Guest Posts by Nurse Katie…

Busy week

I can’t believe how fast the time is going here in Tanzania! In about 6 weeks I’ll be getting ready to come home. This week has been pretty good and has gone by very fast.
On Saturday I walked to Ndala village with Dr. F- the main doctor I’ve been working with- and Mr. L. We planned to meet the women’s group and talk with them. Walking to Ndala took almost 2 hours. About the last 15 minutes of the trip it started to rain. Luckily we had umbrellas and it wasn’t too heavy. The women were very happy to see me and were glad I was able to greet them in their local tribal language. We met with the pastor of the church and some elders. Then we listened to the women sing some songs. After that it was time for introductions.
Whenever I go somewhere or meet a new group of people it seems like we have to go through these very formal introductions. After 4 different people introduced me and welcomed me, I had to stand up and greet them and say what I am doing in Tanzania and the Dr. translated it. Then the women asked me some questions. They were very interested in what happens to the elderly in America. I explained that some go to nursing
homes to get extra care when they can’t take care of themselves at home. Then they wanted to know if the men and women go to the same place and what happens to their houses. I think they were very curious because a big part of their group’s work is to visit sick people and assist families after loved ones pass away.
After our meeting we had a nice lunch, then walked around Ndala for a bit. I’m not sure if I completely understood, but I believe we met the men who will be supplying the potatoes for One Small Drop’s new project. For those who are unaware, One Small Drop was started by my friend Tammie Jo after she visited the area a few years ago, and she helped arrange my trip here.
On Sunday I did some laundry and just spent the day relaxing. It was really the first day I had to myself since I’ve been in the village so it was nice to unwind. The rest of the week I worked at the clinic during the day. I’ve been working a lot in the maternal and child
health area. I know all about the vaccines and have given a bunch, I’m getting lots of practice examining pregnant women. Towards the end of the day, the clinic gets pretty slow so the doctor and I usually go over questions I have or talk about different things we’ve done. He is a tutor for OB/GYN so he has a lot to go over with me about that,
which is nice because I haven’t thought about any of that since nursing school.
This week I was also invited to some dinners. Monday I had dinner at an elder’s house. He had a world map and wanted to see where I lived. On Wednesday my host parents asked me over because they got a computer and wanted to learn how to shut it off :) I’ve gone over on Thursday and Friday to help them with their email. It’s definitely a challenge
teaching someone about computers when they have no experience AND English is their 3rd language. But they are slowly getting it.
I don’t have much planned for this weekend. I need to do more laundry and I have dance practice with the choir in the afternoons.

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Nurse Katie

Meet Katie Mead! Katie is a nurse that will be heading to Kandete Health Care Center in January to volunteer for 3 months. Katie grew up in Iola, WI (where Tammie Jo is from). She went to college at the University of Minnesota and studied Geography. While at Minnesota she traveled to Ghana to study abroad. It was a very amazing experience. After she returned from Ghana she began to volunteer with a nurse who ran a community organization in Minneapolis at Cedar-Riverside for immigrant (mostly Somali) women. She helped with health education classes and taught exercise classes. This experience led her to go to nursing school in Missouri so she could make a bigger impact. She is currently working as a nurse in St. Louis. She also volunteers with a hospice organization.

Katie will be working with Dr. Mwaipyana, and staying at a hostel newly constructed by the Kandete Lutheran Church (one of the 4 communities that One Small Drop works with). One Small Drop is thrilled to be the link between Katie and Kandete. The Health Care Center is very excited that Katie will be sharing her knowledge and experiences with them. She will be warmly welcomed!

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Take, Take, Take

The holiday season is all about giving. Here is a twist to consider. Might I suggest we take, take, take?

Let us take action against global poverty and hunger.

Let us take responsibility for sharing with our neighbors and strengthening communities.

Let us take heart to change a child’s life by providing education.

Take time to find a project that will really mean something to your family or friends. And take comfort in the knowledge that when you make a contribution to One Small Drop, you’ll receive a personalized card as evidence of your thoughtfulness. You could also make a donation in honor or memory of someone.

Take a few moments and review the “sponsor” tab to look over the projects One Small Drop is involved with. You can make a contribution directly through PayPal or email me ( with details of the project you would like to sponsor and who to mail the personalized card to. You can also use the good old post office to mail me at One Small Drop, N6823 Co J, Iola, WI 54945, USA.

Thank you for your generous giving. We hope your friends and family are thrilled with their gifts.

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As always, the simple act of reconnecting with friends and renewing relationships is the highlight of return visits to the Livingstone Mountains. My airline adventures this time turned out to be very frustrating, but it did not diminish the hearty welcome from each community.

My trusty interpreter, Tupo Nile, is an angel from God. She magically transforms our conversations with the women and dignitaries into heartfelt sharing.

Here is a very brief update of the projects.
The communities have been hit very hard with the “African Swine Fever” that devastated southwest Tanzania and Malawi. Most pigs and piglets died, but each community did manage to have a couple adults or piglets survive. A plan has been devised and they are on the road to recovery. Pictured here are 8 piglets of a 12 piglet litter!

