Monday, April 25, 2011

July 2010 (2 years in 20 days continued)

Pictured: Inside the Igoda Community Hall which hosts a bevy of events and performances primarily educating the community on the dangers of HIV/AIDS

After the tragedy of last month, it was great to see the children have fun again. Each year on saba saba (means seven seven for July 7th- a national holiday in Tanzania) the Children’s village celebrates its anniversary. This year marks three years since the first children, Issa, Willi, Remijio, and Moses, entered the children’s village. The children’s village celebrated the occasion with a goat roast, and many songs and dances. The guardians all had matching outfits made for the occasion and even performed a few songs for the children. It was a great day, and it was heart-warming to see all of the children so happy again. It was a cathartic experience really, and it was a celebration that encompassed everything that this project is all about.
We have had two new additions to the children’s village this month as well: Dismas Mkonye, 14, and his younger Sister Matilda Mkonye 12. The children come from an abusive home and it was suggested by the village that the children live at the Children’s Village until their guardians in the village become more fit for caring for children. The children are back in school after being denied the right of education at home, and the relatives are happy that the children are in a safe loving environment.

Results from the research report we have been working on have come in. We hope to update this easily each year or every 6 months now that we have the original data. The number tallied in this report really give us an idea of the hard-work and dedication that has been put into the Community Outreach program. 1000 kids in the project area, and over 2500 adults etc.

Dr. Leena Pasanen
Dr. Leena continues to impress us as she has been invited this year to speak at an International event in Finland this year on World AIDS Day December 1st. She has already mentioned that she will take the opportunity to honour the passing of Felista Mpangile by highlighting the injustice that still exists in regards to rural health care in the world’s poorest countries. The hope is that Felesta’s passing will not be in vain, and that measures will be taken from everyone involved that we do not have another example of this preventable tragedy. We are honoured to have Dr. Leena with us and by our side, and we wish her all the best on her speaking engagement in December! We are sad that she will miss the planned festivities at the Igoda Community Hall, but we are happy that she will help us tell Felista’s story.

Igoda Community Hall
Exams are in for the adult English class in Igoda village where classes are taking place at the Igoda Community. It seems this year’s students are very serious about studying, and we are sharing ideas with more leaders in the village through this class as well as getting closer to the community through the forum of education. The adult education classes have already introduced us to some of the community’s most proactive leaders. In addition, the adult Engligh classes have produced some of our best NGO leaders including Yusto Chumi, the Igoda school librarian, and Yasinta Lunyali who is now a care-giver at the children’s village and was an integral part in organizing the World AIDS Day event last year that opened the Igoda Community Hall to the public.
Events at the Community Hall are going along nicely. Bibi and Babu tea day (grandmother and grandfather) has been a great success! At this month’s Bibi tea day over 75 grandmothers arrived from various villages in our area. Our Canadian friends from African Book Box Society, who wanted a project to show appreciation to the grandmothers in our area, started this idea of serving tea to the elderly in our area. The role of the grandmother in today’s sub-saharan Africa has now become globally recognized as heroic. Through the community outreach program we have seen in our area the difference these grandmothers are making in respects to orphan and child-care. Many households are led by grandmothers who’s own children have passed away due to HIV, leaving the grandmother the work of caring for several of her grandchildren. We have met so many inspiring women who are courageously taking on this responsibility and giving their grandchildren a chance at education and a good life.
Another event we’ve been very pleased with is the Oral History Day we have had now with two secondary schools in the area in attendance. Oral History Day is a chance for the area’s most elderly to share stories from Mufindi’s past, and to keep alive the history and traditions that this area has. It is also exciting to have this history passed on in its traditionally Africa manner- that of story-telling. We have had two History Days already. One ‘oral history day’ was attended by students from Mdabulo Secondary School, and another from Luhunga Secondary School. Each school brought most of their entire student body, and it was great to hear the student’s laughter and acknowledgement at the stories that the area’s elderly shared. We look forward to this event reoccurring as we further document the area’s history, and give the secondary school students a piece of their past that they can take with them, and share with their grandchildren.

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