Notes From Tanzania (Final)

Dear Friends,

This will be the last letter of my 2018 visit to Tanzania.

At the end of my last letter I indicated that I would travel from Mbeya to Morogoro in order to meet Tika and her family. As a reminder, Tika is a young Maasai lady who graduated in the spring of 2016 from the Tukuyu School of Nursing. This year she had accompanied me on my visit to Kasulu. I arrived in Morogoro around 5:00 PM and took a taxi to a hotel where I had reserved a room.

I arranged to meet Tika the following morning at the bus stand. We then travelled to the family farm, where I met her parents and some of her siblings.

Photo: Tika with her parents and youngest sibling

Tika’s mother had twelve children, ten of which are alive. Tika is the oldest. The family raises cattle and grows corn. The older male children are working on the farm, while the younger siblings attend school. We first met Tika during our 2014 visit to Tanzania. At that time she told us that her father wanted the female children to be educated and was very supportive of her continuing her education and studying to become a nurse. In contrast, traditional Maasai culture promotes early marriage for young girls.

During my visit I was served a plate of rice and a mug of warm raw milk, which was quite tasty. Tika’s family lives in a small settlement which includes other family members. Unlike the traditional Maasai semi-nomadic life style, Tika’s family is rooted to a fixed location. The photo below shows her family’s house which contains five small rooms.

Photo: Tika’s family home

A separate small building served as the kitchen. Firewood is gathered and used for cooking. Tika showed me a gourd that was used to store milk.

Photo: Tika holding a gourd used to store milk

Later in the day I returned to Morogoro. At this point I was pretty tired of all the travel and decided to return to Moshi and relax for the balance of my time in Tanzania.

The next week and a half were very relaxing. I made my daily round to the Union Café for coffee (made from freshly roasted beans), visited KCMC School of Nursing, and met up with several TNSP graduates who work at a health center in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Photo: Relaxed and enjoying a fresh coffee at the Union Café

I travelled by dala dala to the health center. Dala dalas are the main source of public transport in Tanzania. They are mini busses that move along a fixed route at very low cost. They only move from a starting point when they are deemed to be adequately full and there is always room to add an additional passenger. People are generally friendly and helpful by offering to hold an infant or a bag if needed. (One time in Uganda a grandmother was very apologetic for sitting on my lap because there was no other option.) On arriving at the health center I met with Royce and Lightness who are both 2014 graduates from KCMC School of Nursing. Their work at the rural health center is primarily focused on maternal care, including deliveries, and providing monthly checkups and inoculations for infants.

Photo (L to R): Royce, Lightness and doctor in charge

During this visit, I chatted a bit with Royce about how the sponsorship had assisted her. She indicated that prior to receiving support from TNSP, difficulty in paying school fees had caused much stress. Royce came from a family of eleven children and her mother supported the family by raising crops on a small farm. Royce also depended on her older sister for financial assistance. Royce told me that when she called her mother to tell her about being selected for sponsorship, her mother would not at first believe it and then she cried out of happiness.

Below are a few photos from my tour of the health center.

Photo: Infants waiting for monthly checkup
Photo: Royce with mama and baby born the prior day

I am now home after completing my 2018 visit to Tanzania. I enjoyed the travel—seeing old friends and meeting new people. The students are so appreciative of the opportunity that TNSP’s sponsorship provides – to study without the constant stress about where the money for fees will come from and possibly being sent home from school to find money. I particularly enjoy seeing students who have graduated in past years – they have become confident women. I have been surprised by how many of the graduated students I talk to want to continue their studies by obtaining a bachelor’s degree (BSN). At this time, two students have attained a BSN degree and six students (that I am aware of) are in the process of doing so. Once a student graduates and starts working she will generally assist her siblings, parents and other relatives – this assistance ranges from money for school fees, to food money and even building a permanent home. Below is a photo of a new home being built on a pay-as-you-go basis by one of our graduates, Paschalina.

Photo: New home in process of construction (2016)

TNSP is celebrating its 10-year anniversary and we have planned a party at our home in Western Massachusetts the evening of April 28 and you are invited! Linda is now preparing invitations, please contact us here.

Again, I want to tell you that all travel expenses and entertainment expenses are absorbed by me personally.


Tony van Werkhooven, Treasurer

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