Each of the 4 communities supplied about 30 uniforms to orphans. That means 120 new children are attending school this year!

Two of the 4 communities have each planted 200 avocado seedlings, and the other two will begin planting in December. Each tree, which takes 3 years to mature, will produce a minimum of $120 worth of fruit.

A new project that One Small Drop will consider is a “potato project”. There is a strong market for the “ground potato” in the area, and their soil is perfect. The plan involves each woman’s group starting with an acre of land. If One Small Drop provides the start up funds, they should be able to net $900 the first year.

I also met with the District Pastor who is encouraging me to consider expanding into the 6 other congregations that are in this district. Our Board of Directors will be discussing this.
When meeting with the women I had the opportunity to hold this 5 day old baby. So precious.

I am grateful to all of you that have been a tremendous support for these endeavors. I would be glad to speak to any groups that would like to hear about this in more detail. I am truly blessed by you!

Next week I will give an update on Niku, the nurse student we are sponsoring and share how the plans are coming together for Nurse Katie Mead to volunteer at the Kandete Health Care Center for 3 months.

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Traveling Soon!

In less than 2 weeks I will be headed back to the Livingstone Mountains in South Western Tanzania. It has been over a year since I have visited the 4 villages and the women from each village that make up the “Lukamenda” women’s organization. I am excited to meet with these women for updates and visits to the projects supported by One Small Drop (Pork Project, Orphan Uniforms, Avocado Project and Solar Cooking Stoves). More info on these projects are listed under the tabs above.

One Small Drop Board of Directors and friends met with Pr. Andrea and his family a few weeks ago. Pr. Andrea was my main influence in going to Tanzania. He shared with us that the Tanzanian villages we are working with are grateful to God for our shared commitment. He stated one of the reasons our projects are important is that they are sustainable and empower women in the area. “When you equip a woman, you equip a family.”

Relationship building and accompaniment is the backbone principle of One Small Drop. We respectfully listen and learn from each other. We want to understand local priorities and identify ways walk together. One of my favorite quotes came from a former Tanzania Bishop, Josiah Kibera,  “None are so poor that they don’t have something to give. None are so rich that they don’t have something to receive.”

I am excited to announce that in January a wonderful friend of mine, Katie Mead, will be traveling to this area to volunteer as a nurse for 3 months at the hospital in Kandete. I will ask her to write a guest blog in the near future!

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A New Chapter!

My, I see it has been a very long time since I have updated this blog.  Personally, I have had a challenging past 8 months. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December. I have been through all the chemotherapy (lost all my hair) and just completed my radiation.  But all treatments did their job and all reports say I am cancer free. (And my hair is coming back – Yay!)

So it is time to get back in the saddle! I am planning to head back to Tanzania to visit my dear friends and check on the projects this fall.

I had the opportunity to visit with Pr. Andrea and his entire family last month and get an update on projects. It appears the entire region had been struck with some sort of pig disease that affects newborn piglets.  So all of the newborn piglets from the first litters did not make it. This is not just a problem in our 4 communities. It is a dreadful issue for what would be equivalent to a 3 state area. The sows have since been bred again. This also caused some problems with the pig centers because some of the piglets were to be sold to purchase food for the pigs at the center. We are working together to get through this tough time.

Another tailor has been contacted to help with sewing more orphan uniforms. We are excited that so many additional orphans will be able to attend school this year!

I am told the avocado project is progressing nicely and we are still checking if the solar stoves can be manufactured locally.

Pr. Andrea also shared that a District Pastor for this region is interested in partnering with One Small Drop to be able to reach out to more communities. I am excited to see where this could lead.

My husband just asked me if I thought we could auction our pre-season Packer tickets to raise funds for One Small Drop, so I am putting this idea out there for you to participate if interested! We have two tickets for Friday, August 19th game, 7pm vs. Arizona. Minimum bid is $75 each. Just contact me if you are interested: or 715-340-2136. I will also post this on facebook.

A new chapter begins!

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Beyond the Box Campaign

During this holiday season we are bringing back our “Beyond the Box” campaign. Your gifts can go far beyond the typical boxed items and support One Small Drop programs that reach far beyond the end of the road.

I have been seeing a paradigm shift happening in America: the difference between a patron and a partner. The people of Tanzania are filled with their own visions, abilities and strengths. Maybe it is because of the people I surround myself with, and perhaps it is just in my limited corner of the world, but we do not view the people of Tanzania as waiting for our patronage, but as capable, creative, entrepreneurial people with whom we partner as equals to accomplish great things.

When you designate the project you are interested in supporting in the name of a family member, friend or colleague or in honor of a special occasion they receive a personalized card notifying them of the powerful gift you made. And you will know that you’ve made an investment in programs that offer real solutions and not short term fixes. Your donation transforms communities by helping people address hunger, poverty, education and other challenges that undermine their well-being. Because you are helping One Small Drop inspire people and strengthen communities, your purchases are tax deductible.

