity to make all the decisions about where we wanted to go, how long we wanted to stay and what our priorities were in terms of animals, lunch breaks, view points and special focus points. Clare was desperate to see the big cats of all types and I wanted to get up close and personal with the Giraffes in the wild, hippos, zebras and gazelles. Clare was also hoping to get a peak at a Rhino, although they are very rare and only about one out of every six Safari's ever even make a sighting, let alone get close enough for good photos.
We had an amazing driver who could spot a big cat in a tree that was ten feet away and totally camouflauged and then maneuver our vehicle within feet of the animals without disturbing them or interrupting their leisurely afternoon naps. Anyone else would have driven right past most of these well hidden giant tree sleepers. But Mohammad was an expert at finding the elusive male lions, hippos while out of the water and big cats of all types. We realized quite early on that we had a gem of a guide when other drivers began radioing him on the Land Rover intercom radios and reguarly asking for the "good locations" to find a particular animal.
We had three full days of game drives, usually beginning at 6 or 6:30 in the morning and ending at about the same time in the evening. Delicious box lunches, all the water we could drink, plus our own cooler of other frosty beverages and snack. After a long day of game driving, we enjoyed delightful evening meals in some of Africas most spectacular lodges in these three beautiful National Parks some of which clung to the inner wall of a giant crater.
We hope you will enjoy some of what we think are among our best shots of the week posted to the right of this journal entry.
Enjoy! Jamie and Clare
After careful consideration, and your many thoughtful responses, The Africa Project yesterday presented TUPO (Tumaini Positive) with the full amount of the grant they requested. The funds were deposited into their TUPO account and they will begin purchasing their equipment and materials this week and begin sewing school uniforms for the orphanages around town, as soon as they are set up in a location somewhere near the clinic.
After the presentation of the Grant, the Choir provided us with a beautiful song in Swahili. The song, as translated to me, spoke of the love and support shared among this group of HIV/AIDS positive community and their great gratitude for knowing that "the world is remembering them."
Again, many thanks to all of you for helping this self-help project to get off the ground. I have extreme confidence that this group is going to do great things and have provided them with the Africa Project Website, so that they can keep us posted on their progress. I am going to try to post some pictures of the choir. Love, Jamie
Last week I attended the meeting of an HIV/AIDS socio/economic support group as two of the TVE volunteers were considering working as volunteers in their testing center. The group is known at TUPO (Tumaini Positive).
While there I learned that this is one of the few very large support groups where all members have been diagnosed as positive for HIV or Aids. As in America, many here in Africa are shunned once it becomes known that they are HIV positive.
This group has created a large and loving community of support that includes a choir (who sang at the formal ceremonies when the Olympic Torch came through Tanzania), a women's, men's and children's soccer league with regular competitions and a variety of other social functions at which all participants can feel comfortable and accepted.
In addition, they have an extensive educational campaign and make regular appearances and presentations throughout the city, talking about life with HIV and encouraging others to undergo testing and continued monitoring if found to be positive. It is a very welcoming environment, in a place where being HIV positive can be a lonely and isolated life. The message is that even with HIV, Life Goes On!
The two TVE volunteers decided to volunteer as regular coaches (and players) for the children's soccer league,and one is playing regularly for the adult team games.
When asked to introduce myself, I explained that I am not a TVE volunteer and was not looking for a "placement" per se. However, I indicated that "The Africa Project" had some financial resources that we may be able to use to assist the TUPO project if they were to present a self-sustaining project proposal that would allow them to continue to generate needed income to pursue their educational efforts, if provided with some seed money to begin that project. I indicated that any proposed project would require a business plan, a description of their organization, a well outlined sets of goals, identified costs and a start up budget.
Yesterday, I was presented with a beautiful proposal that met all of those requirements. The TUPO group has met with the Arusha Regional Council and obtained a contractual commitment to do all of the tailoring work for the school uniforms for all Arusha area orphanage children. The Regional Council has promised TUPO all of the sewing contracts to make these uniforms but indicated that they must find a way to purchase their own equipment (i.e. sewing machines and other necessary items). Thus, their proposal requests enough money to purchase the three sewing machines each with varying abilities, including embroidery attachments for placing the name or initials of the schools on the uniforms. The total request, with an itemized attachment indicating the cost of each machine is approximately $500.00 U.S.
I am inclined to grant this request and would like to hear from my fellow contributors in the U.S. as to how they feel about this use of "Africa Project" funds. Please feel free to use the "Comments" section on the right side of this website.
The meeting is next Tuesday and I would like to let them know if their request for funds has been approved or not at that time. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
If we approve the project and buy the machines..........I will download some photos of the delivery of the machines to the next gathering of TUPO members.
Yesterday we purchased two dozen mosquito nets. Approximately 15 went to the maternity hospital labor and delivery room and the remainder were taken to Faraja where the children had either no nets at all, or nets with holes so large that a soccor ball could fit through them let alone a mosquito.
Nets are critical in this area as Malaria is rampant, paned windows are few and far between, water standards are poor to say the least. I had not intended on purchasing mosquito nets when I started the "Africa Project" but some of the facilities and agencies that we have been seeing are so much in need that I hope you all agree, that these nets are a good use of your donated contributions.
On November 1st we have scheduled a very large solar presentaton for the Masaii village in the mountains above Arusha. This is a different village than the one that Clare and I have been living in. This village is much more "westernized". Masaii attire is generally only worn on special occasions and many of the Masaii in this community work outside the village which is not the case in "our village" far outside of town.
This Masaii community has a very eco conscious community tribal council with whom we have already met. They have a bio gas fuel system underway using cow dung to create gas that ultimately is used to heat and cook with. They also have a thriving Bee Keeping Project, three reasonably decent schools (pre school, primary and secondary) and a very progressive council that is excited about the solar project.
The area in which they live, high in the jungle above Arusha, is protected forest and it is getting more and more difficult to collect wood for cooking. Several villagers have been forced to pay huge fines and some have even been jailed for taking wood from these protected forests, so the solar project is a perfect solution to a large portion of their fuel needs.
Clare and I will present a demonstration of approxmately six working "cookers" on Saturday, November 1st and will demonstrate both cooking and water purification uses of the Solar Cooking System. We are expecting a large turnout as our previous meetings with this group have produced intense interest and enthusiasm to learn more and begin participating in the Solar Cooking Project. Photos will follow the demonstration.
In the meantime, Clare and I are taking a brief break (on our own funds) and will go on Safari on October 24 for three days and four nights. We have hired a private driver and will do lodge stays instead of camping (Masaii camping conditions have convinced us that we deserve a break!) We will visit the Serengeti Plain, the Rift Valley, Ngorogoro Crater and Lake Mayanara. These areas are supposed to be among the most beautiful and most abundant in wildlife at this time of year. We are very excited about this fun break. We hope to be able to send you lots of pictures of close encounters of the wild kind!
Hello everyone. I’m Clare, the British girl that Jamie has taken under her wing here in Tanzania . I am working at an orphanage named Faraja, which is home to 16 children ranging in age from 3 to 13 years old. Though the management of the orphanage are doing a wonderful job of raising the children, and have raised a beautiful group of kind, generous and loving children, they are struggling against serious financial difficulties.
The following day Jamie spent a rather long and stressful day in the crazy wholesale food market in downtown old Arusha, buying food supplies for Faraja. On Thursday we delivered the supplies. Once again the timing was perfect as, unaware of the parcels of food we had in our van, the director of Faraja confessed that she had nothing to feed the children that very night.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank anyone and everyone who is associated with or who has contributed to and supported Jamie’s Africa Project for coming to the aid of yet another set of Tanzania’s children’s needs.
Thank you so much for your sharing and for sending us, through Jamie and the Africa Project, a full supply of food for a group of deserving and bright young children who will not go to bed hungry tonight thanks to all of you.
Warmly, Clare Brenton
P.S. I have posted a few photos of the Faraja Orphanage for those of you who would like to see this special place.
Today we attended a formal meeting with the Regional Medical Director of all of Arusha's medical facilities, including the free maternity clinic. This meeting was set up at the request of the Maternity Clinic Doctors who wanted to formally thank the people of San Diego for the very special and much needed gift of the Fetal Heart Monitor and other medical items ordered and paid for through your contributions to Jamies Africa Project.
We actually recieved the equipment yesterday and drove it over to the clinic with the intent of delivering it at that time, however the doctors informed us of the special meeting with the regional director and asked that we wait and present the equipment directly to him in the presence of the doctors, nurses, administrators and other professionals of the area at a meeting set for 10 AM this morning.
We agreed to return today for the presentation, but we were all so excited about the arrival of the heart monitor that we decided to sneak in a trial run using the machine. One very young patient graciously agreed to allow us to observe the procedure as the doctor opened and used the fetal heart monitor for the very first time.
As it happened, the monitor arrived at precisely the moment in time it was needed as this in utero infant turned out to be in extreme distress. The doctors arranged for immediate transportation from the free clinic to the formal medical center to provide more comprehensive care than is possible at the free maternity clinic.
We learned today, that mother and (still in the womb) infant are doing well and being watched closely, but that without the benefit of the fetal heart monitor at the exact moment of its arrival, it is likely that this baby would have not survived due to the lack of ability to diagnose the distress. It was both thrilling and moving to be actually present at the moment of the very first use of this important piece of medical equipment, and to watch as the very first Tanzanian child benefitted from the generosity of San Diego's and other contributors to Jamies Africa Project. (See pictures of yesterday's use of the monitor on the patient mentioned above, and today's formal presentation posted in the photo section of this website.
