Another year has come and we have just returned from visiting our dear friends in the Mwakaleli District in the Livingstone Mountains in Southwest Tanzania.
My traveling partner this year was Linda Carey and she was a great companion. She commented several times about the over-the-top hospitality we received wherever we went and understands why I fell in love with these ladies that One Small Drop is working with in 11 different communities. She had fun one evening teaching some of the local children the hand game “This is the church, this is the steeple, open the door, and see all the people”
Unexpectedly, my daughter, Alexandria, also joined us. She had been studying in Sierra Leone for the past 6 weeks on her Masters in public health. But due to the Ebola crisis, her university requested that she leave the country immediately. She joined us a day late, but it all worked out. I think the ladies also enjoyed meeting a member of my family.
The projects are all moving along nicely. The original 4 communities (Lusanje, Kandete, Mesebe, Ndala) each have a pig project, potato project, avocado project and orphan uniforms. They have begun to reap the benefits of their sustainable projects and have begun doing micro loans within their communities.
Mwakaleli, Luteba and Mbafwa each have one year of the potato project under their belt and Mbafwa is the first community to do a chicken project.
Mbigili, Ukukwe, Isange and Tumaini are the final 4 communities. 2 of them started avocado projects last year, and one used funds to start a micro loan project. These communities received funds on this trip to start potato and bean projects. I look forward to seeing their start-ups next summer.
We were without our special friend, Tupo, who is my right hand. She is the interpreter and was missed dearly! But in her absence we had a very fine young man named Peter Mwakatobe who was an inspiration. At 27 years old he is involved with a local non-profit that encourages local children about the importance of staying in school as well as educating the parents and community about the importance of sending their children to both primary and secondary school.
Labani is the manager of all the projects, visiting each community to provide guidance and answer questions to issues that may arise. He is a BUSY man!
We are also thankful to Mr. Mwaikuyu, our driver, who skillfully bounced us to each of our 11 communities.
I am always humbled and amazed with my time in these communities. Every year they teach me that scarcity is a frame of mind. And to spend time with them enriches my heart and soul.