After three slow weeks in Dar, we finally hit the road in our new East Africa Fund cruiser; destined for the lush and cold southern highlands and anxious to meet our pending partner organizations.
The Road Trip:
With all the car kerfuffle behind us in Dar, we were pleasantly surprised to have a smooth drive through the scenic mountains. Having traveled this route many times by bus as a Peace Corps volunteer, it was quite the different journey by private car. No complaints here, and a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who contributed for our purchase!
I think our joy is evident in the complimentary road shots below, enjoy 🙂
First stop, Njombe town:
Moving south through the Tanzanian highlands, we gradually dropped from about 85 to 45 degrees. The cool temperatures were a welcome change, but the cool nights were an adjustment…brrr!
With the cold temperatures also came inspirational encounters with four outstanding organizations. First, we met with SHIPO, an organization specializing in water pump engineering and water sanitation education. A large and very well-established organization, we look forward to finding ways to partner. Second, we met with SUMASESU, a unique organization tucked away in a remote community. After a two hour, off-road trek to their site from Njombe, we learned that SUMASESU specializes in health education through entertainment and media. We toured their state of the art radio studio where they broadcast from daily to bring vital health education to Njombe’s rural and poor communities. SUMASESU wins the prize for most innovative approach, using radio as a social enterprise to fund their meaningful work…we were impressed!
Back in Njombe town we continued the dialogue with two more organizations, both focusing on health education and economic empowerment for children and vulnerable populations. These partners are Highlands Hope Umbrella and COCODA. Smaller, but no less passionate, these organizations have big hopes for their futures and their communities and we look forward to partnering to bring them the support to makes these dream a reality.
Second stop, Songea town:
For those of you who know me (Sam Temple), know that Songea is the heart of my Tanzanian home. It is the rugged and rural town where Luke and I were posted during Peace Corps and where we found our passion for Tanzania. Songea is very much the reason that EAF exists and is why our focus is on southern cities in Tanzania. Like most southern cities, Songea is hard to reach, has poor infrastructure and development, and the main challenge is a lack of resources. Grit and determination are needed for survival and we found plenty of it here! Happy to welcome PADI and Songea Paralegal Center to the EAF Songea community!
Large and very well run, PADI has a complex portfolio of projects including microloans, water and sanitation, health, and advocacy for Tanzania’s aging population. I was moved by their passion to help and support the aging population in Tanzania and their successes so far are profound. But advocacy and legal barriers are not just an issue for Tanzania’s aging population, it also adversely effects women and children. To break this barrier, hundreds of rural community members turn to Songea Paralegal Center for free counsel and representation. Run by Fatuma (pictured below), a self-funded, un-paid, legal warrior. Fatuma’s clients are the only fuel she needs to keep the work going and her walls are littered with success story after success story. We cannot wait to share these successes with our U.S. EAF supporters and help PADI and Songea Paralegal expand their impact in Tanzania!
Next stop: Denver, Colorado
Our Tanzanian journey has been fruitful to say the least; we have travailed almost 1,000 miles in country, visited seven organizations (two more still to visit), and setup systems and supporters across the country to serve our work in the years to come. As the Founder of the EAF, I feel blessed by our reception, humbled by our supporters, and energized by our new partners. A big thank you to every partner who opened their doors and their hearts to us, we look forward to building this bridge together. Next stop, Denver, CO, where we shall turn this fodder into a blazing fire and kick-start our fundraising needs for these organizations in East Africa!