Friday, March 16, 2007

Help from Down Under

We are grateful to all of our volunteers, but I need to make special mention here of Lauren and Monica, sisters from Australia. They have left their mark all over Bagamoyo and Caito and I are deeply grateful to them for keeping Baobab Home matters under control in Tanzania while we went to the United States. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Lauren arrived first and began volunteering at the breakfast program. For those not in the know, this consists of 4 hours a day of managing a lot of small children with a LOT of energy and strong vocal ability. Meanwhile, using money that Lauren and Monica had raised in Australia, Lauren helped us by paying for the finishing touches on the houses that we built for Mama Habibu and Mama Salama since we had gone over budget. Lauren also used about $1000 USD of the money they raised to buy science equipment for the Matimbwa school, a government run secondary school that had no laboratory equipment. Among the items she bought were microscopes, test tubes, scales and a periodic table of the elements poster.

Just in case all of that wasn’t enough, Lauren held English classes for about 6 young women in secondary school. Mwajuma, Liziki, Halima, and all loved the classes and the field trips their teachers took them on. When Monica arrived from Kenya in December, she joined Lauren at the breakfast program, helped instruct the young women in English and helped to make sure that the street boys got their food money while we were away.

In their spare time, Lauren and Monica became connoisseurs of kangas, the brightly colored cloth women wear here (see poem below). We trust that they will one day return to us because they seemed to have developed a little addiction to the cloth…..



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