We also took today's meeting with the general medical community of Arusha, to thank TVE (Tanzanian Volunteer Experience) for taking us to the Women's Medical Center during our tour of Arusha and to let the Clinic know that although TVE does not normally provide volunteers to the clinic unless they have formal medical training, without their sharing the needs of the Tanzanian community in general, I would not have known about this clinic at all, the critical need of this equipment and your contributions would not have been so quickly utilized is such a fundamental and immediate way.
Again, on behalf of the people of Tanzania, I have been asked to offer their deepest gratitude to every single contributor of Jamie's Africa Project
Today we were able to pick up the fetal monitor and one of the screens ordered. The others did not arrive from Nairobi for reasons we do not understand, but should be delivered to us by Thursday of this week. The cases of Fetal Monitor Gel did arrive (thank goodness) so we will be able to deliver the screens, monitor and some of the surgical instruments in the morning.
We hope to be able to watch as the doctor gets his/her first use of this very exciting new addition to the free maternity clinic.
Often there is only one doctor on duty, and he or she is frequently in surgery when we arrive, or in the middle of a delivery, but we are hopeful that we will get some good photos of this new instrument as the doctors get their first use as well.
Everyone is very excited. We have been told that as many as two to three babies per week are lost because the doctors are unable to determine when the baby is "in trouble" and this new piece of equipment will help to determine if immediate intervention is needed.
Thanks to all of your generosity, the women and families of Arusha have asked me to extend their extreme gratitude to each and every one of you.
With continued excitement and growing enthusiasm.....Jamie, (Nasieku, my Masaii name)
Above the town of Arusha there is another Masaii community. This community is much more "westernized" than BUTI Masaii Village where Clare and I built the school.
The cook at the TVE house is a member of that community and invited me to visit and discuss a solar presentation with the tribal chief, president of village, village council, all elders and other members of thsi 800 person community. We were given a complete tour of the camp including all of there "dung based" bio based energy programs, failing attempts at coffee production, the many needs of the school, the HIV/AIDS program which is virtually non existant and still highly rejected morally by both men and women. Condoms are not available at all, and when they are available they are terribly expensive and people are unwilling to ask for them because of the judgements associated with them. The Masai tribal council dancers put on a beautiful dance and singing performance, a "high tea" complete with white table cloths in the middle of a beautiful green pasture, with elegant armchairs. During this visit I was taken into a room, completely undressed and re-dressed in full Masai attire for the ceremonies....It is quite amazing, as I walk through town, notwithstanding my blaring white skin, many masai people stop and ask me if I am Masai? Apparently they do not consider my skin color, only my attire. I am now fully known in the the town of Sakina where I shop and walk for eggs and such, as "the Masai woman" from the West. Some assume I am married to a Masai man, others seem to just accept that because of my attire. I must be Masaii by association of some sort. It is a strange feeling and yet pleasant. I thought people would laugh and think me a crazy wannabe old white lady trying to fit in, but that is not the case...many people stop and greet me with the traditional Masai handshake and head bow.
No more emails for a while....I leave for BUTI MASAII camp tomorrow AM.....I did get a few pics up, and found an IT tech I will try to work with every couple of weeks to get a few more pics posted, but it is a very slow laborious process either due to the website or the slow modum connection, not sure which. But I will have many beautiful photos to show when I get home. Love from Tanzania, Nasieku............(Jamie) P.S. Please use only the gmail address, as the cox.net address not seem to work where....Love, Me.
Sorry for the continued delays with photos. I will try to find an IT tech in Arusha town to help me pull the photos from the puter and get them to the blog site. I have been struggling with this for days without luck.
These past few days have been hectic in preparing to leave for the Masaii village. I have rented a tent, large enough for five people. (Nelly, Angella, Erick and one other person may come out on the weekend after next to visit with me, plus I have to have room for my supplies bin, mattress pad, sleeping pad, etc. I have purchased a solar lantern. The masai use kerosene, but I did not want to have kerosene in my tent as I do not think it is safe to breath. We purchased the wood 10 ft by 5 foot (two of them) and today we will paint them with the special black board paint and I will build a frame for the edge. The carpenter wanted too much money for this simple project. So I will take it on with John, the gardener here at TVE house. I went to the school supplies warehouse and purchased 200 writing journals, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, chalk etc yesterday also.....but ran out of gas as I am struggling with a strep/type cold. Went to the women's clinic and got some antibiotics. Checked on the progress of the fetal heart monitor which should arrive on Saturday, which is good, because then I can deliver it before I leave for Masaii camp on Sunday or monday.
