Thursday, June 2, 2011
Pictured: Felista Mpangile, 11 years old. Her story will be remembered but not repeated as a new CD4 Machine is coming to Mufindi.
Photo by Bridget Marchesi
Tree orchard planting has begun, and a cabbage patch has been started as well this year, as we continue to try to start projects that will hopefully bring an income to the project over some time. This will not only bring down running costs of the children’s village, but will also teach the children the value of generating their own income.
We had an amazing story as part of our Mother and child health program through the children’s Village this month. Kwini Mliwa is 18 months old and is HIV+ and has only her Mother, elderly Grandmother, and aunt as family support. Kwini’s Mother, Jeni Koga, is HIV+ and has Tuberculosis, and Kwini’s Aunt is also sick with HIV. When Kwini was a young infant she suffered from Meningitis, which may have caused a stroke on the left side of her body, and since then Kwini’s left foot has bent inwards almost like a club foot. Throughout this last year we have introduced Kwini and her Mother to all of our volunteers who are experts in the field of physiotherapy, or people living with physical disabilities, and Kwini’s Mother has been taught exercises to help Kwini’s physical development. Foxes' NGO volunteer Dr. Leena Pasanen also has given Kwini a shoe that has helped with her physical rehabilitation. For two weeks (during Dr. Leena’s stay in January) because Kwini wasn’t gaining any weight, she came to the Children’s Village to get healthier, and her Mother came as well to learn good nutrition and better hygiene. On Dr. Leena’s last day of her January visit she gave Kwini and her Mother permission to return home to Mkonge village as her health had improved, and Kwini has since been enrolled as a member of the milk formula program which has helped her gain weight. The miraculous development this month came as the exercises, the corrective shoe, and good nutrition, have combined to help Kwini to stand. She is now able to walk with the assistance of holding on to furniture or her mother’s hand. This means that there is a very high likelihood that Kwini will be able to walk as a young girl.
This month we were blessed with a return of a special family from Canada to whom the NGO owes an incredible debt of gratitude. Kate and Patrick Ney and their three children, Josiah, Caleb, and Mathew (Foo), were with the NGO at its infancy back in 2007, and they are greatly responsible for the programs that are underway now, and most importantly perhaps, for the opening of the Children’s Village. The Neys were here at a very critical stage of the NGO’s development and they now have come back for a visit, and it is so encouraging and refreshing to see how well they are remembered. It has been almost 2 and half years since they are here, and yet so many in the villages around remember them and the work they’ve done. Dr. Patrick is helping with the medical side of things at the Children’s Village between Dr. Leena’s 10-day visits, and Kate is starting projects with many of the other children including letter writing and arts and crafts.
Income Generating Projects
The Income Generating Projects are also getting a boost through Kate Ney being here. Armed with materials brought from Canada, and fresh ideas for batiking, the batik project is up and running again after the return of leader Christina Mvinge (Mama Rehema) who is back from maternity leave. The Batik project will hopefully revitalize this woman’s group and get them a reliable income again.
Another income generating project consisting of women’s groups is our groups of women that have been making baskets. The quality of these baskets has really improved in the last year, and the inclusion of using batik material in the weaving of the baskets has really been a hit. One woman, Sila Ngigwa, has transformed this project and has turned this into a great art form. We’re hoping to expand our markets even more this year as the quality has improved, and baskets are no longer being purchased just out of pity.
Mdabulo Hospital, and Care and Treatment Clinic
Dr. Abdallah Maganga officially joined us this month officially in his role as consultancy General Physician and Care and Treatment Clinic Director. He will be working at Mdabulo five days a week, and comes to us at such a critical time as the Care and Treatment Clinic gets underway and building at the health facility continues. His start this month was facilitated by a Canadian donor which sponsors him for his first year of service, and through a timely donation from a an Orphans in the Wild UK donor which enabled us to refurbish his housing accommodations. The UK donation also allows us to put a roof on the extension to the health facility we have made that will include an x-ray room, surgical theatres, a dental room, optical theatre, and all the functioning rooms a hospital needs for proper operation.
The biggest news we’ve had in a long time came this month as we found a way to get a CD4 Machine actually purchased. Through many inquiries on behalf of African Book Box across Canada and around the world Anne Pearson, Ruth James, and their friends and families put in a lot of valuable time making connections and getting us a great deal on a machine that will be the heart of the Care and Treatment Clinic. Steven Lewis, the famous former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, was of assistance himself eventually making the last connection through the Clinton Foundation, and finding a way for us to get the machine unfettered by normal bureaucratic hoops. Deliver may happen as early as next month, and in the meantime we are all breathing a large sigh of relief as this will eliminate the unnecessary deaths of children like Felista Mpangile, and others who have slipped through the cracks of an overwhelmed system.
The Clinic itself is now the host of the CTC days that are now occurring twice per week, and this means that the build built through funds from Mufindi Orphans Inc. donations is now in use! Soon the facility will be in full use with the crown jewel of the treatment plan in place.
Luhunga Secondary School
We were blessed again this year with a visit from the African Book Box Society ladies- Anne Pearson and Ruth James! These two have been visiting us regularly since 2005, and this year they were able to stay in the Protea House- a house they’ve sponsored that they’ve graciously opened up for volunteer use.
A huge book order was made this year with many books going to local primary schools and many more going to Luhunga Secondary School Library. Construction on the library at Luhunga Secondary is nearing completion as the ceiling has been installed and all that remains are the window shutters, doors, shelving and furniture, and then it will be time to bring on the books! Candidates were interviewed by Anne and Ruth themselves this month, and Leudi Mtende
will be this school’s librarian full-time, and the Luhunga Secondary School board will determine the schedule. The Luhunga Library will also be furnished with computers donated through connections made by Orphans in the Wild, and we are hoping that IT teachers will come from a University in Iringa called Tumaini University that is considering sending students for their field experience to this school to be teachers. This will be a dynamic learning facility that we hope will increase the quality of education in the way that Igoda Primary has improved since the NGO’s interventions in recent years.
Igoda Primary School and Igoda Community Hall
Results from the national exams have come out and Igoda Primary School is still turning out results that are among the best in the nation’s rural schools. Out of 158 schools in the Mufindi district, Igoda Primary placed 20th in 2010. In Iringa region, the school placed 50th out of 853 schools! This year we hoping to start the process of sharing these successes and having some of the projects at the school replicated at other schools. The first of these projects may be the school kitchen program that has been a tremendous success. We will see if other schools can use the Igoda model to generate success in other schools therefore improving education for countless other children in Mufindi and hopefully beyond.
This month Anne Pearson and Ruth James organized a performance of Princess and the Pea, which was performed by Igoda Primary School Students for over 300 grandmothers and grandfathers as part of the monthly tea event. All Igoda School students attended, and so over 800 people saw the performance! The performance was very exciting and the children had such a great time performing. It was great to see the cross-generational event go off as such as a success!