Beyond the Box Projects:

$30 – Purchases one pig for the pork project, empowering widows and feeding families

$30 – Purchases one school uniform for an orphan to be able to attend school, leading to the education needed to combat poverty

$30 – Purchases one solar stove and design specifications, empowering widows for entrepreneurship and significantly reducing the work load, reducing lung related health risks and reducing the environmental stress of tree harvesting

$30 – Purchases 7 avocado seedlings – empowering widow families with entrepreneurship

This holiday season, don’t give a gift…consider an investment in equipping the people of Tanzania. Contact Tammie Jo, with your contribution information or mail to One Small Drop, N6823 Co J, Iola, WI 54945.

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One Small Drop Explores New Ventures

While in Tanzania in September, we took a solar stove with us to get input from the 4 villages on their thoughts of the usefulness and feasibility of this technology. Currently families gather wood morning and night, sometimes walking a couple miles each way. Some have their cooking area inside their homes causing respiratory issues. This simple solar cooker (made of foil lined cardboard) folds into a 13” x 2” square. A pot of rice will cook in about 2 hours. The rule of thumb is one liter of water takes one hour to heat to boiling temperature. A cut up chicken and vegetables will take about 6 hours (similar to our slow cookers). The women were thrilled to learn that there would be no soot lined pots to wash and no stirring is needed, because the food doesn’t burn. Because of its portability the women can also take the cooker to the garden fields and return home with a meal that is ready to eat. They are investigating the design plans to see if the needed materials are readily available to construct these cookers for themselves as well as the possibility of generating enough of them to sell at reasonable price.

The other project One Small Drop is becoming involved with is avocado trees. A retired pastor from the Ndala village has been raising avocados for several years. He has connections with a company that markets the avocados in Israel, Saudi Arabia and hotels across Tanzania. Seedling avocado trees cost $8 and will take 3 years before they will bear fruit. The Livingstone Mountains have a natural environment for growing avocados. If a “group” purchases avocado seedlings, they only cost $4. Each tree will produce about $120 worth of fruit.

One Small Drop has set a goal of raising funds to purchase 50 trees for each of the 4 communities, each of the next 3 years, so a rotation of trees will begin. Lukamenda (the group formed by the women of the 4 communities) will purchase the trees as a group and will operate the tree distribution to widows. This will be another self sustaining project that will have long lasting benefits to the Lukamenda communities.

It is truly amazing to watch the doors that God opens for us to step through! A difference can be made, One Small Drop at a time!

Someone recently shared this video with me based on Ghandi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Be the Change

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Progress Report: A+

Givness receives school uniform

Lisa Hardel and I had an amazing trip to the 4 village’s (Lusanje, Kandete, Masebe, Ndala,) that One Small Drop is working with. It was exciting to see the progress of the 4 women’s groups in the Livingstone Mountains. “ Lukamanda” (the first 2 letters of the community names) is the name of the group formed by the women as an organization. Lukamanda has been overseeing the orphan uniform project and the pig project. To date 226 orphan uniforms have been sewn by a local tailor. That means 226 children are now going to school that were previously unable to. We had the privilege of hand delivering the uniforms in Lusanje and Kandete (picture).

Another incredible milestone was seeing the completion of the pig centers. Each of the 4 centers has one male and 5 female pigs. Most of the females have been bred and are expecting piglets in the next couple months. At Lukamanda’s meeting they decided that piglets will be given away to prioritized widows that apply for the pigs. The center will breed the piglet. All the babies from that pig will be returned to the center. The widow then has discretion over any future litters. She may choose to raise them for food or sell them at the market. The center then has a supply of piglets to pass out to other widow applicants. It is a gift that keeps on giving. It is anticipated that over 200 piglets will be distributed over the first year!

There are also 2 new ideas for One Small Drop to expand into…I will explain next week.

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Livingstone Mountains Here We Come!

Lisa Hardel and I are heading out next Saturday to visit the Livingstone Mountains in South Western Tanzania, Africa. We are excited to be visiting the 4 communities and woman’s group “Lukamenda” to see how the progress is coming on the orphan uniforms and the pork project.

My last visit was in November, and the villages were just beginning to construct their individual pork centers where widows will learn how to feed, vaccinate, breed and farrow the pigs. Then, through an application process, pigs are awarded to widows. When their pig has babies, they will keep 3 and give the rest back to the pork center, who will then distribute more pigs.

We will also be meeting with the tailors that have been making orphan uniforms to get a progress report.

There is a high possibility of a nurse traveling next summer to do a 3 month internship in the mountains, so Lisa and I will be visiting a couple hospitals.

We are also taking a sample solar oven to explore the feasibility of its use. Women travel 1-3 miles each day to gather needed firewood and there is an issue with the wood supply. All meal preparation is done with firewood, sometimes inside homes. This creates respiratory issues.

This trip is sure to be educational as well as heartwarming as we rekindle old friendships. I can’t wait!!

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