Lastly, yesterday afternoon, I had to go to the Masai market place to purchase the materials to make my garments for the camp. As I indicated, the chief requires that I wear full Massaii women's clothing while teaching the children, out of respect for the culture, including headdress and beads. So I bought my fabric and came home to find that the power was out at the house (quite common). Fortunately, I had my solar lantern which I had just purchased and was able to cut my fabric using the solar lantern. I imagine this middle aged gray haired lady will look quite strange in her full masaii attire, but the Chief is being very flexible and even allowing me to introduce the solar cooking to the women to lessen the wood carrying, so I will accomodate his requests as best I can. There will be a celebration next weekend for the opening of the new school and introduction of the new teacher. A goat will be slaughtered in my honor and there will be dancing and much activity. I am very excited about this. That is why Nelly, Angella and Erik are coming out to share my tent and participate in the celebration. I am planning to spend one month at the camp, perhaps coming home on the weekends for R and R, showers, and real life food and such. So are so good. All is well and I am learning my Masaii, which is entirely different from Swahili. There is no english spoken at the camp, however there are two young boys about 15 and 17 who have some english and may be able to help me some in the classroom. Otherwise it will be lots of pictures and pointing and body language. More later from Nasieku....my given Masaii name.
Today we found a medical supply house in Arusha and were able to order the Fetal Heart Monitor, some much needed stainless steel surgical tools and some bed divider screens (6). They currently have one! When we returned to tell the Dr's of the purchase and delivery in one week, one Doctor began to cry and said "You have no idea how many babies we can save with this machine. We have no way knowing when the babies are in distress and thus we never know when to go in with an emergency C-Section. The nurse took Anna and I (TVE volunteer who was leaving today and who split the costs of the equipment with me before she left), to meet the clinic women. They were so pleased. Some broke into song and all wanted to hug us and have us touch and hold their babies. We have decided if there is money left over at the end of the trip, we will go back and buy clean sheets, blankets, etc. We saw no sheets on the beds while we were there, and some women in labor were laying on the cement floor without even a blanket. I will load pics as soon as possible for you to see the clinic.
Today, Petro, our Masaii cook, will take me to his village to meet the "Shaman" who will decide if I can live within the village. Most people come to visit, but are not allowed to stay in the village, but Petro has been talking to the Shaman about me and says I may be able to pitch a tent within the village as long as I am willing to work with the other women. Masaii women spend most of the day fetching water and collecting wood. This may be a first chance to introduce the solar cooker idea. We will see. I will go and meet the Shaman, check out the "accomodations" and then if allowed, will have to rent a tent, sleeping bag, etc, bring my own water and supplies, simple foods, rice for the cooker,things that will last, and try spending a week to ten days in the village and perhaps return to Angella and Nelly's house on Weekends for showers and R& R. There is small school in the Masaii village where I can teach and use some of the supplies I brought with me, if I meet the requirements of the Shaman...more later.............and hopefully pictures by Monday or Tuesday of Next week.............Kwaheri (Goodbye) and Baadae (See you later). Love, Jamie
Arrived safely at Kilimanjaro. My friends Nelly and Angella were there to meet me with huge smiles and lots of hugs. Drove home in complete pitch blackness with beautiful stars overhead and NO AIRPLANES!
I Spent my first night under the safety of a mosquito net which I am not sure was needed as I have not seen a single bug except for a cricket at the airport.
Today we visited a special education school just outside of Arusha town, run by an ex-special ed teacher from Eastern Tanzania. We also went to a privately run women's maternity center. Women are not required to pay for care here, but the conditions are extremely challenging. Most medical professionals (even volunteers from the US) refuse to work here as the conditions are so difficult. They are desperately in need of a Fetal Heart Monitor and a Sonogram machine. The one female doctor (out of two doctors on site) seems to think that the fetal heart monitor can be purchased for only $500 US from a Kenya Medical Supply house. I will look further into that on the net tonight. Currently, they are using a small device that looks something like a powder horn or a gramophone to put one end in the Dr's ear and the other against Mom's belly, to try and tell if the baby is in distress. If a fetal heart monitor can be purhcased for such a small price, it seems like a good investment. There were more than 30 women there when we arrived, about 10 in labor, and several having just delivered. Will know more later.
Tomorrow we will visit the Cradle of Love, an orphanage for children up to four years old, after which they sent will to the "adult village". After which most become street children if not adopted.
More Later, Kwaheri (Bye for Now), Love, Jamie
Dear Friends and Supporters
This site will keep you posted on everything happening as I travel through Africa. I will post pictures and diary entries as often as possible to let you know how your generous contributions are being used.
There is also an email account associated with this site, if you want to contact me directly for questions or comments.
Please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or
The Gmail Account is probably more reliable for Africa.
