Thursday, June 19, 2008

Update from Elliot

For the past couple of weeks Abbas and I have been working to bring clean water to the two communities of Lundamatwe and Ulonge. First we are getting a pump for the borehole by the Ulonge Primary School. Unfortunately the borehole near the Lundamatwe Primary School and the clinic is contaminated, so we have hired local workers to dig a new borehole. The hole needs to be dug down about five or six meters, to the water level, and then lined with bricks and cement. The top of the whole will then be covered and the area readied for the pump. The pictures below show the progress of the two sites: At the Ulonge Primary School the workers are constructing a base where the pump will sit. The pump does not sit right over the hole, but rather sits off to the side (where the bricks are) with a hose from the pump going down into the hole. See here for one in action. Near the Lundamatwe School and the health clinic a worker is digging the new borehole: The health clinic in the village has just received a new refrigerator. The refrigerator can run on either propane or electricity. The doctor told me he should be getting vaccines for tetanus, tuberculosis, measles, polio (not yet eradicated but last reported in the area two years ago), diphtheria, proteases, and hepatitis B. The World Health Organization helps to pay for these vaccines. The pictures below are of me working at Abbas’ parent’s home in the village taking sunflower seeds out of the flower. This is simply done by hitting the flower with a stick until all the seeds our out. Sunflower seeds are used to make oil, but, like America, children love to snack on them:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Update from Elliot 2

Work in Tanzania is progressing very well. The rains have stopped and the weather has cooled considerably. Abbas and I have been meeting with a lot of people to discuss ideas and programs. We have met with the headmasters of the community schools, school boards, and government officials to discuss both their ideas and ours about the concerns surrounding the AIDS orphans in the villages. We have also been discussing the problem of overcrowded classrooms and what to do. Both schools are overcrowded, especially the Lundamatwe Primary School where some classes have close to 90 students per class. The Ulonge Primary School needs a standard 6 classroom for next year (if it does not get one these students will have to go to the Lundamatwe Primary School further exacerbating the problem there). With regional and district governments concentrating their efforts on secondary schools, it is hard for primary schools to receive money to build classrooms. What the government is funding in the village is the clinic, which recently received a refrigerator, which will run off of propane tanks. I was unable to obtain a picture, as the doctor is in the next town over taking classes, but the nurse explained to us that obtaining the refrigerator is a further step for the maternity ward area of the clinic. The dispensary also needs a refrigerator to store needed medicines to store vaccinations. Abbas and I have also done more research on a water pump and we think we have found a solution that will work for the village, although one is not enough for a village of this size. The pump (in the picture) is cheap (under $100), durable, readily available in town (including spares), and can work in borehole less than 7 meters. We photographed this pump in a village on the road to Ruaha National Park, located near tobacco plantations. I also attached some pictures of orphans from here in Iringa town. Abbas and I distributed pens, toothbrushes and toothpaste, clothes, and a few pairs of shoes. All the clothes were from my bedroom at my parent’s house from when I cleaned out my dresser in December. It was nice to see other people able to re-use some of my old clothes. Abbas and I have several plans and projects for the next few months. We will be focusing our efforts in three main interrelated areas. We will be working to address the needs of the orphan and vulnerable children population, supporting primary schools to increase the access and quality of their education, and supporting initiatives to increase the health and wellbeing of these communities. This is Abbas’s child Ansli with Elliot's glasses: