Thursday, June 2, 2011

April 2011

Pictured: Elia enjoying the fruits of his labour after the Easter Egg Hunt from 2010.
Photo by Bridget Marchesi


Easter is a HUGE holiday in Tanzania. At the Children’s village, all of the children were invited to Fox's lodge to drink soda and participate in
the annual Easter egg hunt and water balloon fight with the guests.
For the Easter egg hunt, all of the older children staying at the
lodge took a younger child from the orphanage (and the older children
from the orphanage took a younger child from the lodge) to help lead
around to find eggs. For the water balloon fight, all of the fathers
(including a couple male guardians from the orphanage) stood in the
middle of a circle while all of the kids blasted them with water!
After all of the fun at the lodge, everyone came back to the orphanage
and cleaned up for dinner. We had a wonderful meal (so much food!)
and afterward everyone piled into the living room to watch Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang with the donated VCR before heading back to their

Home Based Care
In April, the three-week Home Based Care volunteer training was
completed. Ten people from the five villages in Mdabulo Ward were
selected to participate. The selection process was quite involved;
Peace Corps Volunteer, and Foxes’ NGO volunteer Meredith Pinto worked with Dr. Maganga and they first approached each
village government. They asked the government for the names of 4
people whom they thought would be compassionate and who are already doing similar volunteer work. Then those 4 people from each village (20 in all) came to take a test about HIV and Health so the NGO could get an idea of their baseline knowledge. (In addition we could find
out if they could read and write as well; an important prerequisite!)
Home Based Care is already in the government health care system, they just don't have enough money to train and employ the number of people needed to really make the program effective. As it is, there is
already a shortage of nurses and doctors in the country, they're
focusing on recruiting and training more of those higher level
specialists first. But the program has already been developed, and
all of the training materials are available. That meant all we
had to do as an NGO was find good people in the village and pay for
their training.
Two government trainers came from Mafinga to give the training. After
3 weeks of classroom time, book work, and practice in the villages,
they 'graduated' and received their certificates. The volunteers
learned about symptoms of HIV/AIDS and all of the opportunistic
secondary infections people get from the virus. They learned about
TB, nutrition, mother/child health, and how to communicate
effectively. They are now able to go to their neighbor's house,
gather clues from that person's environment, and counsel them on all
of the most common health problems one encounters in the village.
This program has, without a doubt, the opportunity to impact almost
every person in every village. And on a personal note: while we are
most assuredly starting out small, there is no end to the positive
growth this program could realize in the village.

Igoda Community Hall
The NGO hosted its second basket weaving meeting at the Ukumbi, and 27 women from Igoda village came to improve their skills by learning from our best weavers in the village. In addition to the women improving their weaving skills (and thus making their baskets more marketable to the outside world), they seem to really enjoy the camaraderie and group support they receive at these meetings. The women stay all day, weaving and talking with their peers.

A seminar was also held at the Ukumbi to teach local church leaders about HIV/AIDS, and what they can do to mentor the members of their
congregation. Nineteen church leaders (6 from Luhunga ward and 13
from Mdabulo ward) came and were taught about what HIV/AIDS is, how it's transmitted, and how they can help their community by talking
about the problem in their sermons, going with their members to get
tested, and to talk about ARV's and the importance of taking the
medicine exactly as prescribed.

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