If you have SKYPE, you can telephone me, computer to computer at NO CHARGE: jamie21653 is my SKYPE name.
Hi Jamie (and your friend Clare and others there with you)
Great to see the good work you are continuing to do out there. You are looking good on it. I hope that all your (and your co-workers of course) hard work will help to improve the lives of those you are helping long after you leave, particularly the HIV orphans. The safari trip looked great by the way. would love to do that.
A quick word of caution about your future plans to head over towards the Rwandan border. There is a crisis developing on the Rwanda/Congo borders, and though this is some way from where you intend to go, given the volatile nature of the area, it would be as well to try and keep up to date with the situation. Some really heartrending scenes of refugees there.
Keep up the good work and look after yourself.
Following your excellent and impressive adventure. Blogs and photos very interesting. You look to be really enjoying it in spite of the flies, and the Masai look suits you. Take care
Clare Brenton and other TVE volunteers filled in for Jamie at the November 1st Solar Presentation at the Masaii Village in the jungle above Arusha. The community, its tribal council and a large numbers of families actively participated in the all day demonstration.
Members of the community were encouraged to handle, practice setting up and ask questions about how the cookits work. Several cookits purchased by The Africa Project were donated to the village to practice solar cooking. Clare and others will follow up on their use and advise community members on how to obtain these cookits through the Africa Project, or through Solar Cookers International directly.
Community members were impressed by the versatility as well as the speed of the cookits. Everyone especially enjoyed the two different desserts prepared by Clare and her fellow TVE volunteers.
Four separate dishes (see journal entry) were prepared as instructions were handed out in both English and Swahili.
In the jungle above Arusha lies a small orphanage called Faraja. The faces of Faraja's children are always filled with smiles and hope. There is no competition here, only love and support for one another. Every child looks after every other. Although there are many orphanages in and around Arusha, Faraja has a special aura. "You take care of me and I'll take care of you." That is what you feel when you visit Faraja.
With sixteen kids during the week and 23 on the weekends, laundry day is every day and everybody pitches in.
While I did not work at Faraja. I visited there often and fell in love with this group of wonderful children who have learned to take care of one another in the absence of parents there to do so. Each of these kids is desperately in need of a sponsor to be able to attend school, afford a uniform and create a life for when they are too old to stay at Faraja.
Neither can I. It seems to be the carrot cutting, boot storing area.........hmmmmm not sure I have an area like that in my home. But space is critical at Faraja and every room has dual purposes.
Older children always participate in the preparation of meals, from slaughtering a chicken, (when there is one, a great treat) to cleaning and sorting the rice and beans. All household tasks take on a "family" feeling as everybody pitches in.
This is the one and only classroom at Faraja. In the mornings, the little ones are taught here while some of the older kids go off to the local school. Needless to say, supplies are sparse and much is needed in the way of school supplies.
Normally, this room is used to store supplies. ON this day, there were none. The small sacks to the left used to be bags of rice, beans, sugar and corn, but are empty now. This was the store room when I learned of the food shortage and asked for your support in agreeing to do a major food shopping for Faraja.
Are we just bein' silly or what?
Erick the TVE driver, takes volunteers on the long and bumpy road into the jungle every afternoon, to make sure that everyone makes it to their placement. He is a gem!
Mostly, Faraja kids just want to be cuddled and held. Afternoons were often spent just playing and walking and trying to have enough hands to hold all the little ones that were reaching out.
Ana was a volunteer who left shortly after I arrived. Thankfully, Clare arrived soon after to take over afternoon volunteering at Faraja. Everytime a new volunteer arrives, the kids cleverly maneuver for prime attention position. Volunteers spread the love.
Soccer remains the game of choice at Faraja in the afternoons. Many volunteers spend hours just playing with the children. Attention and affection seems to be the most needed commodity at Faraja and the generous volunteers make sure there is plenty to go around.
Faraja houses 16 fulltime children and and an additional six whose parents cannot afford to care for them, so they stay during the week and go on home visits on weekends.
TVE Volunteers have started building the coop for the new chicken raising project at Faraja. Hopefully, the new flock will provide eggs for the children as well as a beginning income to help Faraja become self-sustaining.
The Africa Project purchased a load of major food supplies which arrived just as Faraja had run completely out of food. Bags of rice, beans, corn, fresh vegetables, fruit, cooking oil and other necessities were greeted with smiles of delight and surprise as the director told us she had no food to feed the children that night.
Everybody excitedly helps to unload the goodies.
Clare watches as one of the children discovers a bag of oranges! Fresh fruit is NEVER one of the affordable basics for the Faraja children and the discovery of this bag of fruit was a huge surprise.
Even fresh tomatoes and carrots were a big hit! You gotta love kids who love veggies.
Where's Waldo? Who is more excited here? Clare or the kids?
