Sunday, November 04, 2007

Update from Elliot

Elliot has spent long hours working to accomplish several goals for Project Kesho. Elliot is continuing to gather information about our target communities so that Project Kesho can understand the complex nature of these communities' needs and struggles, and the strengths present in these communities. He is also working hard to improve both the Lundamatwe and Ulonge Primary Schools before the start of the new school year in January. The improvements include more desks, more textbooks, improved uniforms, a new classroom at Ulonge and working to improve the village heath clinic to better meet the needs of the school children and the other villagers. Not only does this work require Elliot to arranage the purchase, transport and construction of materials, but it also requires Elliot to act as the liaison between the various stakeholders. To secure the funding for the new classroom, Elliot road his motorcycle (with Abbas valiantly riding along) all over the district to meet with various district and village level officials to make sure the new classroom would be ready in January. Here is a write up from Elliot with some pictures:
Information Gathering: Since my return from Dar es Salaam in the second week of September, after Ian departed, my job has been to collect data on several different aspects of the community. I initially didn’t expect this to take as long as it did, but everything seems to take longer here in Tanzania. Abbas and I have been completing interviews in the village: Abbas has been doing the interviewing and I have been driving us to some of the far away areas in the village, some up of which are up very bad and sandy roads as much as 8km (5miles) from the school. There are even children who have to walk the 8km each way to school. We have also had two meetings in the town of Kilolo, where the district headquarters are located. We met to talk with leaders of the education department about our work and funding issues between one of the schools and the district. We collected different data on resources the schools had, such as books, and collected data on the different water sources in the village. Projects at the Schools and in the Community: We have started several different projects at the school and in the community. We purchased some basic supplies for the village dispensary (cotton, gauze, syringes/needles, pain medicine, heart medicine, and anti-fungal medicine), as you can see from the picture. We were not able to buy all of the supplies the doctor requested. He requested penicillin and a couple of other antibiotics that the village badly needs, which cost several hundred dollars. Although the dispensary was only opened in July, it is running out of supplies because the district dispensary has not funded it with supplies. Not to fault the district dispensary, but it has not been supplied by the main dispensary in Dar es Salaam. We also are working to improve the quality of the uniforms at the schools. All students are supposed to have an emblem painted on their shirt, although some could not afford it. So, we arranged to have someone stamp an emblem on every student’s shirt at both Ulonge Primary School and Lundamatwe School. We are also working to have student’s uniforms sewn, but it is taking more time because almost every student’s uniforms needs repairs. The final thing we are completing in the schools is the construction of desks by a village carpenter for the schools. Lundamatwe Primary School will receive fifty desks and Ulonge Primary School will receive forty desks.
The partially completed grade 5 classroom at Ulonge Primary School: Abbas exhausted after a long day of conducting interviews. Hard to know if it was all the walking that made him tired or Elliot's driving. Or he could be depressed because he is sitting on top of clean drinking water that is out of reach because there is no pump. Because there is no access to clean water the villagers are forced to gather water from sources such as this: Donated medical supplies to meet the basic needs of the health clinic: The following are two pictures Elliot took from near his apartment in Iringa:

1 comment:

Jordan Smith said...


My name is Jordan Smith. From January to May of this year I lived and studied in Lundamatwe! I am a student at Houghton College, and as you have probably discovered, we have a "campus" there. I was trying to find out how to spell "Lundamatwe" when I discovered your blog. I can't tell you how exciting is was to see and read your blog, especially when I saw that you were working with Abbas! He is a cook at our campus and a good friend of mine.

I love the work that you are doing there and just wanted to thank you for it. If you see Abbas, tell him his friend Jordan from Houghton says hi! God bless.

Jordan Smith