December 01, 2011

World AIDS Day

(The Moshi CAB was well represented!)
World AIDS Day Moshi, Tz style began with a celebration of KIWAKKUKI turning 15 years. While singing and cake was divided up, assignments were given for staff to either go downtown to the parade, or to the districts, some as far as 2 hours away. Swiftly the farthest reaching group grabbed posters which had been beautifully made by Lydia, and off they went. I had heard that the Moshi Rural celebration was to be in a Ward that you find by going to the Baobab trees, and that sounded fine, but I had too much work to do, so my assignment would be Moshi Urban's parade with Lydia and a few others. The day was beautiful and warm. The crowd was big and grew as the march began. The most enthusiastic group were the YWCA drummers and the drama group. They were really terrific and kept all spirits up as we waited to begin.

The parade moved down Mboyuni market towards Majengo and we passed children and many onlookers.

(Health Educator for Deaf Students in Kilimanjaro
We stopped briefly in the shade so that the chairs at the grounds near the municiple offices could be set up, and then began again. While we waited, two busloads of MUCCOBs students were dropped off. These students held their own banner and were, as all students are, very enthusiastic about nearly everything.

Some amazing things occurred at the ceremony. First of all, Regional leaders turned out (not just Mayors), the Ward leaders, and other dignitaries, including the police chief who is a fabulous woman! And then there was the drama, singing and incredible acrobatics of the Y folks. Three cheers!

It is important to note that only one week ago, the International Woman's Day March was held through downtown Moshi, and many of the same people were out marching IN THE POURING RAIN for the rights of women. KIWAKKUKI has been a leader in both issues and was featured once again at both marches. It does seem that the rights of women in all aspects of life fit in perfectly with eliminating AIDS. This year the slogan of Tanzania can stop the spread of AIDS would be appropriate for women's rights as well, as women have the right to their own reproductive health and the control of their own bodies-as well as rights in the workplace, at home and in school are now stressed. KIWAKKUKI OYE!

November 07, 2011

Remember the Children at the End of the Road?

I hope that any KIWAKKUKI Blog reader has not forgotten the state of Peter Amani, the delightful young man who told his story on this blog about a year ago. Peter is an orphan who has been supporting his family, and as well, trying hard to attend college so that he can give his family (brother and sister) a better life. Thanks to a dear friend and willing donor, Peter has been able to enroll in his second year of school.
I met with Peter to give him the gift from Bill. You see above the picture of his happiness at receiving this gift.
Here is Peter in the Library at his college.
Here is Peter in the outdoor study area at the college
Here is Peter sitting on the grass outside his classroom building
Here is Peter in the entry to the classrooms.

For all who think that helping Peter involved just sending money, I want to let you know that his is not so. Yes, the money is crucial for Peter, for without it, he cannot attend classes and make his family life better. But, attending classes, not working for pay at a menial job is equally difficult. Peter is living on nothing. He has no income for extra food, transportation or clothing. For most of us, these basics are just "givens" and what we expect. We look for new things, ipods, phones or the latest mp3 player. We find value in entertainment. For Peter, these things are far in the future. His focus as a young man is to make it through school. As he struggles with keeping his spirits up when his stomach is empty, Bill writes to him on e-mail every day. Every day! Can you imagine, Bill writes to him to keep his courage up, to remember that God loves him and will be beside him always, to remember that there are people like Bill who can help and that Bill will do what he can to make sure that Peter gets through school. Peter tells me that these words of encouragement are what keep him going, allow him to forget how hungry he is and how he doesn't know where a medicine for his sister might be, or how to focus through these difficulties on the quiz coming up. The daily words of encouragement.

So, I ask anyone who reads this post....If you want to help Bill keep Peter in school or others like Peter. Send me a comment or message on facebook and I will give you contact information for helping these young people at the end of the road.

October 07, 2011

AGM and Forward!

It has been nearly three weeks since the Annual General Meeting or "AGM". So, as a friend says, 10 Poles (Pole x kumi)for the delay in posting this amazing experience. I am not sure that I can recognize all the heroes of the AGM, and certainly the amount of work that goes behind the scenes is impossible to recount. A few of the KIWAKKUKI "heroes" appear to me to be: #1 Aginatha-- Ok, I know that she has been a long-time supporter of KIWAKKUKI, but she has just started her new NGO, there have been changes at KIWAKKUKI, but she really put herself on the line for the whole day as the MC. I cannot show you every picture I took of her, but I can personally tell you that she was on her feet the entire day, running from this side of the hall to that, looking up and down, fielding questions, some of which weren't easy to understand and she would help, racing to the side of someone who tried to talk without a microphone-especially on the stage, and for all us short people..."thank you" for putting the microphone down, and for helping to make sure that everyone's voice was heard.
Agninatha Making her voice heard
Aginatha helping the KIWAKKUKI Treasurer to give her report
A huge thank you has to be to the districts who showed up for this meeting, and many of whom brought things to sell. I personally was the recipient of a huge harvest of a green banana plant that I happily sent to the KIWAKKUKI staff for their tea! And it was a GIFT. Thank you KIWAKKUKI Membership for your continued kindness to me! In addition, I had the opportunity to buy a fabulous samosa plate from Hii/Siha. I did not share one bite with my husband.
Way too many wonderful things!
As always, I love the dancing and music. I am very sorry that I won't post the videos that I took. Perhaps when I get the fine art of video on blog, I will. But here are the amazing Moshi Urban dance group. An Ngoma if I have ever heard it.

I have now understood better how the AGM works. It is sort of the old "10 cell leader" base. For the AGM, in each district, the District Coordinator assigns one person to represent 10 KIWAKKUKI members. In this way, hopefully, communication is at its best for an economical way to meet and gather and give information. Here are some of the 6 groups.
The Hai/Siha group is one of the largest of KILIMANJARO and very active.
The Mwanga group were just wild. I give them the "most enthusiasm award". For perhaps the smallest district, this group was awesome!
I know and love the District Coordinator at Rombo very well. Their numbers might not have been as big as some of the others, but they are so very rural and they were still there.
My dear friend in Same makes an ultimate sacrifice to travel all the way to KIWAKKUKI, but she does it with pride. I have driven there.... It is a LONG WAY!!! Thanks for hanging in SAME group.
Just because Moshi Rural has the "Moshi" name on it does not mean that it is any more accessible than Same, Rombo, Mwanga or Siha. Several students that friends of mine support are in Moshi Rural, and I have been in areas there many times. It is beautiful, but it is least by "Western" standards. You have to love these folks.
So, don't leave this important area out. Even if Moshi Urban should seem to be without problems, there are areas where the poverty and problems seem insurmountable. I do not have a picture of Agnes here on the blog, but my best "girlfriend" in Moshi, Agnes Urassa, is the acting director of social welfare in Moshi Urban, and as a former Chairperson, social worker, and friend, I can tell you that I have learned about the breadth of problems that we who live in Moshi Urban have. It is sad, unethical, and wrong from the ethical perspective.
The staff of KIWAKKUKI have become my dearest friends. They work hard. They are loyal, and we have learned to laugh and cry over so many issues that seem impossible. Thank heavens we still have dance (even if we are now senior citizens...... "Chini.......chini........chini!"
My young "son" continued to have this VCR recorder on his shoulder until he had to switch and say something and then grabbed it back...8 hours of running. Does Stephen Sikumbili get enough credit? NO I say, as I have said for many years.
Talk about the "Kiti Moto" my dear sister, VeryNice had to give the orphans report. She is facing massive cuts, and questions. A. Donors give for specific time frames, which do not totally correspond with graduation time frames. Asking them to continue to donate may be impossible. B. Donors are losing interest in supporting individual children. C. Children are having such difficulties with school--supporting sick parents sick themselves, stigma, now loss of donor funding...what to do. (if a child receives his tuition in the presence of KIWAKKUKI or a "mzungu--white" donor it can reflect badly on his ongoing schooling. Oh sadly, Very nice can give you more stories. I have a whole file!

Our new Executive Director as previously reported is serious, attentive and determined to restore KIWKKUKI to premier!

Board members who need to be saluted for courage and courtesy! Dear friend Sabina.
My friend Margaret who is just great.... KIWAKKUKI started the movement...KIWAKKUKI is part of me, and I will not give up KIWAKKUKI until I die! This is what we needed to hear!
Is this the best? I think that membership is the best....thus I have saved the Executive Director till the last. Thanks Immaculate for all your hard work!
I first met Egla in Moshi Rural East....we became friends and I returned not long ago to KIWAKKUKI to find that she was acting Executive Coordinator. This is a job with no praise or love....but I love you Egla!
"Naysayers here?" I really love our new Executive Coordinator. She is not only credentialed, but kind. She was part or still is of the compassion ministries. Everyone local knows this. So why am I surprised that I really like her so much? I don't know. Suffice it to say....happy now!
A great team!
Hang in there KIWAKKUKI

September 13, 2011

Our New Executive Coordinator and AGM

Annual General Meeting (AGM)
17 September, 2011
CCM Building, Arusha Road
Moshi, TZ
All members and guests welcome

Dr. Materu with Very Nice Monyo
There is excitement in the air as our new Executive Coordinator Dr. Adela Materu takes over the reigns of KIWAKKUKI. Dr. Materu is quite accomplished in her own right! She is the first woman surgeon in Tanzania and in fact was a plastic surgeon. Even today in Tanzania, there are very few women surgeons when there is such a huge need. Imagine the barriers that must have been in place for her to have to overcome in order to complete her studies and actually practice medicine and surgery. This type of perseverance along with her obvious gentleness and spirituality is just what is needed to give new life to KIWAKKUKI.
Much has been happening for the last few weeks. Staff are seeking new grant opportunities, completing annual reports for many projects, and looking for new collaborations in Moshi. There is much conversation with acquaintances and friends of KIWAKKUKI about funding opportunities and at the same time preparing for the Annual General Meeting.

Dr. Mtalo preparing his report

Steven and Peter looking at programs Steven is the documentarist, and Peter is a young man supported by KIWAKKUKI and other donors

Verynice Monyo and Steven preparing the BvLF report.

Theresia Sabuni leaving for another work day
The AGM always poses challenges, providing bites, security, decorations, and having accomplishments prepared for the members who arrive from all over the Kilimanjaro region. Some members travel all the way from the Same District to the East, and from Sanya Juu to the West, for the meeting. These members are tough critics, and staff and volunteers must be prepared to face questions about the organization & to have displays and project reports prepared. The AGM is the highlight of the year, and thousands of people have been waiting for this time. So, all who are thinking of joining come to the CCM Hall on Saturday. (next post will incorporate pictures)
Stay Tuned!