We weren't sure that Gumballs were a staple on Faraja's diet, but Erick (the TVE driver and I who did the shopping) decided that a giant tub of gumballs seemed like a necessity. Along with some TP of course.
Soccor games are popular every afternoon at Faraja. Volunteers join in and sometimes "playing" is the gift of the day.
According to our guard, there had been enough rainfall that many members of the herd did not make the trek of the migration and chose to stay behind to graze. We were lucky to see so many wildebeest, bison and zebra as they would noramlly be gone by now.
Aparently it is rare to see the giant male lion out in daylight since it is the females that do the majority of the hunting. This big fellow was just milling around with a full tummy and a fresh kill of wildebeest a few feet away.
This fellow walked right up to the water's edge, laid down and let me take his picture with a full reflection in the water. It doesn't get any better than that.
These nasty grunting creatures were snorting and digging for grubs everywhere we went......wasn't this guy in the Lion King? He looks familiar?
Thsi beautiful Male walked right up to this pool of water and posed so that I could take his picture with his reflection in the water. Amazing!
On our final day of Safari, Clare and I rose at 5:30 AM, had an early breakfast and drove into the Ngorogoro crater in search of the final of the "Big Five". Clare's Rhino. It was cold and foggy up top and even colder down inside the crater.
Big cats were sleeping everywhere. We were able to view nearly all of the so-called "Big Five". The only animal we didn't find was the elusive Rhino.
We were lucky and had several close encounters with male lions, both in Serengeti and in the Crater.
This grand fellow got out of the pond and stood for photos just as we arrived on the crater floor. He quicly returned to the water, but not before we were able to get several excellent photos.
From our very first day on the road, we were surrounded by babies of every conceivable type. Monkeys, baboons, Hyenas, Zebras and even loads of baby elephants and giraffes. Although the babies seemed to run and play wildly, fiercely protective mothers were always near by and we could first hear, and then see them in the brush nearby.
This big fella was standing right outside the front of our lodge on the morning of our first big game drive...we had not even left the parking lot!
Wildebeest were everywhere on the Serengeti, despite the fact that the migration time had passed. Apparently they stayed this season due to heavier than usual rains. Normally, they would would cross the Mara River and not return until Mid December. We got lucky!
Apparently it is very rare to catch a hippo out of the water. We had a great guide who seemed to always have us in the right place at the right time.
Was he just waiting to have his photo taken?
Hideous looking little creatures....these little warthogs were everywhere.........digging for roots and following along behind the zebra and wildebeests who migrate together.
The zebras were everywhere. We found them in Lake Mayanara, the Serengeti and even down in the Ngorogoro Crater.
This big guy stepped right out the woods as we drove along this deserted dirt road and walked right across the path in front of us. He clearly OWNED the road.
Even Buffalo are found in the Ngorogoro Crater. Huge Beasts much larger than the buffalo found here in the U.S.
After days and days of searching, we finally found Clare's much longed for Rhino........or course he was painted on the wall of the gift shot, but, he WAS a rhino!
The TUPO founder and Director thanks all of San Diego (and all the other contributors of the Africa Project along with Alex from TVE, for the seed money to start the sewing project.
Presentation of Grant Award money to begin orphan Children's School Uniform Project. We funded it!
The membership gathers to received the Sewing Project Grant on Wednesday afternoon.
Because it is so hot, the windows are often left open even at night, but the labor and delivery rooms do not have mosquito nets, so we have agreed to purchase a full set of nets for each of the 20 beds in the labor room.
Despite the lack of staffing, the doors are always open at Arusha's only free maternity clinic.
Delivery Room at the Clinic...the single privacy screen at the rear is the only one at the clinic...we purchased six of these along with the fetal monitor.
Entrance to the "waiting area" where more than 80 women and babies wait each day, hoping to be seen by a doctor or nurse.
This is what the building looked like when Clare and I first arrived. All of this debris had to be removed and relocated, bucket by bucket before we could even begin to turn this space into a school.
Using buckets and long two by fours as push brooms, we discovered that we actually had a cement floor, and not a dirt floor underneath all of the rubble. Slowly, the room began to take shape. We even discovered that a plaster "chalk board shelf" had been built onto one wall, and resolved to find the paint to turn that into a real chalk board.
Clare and I worked bucket by bucket as warriors stood and watched, until finally I demanded that they participate in the heavy lifting. Some did and seemed to take pride in participating in the building of their own school, others reverted to the practice of allowing women to do the heavy labor.
When we started, this is what the building looked like.
When Clare and I arrived, this is where the children were holding daily classes.
This stick structure held over 80 children crammed into just 20 desks. Many children sat on the floor, or listened from outside the stick fencing.
As soon as we cleared the rubble, the desks from the old school were carried down by the children and introduced into the new building. The children were so excited we could barely keep them under control. When they saw their new (real chalk board) and pile of school supplies, squeals of glee erupted!
