Wednesday, April 20, 2011
December 2009, January & February 2010 (2yrs in 20 days continued)
Pictured: Celebration of World AIDS Day at the Igoda Community Hall December 1st, 2009. the event also marked the opening of the Community Hall. The perfect village-led event to signify what the community hall will mean to the community in Mufindi.
We have a new addition to the Children’s Village (Orphanage) as a two-month premature baby was brought to our doorstep after the Mother passed away at childbirth. We are hearing more and more horror stories about the maternal care at Mafinga hospital, and unfortunately this is another sad story. The mother passed away after the over-worked staff forgot to remove the afterbirth. Stories like these make us anxious to open our facility in the village so the people of our rural area can get the quality health care they deserve.
The little girl is doing great now, and the mothers at the houses held a meeting with all of the children to decide what to name the child. The result: Antonia. The terminology for the Orphanage itself is changing as well. We haven’t liked the term ‘orphanage,’ especially as the facility is not necessarily present for the purposes of the traditional adoption processes, but instead gives the children an upbringing similar to that which they might have in the village. For this reason we have leaned towards calling this a children’s village. As for now we have a loving environment where children are raised by Tanzanian mothers using the same values that are present in the village, and so it matters very little what it is called, as it is working great!
There is also a sad story that we have discovered this month that we hope will have a happy ending. Faleda is a 17 year old girl in Form 4 in secondary school who has been living with her sister and brother in law while she attends Luhunga Secondary School and completes her secondary education. Recently the brother in law has been put in jail as he raped Faleda, and Faleda became pregnant as a result. Normally, when a girl becomes pregnant in secondary school she is forced to leave school. The school made an exception given the circumstances, and said as long as there was a place for the child to be raised while Faleda gets schooling, Faleda could continue her education. Unfortunately Faleda is an orphan, and her own relatives came to us to ask if we could help. They’ve pledged to make monthly contributions to the children’s village while the child (only nearly two months old) stayed at the center temporarily. We are happy that Faleda will get to continue her education, and we are confident her child will be in good hands until Faleda is ready to take her back in.
Our Community Outreach program is a project designed to address our first goal for care for Orphans- that of caring for children as they live in the village, by supporting them and their families. This has included the dispensing of basic needs such as blankets, clothes, soap, and school supplies to those families in most need, and especially those caring for Orphans in the villages in our area. In addition to this, we are starting some income generating projects for these families so they can have some self-sustainable income in order to provide for their families.
All of the chicken coups in the village are still running and each family is trying hard to maintain their project through the rainy season. Each family is showing great effort and pride in their project, so we hope this will lead to a successful year by the end of 2010.
Akida Mdalingwa’s research project is more than half completed, and it appears to be a big step in knowing the kinds of ways we may help various families in our surrounding area. We are working with him already to have the resources dolled out to families in need from the villages he has already visited and catalogued. This will be an extremely valuable resource to us as it will not only give us a great picture of the overall area to which we are working with, but it will also give us the information we need to go forward with any income generating projects.
Dr. Leena Pasanen continues to be a tremendous asset to the surrounding area, and indeed to the NGO. While other project volunteers were absent over the new year, she held a larger number of clinics at the local dispensaries and local gathering spots. She is now back with the volunteers giving the home based care service that is so desperately needed in our area where so many live extremely far distances from any local health facility.
The Mdabulo Care and Treatment Clinic is potentially the NGO project with the most impact in terms of literally saving lives. The building has the sole specific purpose for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. To give an idea of the need for this building- two times each month the staff from the closest facility of its kind (over 50km away in the town of Mafinga) comes to give partial CTC services. Each visit, which lasts from 6 to 10 hours, is met with over 300 patients arriving to be treated. When completed, the building will give full-time services, and the desperately needed full-time prevention methods of education and testing that have the potential to completely alter the devastating toll this disease is taking on the people of this area. This project is virtually complete! We await word from an organization under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) called Tunajali (We Care) who have promised to furnish the building once construction is complete. All painting and wiring, and major construction needs are complete, and so we will see what resources come in the following month from the Tunajali program. We are excited that this project is nearly ready to be opened as it is will be such a tremendous help to this community where HIV is so prevalent.
Chogo Health Dispensary
Chogo Dispensary is located in a village over 100km from the closest town (Mafinga) in the Ward of Mapanda. It is a completely isolated area, and has a health dispensary similar to Ibwanzi’s facility before FCWCT made the additions. Even further away from any form of quality health care than Ibwanzi, Chogo’s isolation makes it impossible for people to get the health care they deserve. If Chogo upgrades to a health center, it would be a welcomed community development project from which thousands of people would benefit. As of the end of February, all that is needed for completion are the doors, some plastering, and bathroom fixtures to be installed. One more load of resources will need to be brought out to the facility that will include beds and other hospital supplies donated to us from the UK and Canada from the containers that have been sent. We again give a special thanks to Marion Gough here, as she is tirelessly finishing up work on another container as we speak!
Igoda Primary School Community Hall
On December 1st, 2009 the Community Hall at Igoda Primary School in Igoda village was host to a World AIDS day event that was commemorated by the entire Iringa Region. The Community Hall’s opening came off as scheduled on World AIDS day and it hosted all of the events for the celebrations on the day. The building was officially opened by Regional Commissioner’s office of Iringa Region, and the day was full of events that were entirely run by members of the villages. Each village from Luhunga Ward gave a performance, and six HIV+ members of the community gave testimonials on how getting tested and having treatment changed their lives, and they were able to live again. Adjacent to the community hall was a testing center where hundreds of people were tested throughout the day. The day was a great celebration and all local officials attended. It was the perfect event to start off the use of the building as it was run by the village, for the village, and it highlighted it’s use as an educational resource for the area, especially in regards to prevention education. The hall will also be used as a classroom for Adult Education, a meeting room for grandmother’s to come together and discuss issues in the village, and there is a room for the community outreach offices.
During this time the NGO also helped Igoda primary in its attempt to get some income from an ongoing project the school has initiated on their own. The school has kept 30,000 tea plants for planting and selling. Upon request the NGO ploughed a field near the school where these plants will planted to become part of a project for the school to earn some supplementary income to pay for volunteer teaching, or other resources.