First Day of teaching.....full use of our spectacular new chalk board!
The BUTI teachers are not Masaii women. They come from a village several hours away and walk to the school each day and leave again at night. A fulltime teacher, to live at the camp is desperately needed, but the money is not available. Clare and I have created a living space between the two school rooms, where the teachers could live and sleep, if one can be found that is willing to live at the camp.
Often, adult male warriors would come and ask to be taught after the children's classes were over. There was a real desire to learn english demonstrated by many of the Masaii men.
Even after hours...........community members would show up at the school and ask for English Lessons.
Each day was a trek across this open plain from the tent to the school. Quiet and serene, the land, though barren, was comforting and beautiful, quiet in the early morning and only the cows could be heard in the distance.
Always worth waiting for..........after a long day, mother nature treated us to this beautiful sunset each evening.
Students paid close attention as Clare explained each excersize, then went around the room to check their work...something we had the feeling had never happened before.
This little fellow had his hand up everytime a problem went up on the board. Bright little mind desperately need of a decent teacher for the new Masaii School. We so wished we could stay and do more.
Our first students, 12 adult Masaii Warriors who wish to learn English NOW!
Our neurotic house turtle is gently counseled by Nacieku, prior to leaving for Masaii camp. Kobe is forced to live in daily fear of a wildly uncontrollable house dog, and is constantly fighting for his life in the backyard. Nacieku worries for his safety in her absence.
Every day, hundreds of cattle are driven past our tent, morning and just at dusk. Although dusty, it is actually quite soothing and enjoyable to watch the cattle lumber back into the pen across from our tent and then fall asleep to the gentle mooing of hundreds of cattle.
He always has this peaceful contented smile on his face and shows such a gentle, kind and loving side for such a massive and tall warrior. He is Cheif Leyboni's son and spends nearly all day watching over us....when he is not counting and watching over his cattle. He wanted to buy Clare for 100 goats....already has 2 wives, though...youngest is 11 and has a 9 month old baby. I love the gentle way he looks at me though.
Clare nearly makes it home, when she is sidetracked and required to skin and gut a freshly slaughtered calf. This gal does it all!
In the shade beside Naima's Boma, playing with her beautiful babies.
The students seem to especially love following Clare home, after she has delighted them with a calf skinning demonstration. (We think it may be the flies that seem to attract them as well).
Mr. Leyboni, Chief and my new best friend wants a school...I want to teach solar cooking....we reach an agreement and for the first time, non-masaii are permitted to move onto the camp land.
Prior to moving to the village, Chief Leyboni required that I be willing to do all things Masaii women would do. I was to dress is Masaii attire at all times, I was to participate in the daily beading sessions, carry water and wood and also get the school opened and ready.
I would do all things Masaii...........except carry water and wood, because of my back condition, and Mr. Leyboni would allow the teaching of the solar cooking to the women of the camp.
Clare and I have decided that mud hut living is not for us. We will rent a tent and live outside the BOMA using sleeping bags and mosquito nets. These little structures are very dark and very smokey inside and since we would be doing all our cooking by solar cookit, we opted to have a bit more space and air.
This is Saitoti, the Son of the Chief of Buti Masaii Village.
Delivering Boxes of School Supplies to the new building.
Jamie and Clare, along with our new neighbors, in front of our newly pitched tent and soon to be new home.
Solar Cooking 101: Clare introduces solar to the BOMA, the center of the village "plaza" as curious onlookers watch intently.
Some days there was just no keepin' this gal away from calf skinning!
As part of our Masaii women duties, Clare and I were required to join the women of the village (after a full morning of teaching) to learning the Masaii way of beading. Beading is a key to the economic survival of the tribe and each piece is unique and meaningful in its own way.
With a smile like this..............who needs a bathroom and running water?
Each night we were treated to the beauty of this amazing African sunset, just behind this enormous BaoBao tree directly in front of the entryway to our tent. The labors of the days melted away as we marveled at the luck of the opportunity we were sharing with this group of truly gentle, loving and peaceful human beings.
Although not as enthusiastic as Clare, I gave it a shot. I must admit, it was not a task I would want to do on a daily basis, but we promised to learn all things Masaii woman, and so we both did our best to comply with any and all requests. We weren't sure if we were being given a task or offered a privileged opportunity when this task came our way.........still aren's quite sure. We think the women considered it something we might like to participate in and learn.
Cooking on the fires inside the Boma Huts is overwhelming. Very dark. Impossibly smokey, difficult to see what you are doing and aboslutely no ventilation. This is why the solar option is such a good and practical idea for the Masaii.
Petro's village held a welcoming luncheon and tea, with English china, tea cups and saucers, white table clothes and formal ceremonial dancing in full Masaii attire. They also honored me with my first complete Masaii warddrobe including wraps, belts, headdresss, jewelry and all. It was a scene straight from the Movie "Out of Africa". We spent the entire day viewing their various eco projects, bio gas heating project based on cow dung, bee keeping, irrigation for coffee planting, and much more. All of this to thank the "Africa Project" for the delivery of school supplies. We have never felt more welcomed and appreciated.
Dressed in Traditional Attire for the celebration, I was invited to participate in the dancing portion of the program. (I am the one in purple, second from the right).
Although Masaii, most of these villagers are more "westernized" and do not wear traditional Masaii attire except on special occassions. This community has a bee keeping project, a bio-gas energy project and is working hard toward becoming self-sustaining and non-governmental dependent.
Yes, it's sad but true...........even the Masaii warriors are carrying cell phones in the jungles of Tanzania!
Two chief physicians at Women's Maternity Center happily receive the fetal monitor.
TVE Coordinators Angele Leng'ete, Alex and contributor Jamiepresent the first of 5 privacy screens to be delivered for the labor and delivery room. There is currently only one! More to arrive next week from Nairobi.
Formal Meeting with Arusha Regional Hospital Director as the Fetal Monitor is presented by Jamie and TVE staff member Alex. Administrators and physicians from all over Arusha were in attendance to thank the "Jamie's Africa Project" contributors.
Dozens of people excitedly opened and examined the new screens which will allow women in very close proximity to labor with some degree of dignity and privacy for the very first time!
The New screens are a much needed addition to the labor room as currently, there are 20 beds in a very small space with little room between each bed.
The women do not complain, but clearly appreciate having the ability to experience their labors without other patients and babies just feet away from their beds. Also, these screens allow doctors to provide examinations of patients, with some degree of privacy as they monitor their dilation, etc.
On the day of its arrival, Dr's tried out the new Fetal heart monitor and this patient discovered that her baby was in extreme distress. She was immediately transfered to the regional hospital where Mom and (still in utero) baby are doing fine.....thanks to the arrival of the Fetal Monitor at exactly the right time. YAY!
Our "suite" in the Lake Mayanara Lodge was delightful. A beautiful pool, beautiful view from our room and spectacular food!
Nacieku was the first one into the water after a full day of game driving. Amazing view of the Laka Mayanara Valley..
One of our first major sitings were the hippos. According to our driver, finding them out of the water was a real rarity and we were very lucky to spot one large female standing fully posed for a photo.
This photo was taken atop the mountain as we headed down into the Seregenti Plain Valley. Do these two gals look like partners or what?
Although I mostly got referred to as Clare's "MOM"....we truly felt like girlfriends on a great adventure. A friendship formed that will last a lifetime.
One of few great landscape shots taken by Jamie (Clare had the better camera) this shot was taken again, as the top of the mountain before descending into Seregenti plain.
Different in color and pattern, these two beauties grazed within feet of our landrover lending themselves to a series of great photo opportunities.
Their beauty dots the plains everywhere here and no where else.
I got the photo at the top of this website off the internet. Clare managed to capture an almost identical red sunset in real life. This girls' got photo talent!
Our driver/guide spotted this handsome cat perched about 50 yards away, blending perfectly into his environment. Clare's wonderful camera and zoom capacity caught his as he went through his tree climbing movements before our very eyes.
Much larger than the Bison found in the U.S. They seem to show no fear of humans or vehicles and travelled freely with other migrating creatures such as the Zebras and the Wildebeest.
Just below this photo you have the opportunity to sit and watch all or part of a spectacular slideshow of the highlights of the combined photos of Clare and Jamie's safari....It's true, we took way too many photos, but if you select the slideshow option, you can just sit back and dream about what we saw up close and real. GO FOR IT!
Really big ones! The black ones are the males and the gray/brown ones are the females.
Clare captures a female lioness out for a quick hunt.
Clare was in a photo shooting frenzy as this big fella moved and streached....had to drag her away from the tree kicking and screaming. Thankfully we had all three of her BIG CATS already spotted. Gawd help up if we don't find her Rhino......
This picture was taken from our room sitting atop the Ngorogoro crater. We had a picture window view from the top of the crater into the crater floor below, where we would rise early and seek our final critter.....Clare's precious Rhino. But first..a little wine and a nice dinner in the lodge.
As Masaii women we more or less fit it...but I think the BCBG sunglasses were a bit of a give away.
Lining up for goodies handed out by Nacieku
Welcomed with open arms, dressed with dignity, provided with jewelry and gifts and then invited to dance with the tribal dances. I WAS A MASAII WOMAN!
Will you miss me? Will you come to the U.S. and visit? Do you know how very special and sweet you are? Nacieku Loves You.