Follow up: 1 steak dinner = school for 1

Kids getting ready for school - Huheso Kahama Tanzania

A big ASANTE SANA, thank you to our friends, family & readers who contributed funds to help orphans who needed support to get ready for school in Kilago.  On July 15, Juma and the Huheso Foundation were on hand to distribute uniforms & school supplies.

Huheso Foundation distributing school uniforms

Back To School Materials

From Juma:

We would like to give thank to all who participated on the Event today on 15th July 2011 at Kilago ward in Kahama district in Tanzania, We thank again Kay Walten and Kelly for their contribution that supported us to get all materials we suggested to do, all 50 Children got support of School Uniform and Education Materials, In this event we brought priority for Girls about 35 girls got School uniform and Education Materials, In our society Girls have no say and they believe that Girls born to get Bride price in the family not education thats why after getting this opportunity We gave priority to girls to make them to do like education.

We would like to thank all HUHESO leaders who participate fully on the Event and TAPO Leaders to join us on the Event.

Thanks all.
Juma Mwesigwa
Executive Director
Huheso Foundation


Back to school Kilago Tanzania Girls



1 steak dinner = school for 1

The cost of one steak dinner is the amount of money it takes to put one orphan in school - Kay WaltenI have written about my friend Juma before who has been so instrumental in improving the lives of so many children in the Kahama district of Tanzania. So as time nears for school to start in the village of Kilago, Juma mentioned to Kelly and me about 35 orphans that needed some care and support to be able to go to school. 

Kilago is one of 34 wards that comprise the Kahama District in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania. On Google Maps Kilago shows as just a pin point on a mass of green.  Needless to say it is a remote village.

So in Kilago there are 50 orphans who need help to go to school this upcoming term. From uniforms, to school supplies, socks, the things every kids needs to go back to school.  Juma had funds for 15 kids, but another 35 still need help.  I asked Juma how much it costs per child for school, and it is $20.

Kelly and I have pooled our money together enough to meet the needs of 20 kids.  But we could use help on the last 15 kids.

So we are asking you, our friends, family, and readers if you could donate $20 the cost of one steak dinner (at a reasonably priced restaurant) so one orphan in Kilago Tanzania can go to school.   If you would like to donate $20 bucks, email me or Kelly.   Vegetarian’s donations are welcome!

Big kudos to Juma because he is getting all the supplies needed for the kids, and distributing them next week.

It has been great to work with Juma at the Huheso Foundation and in small ways we have been able to have a big impact on the lives of orphans and kids and women who are AIDS/HIV positive.

African Child Day - Huheso Foundation

Photo from African Child Day in Kahama

Stitches in Time

Singer sewing machines. We’ve known them for generations.  Sewing machines today have one-step button holers, embroidery with a push of a button and top drop-in bobbins.  I am sure the term “bobbin” means little to the non-sewers in the crowd.  Regardless, Singer sewing machines are fancy, compared to the foot powered machines of the 19th century.

So what does this have to do with Tanzania? In Tanzania you can buy brand new 19th century style sewing machine that requires no electric.  Which is good since a lot of people do not have electric.

If you recall my last post about Rose Emmanuel, her mom Mary is a farmer.  And not the kind of farmer with a John Deer tractor behind the house.  She tills with a hoe by hand in the yard.  My friend Juma of the Huheso Foundation thought perhaps sewing lessons would be an opportunity to learn to sew as a trade, and earn better money for her family.  I offered to buy a sewing machine for Mary on the condition that it was a small business loan, to repay little by little.   Juma and I were excited.   In the meantime however, Mary remarried.  Her new husband did not want her sewing and she had to turn down the opportunity.  It was unfortunate.  So Juma had a new Singer that needed a home.

He contacted Jipe Moyo, an Organization for Women’s Empowerment comprised of a group of women who are living with HIV/AIDS.  Through Jipe Moyo a positive  and determined woman Frola Mabuga stepped up to the plate to take advantage of the opportunity.

Jipe Moyo member Frola Mabuga in Kahama Tanzania

Frola is 46 years old.  Her husband died in 2008 and she lives with her three grand children.   Once Frola’s sewing lessons are complete, she will be taking her sewing machine home with her to start her own little business.

Kahama Tanzania, Frola Mabuga member of Jipe Moyo

Frola in front of her house in Kahama

Frola in her yard with one of her grand children.

This is Frola's bathroom. Very similar to what we had in Mexico many years ago. She has no plumbing.

If you are interested in enabling other women like Frola please contact me.   $100 US buys a new sewing machine and an opportunity for a woman to earn a living.

One child fed, several more to go

Rose Emmanuel Gets the Nutrition She Needs

The Huheso Foundation, in the Kahama District of Tanzania, recently had 5 HIV/AIDS positive children.  These kids are missing classes at the Malunga Primary school because they are too sick from malnutrition.  Although their medical needs are provided for by the government, their nutritional needs were not.   I sponsored Rose Emmanual who was recently presented with the food she needs and will continue to receive on an on going basis.   Rose Emmanual is 12 years old and was born with HIV/AIDS.

Huheso Foundation Director Juma Mweisigwa welcomed the guests who joined the event presenting the first delivery of the food to Rose Emmanuel. Kahama District Community Development Officer  Mr. Elisha Mahungo addressed the people who joined the event.  He expressed the importance of a diet with substantial fruits for people living with HIV/AIDS. Malunga Ward councilor Honorable Mr. John Chagula spoke expressing that other children are still of need and Rose Emmanuel’s family is to use the food as directed to help the quality of her health.  Elder Leader of Igembesabo Street Mr. Makoye gave thanks to the support of Rose Emmanuel and emphasized that there is still a need of sponsors for other children like Rose with HIV/Aids who need the proper nutrition.

Other people who attended include:  Malunga Ward Community Development Officer  Ms. Nyanjala A Maugo, Local Leader of Igembensabo Street, Chairman Mr. Paul Mhomu, Rose’s Guardian Teacher Ms. Rose Boniphace of the Malunga Primary school, Rose’s mother Mary Paul and my friend Raymond Mihayo representing the media.

Raymond Mihayo - Tanzania Daily News

Raymond & Rose. Raymond shows love to Rose Emmanuel by carrying her in efforts to reduce the stigma and discrimination of people who are living with HIV/AIDS.

I wish I had been there to witness the event.  For Rose’s mother I hope that the food assistance not only helps the health of Rose, but lightens the burden on Mary Paul who is a single mother with two children.  My plans are to return to Kahama in November.  It would be an honor for me to meet Rose Emmanuel and her mother.

Arusha is for the dogs!

Arusha in Northern Tanzania is where Kelly and I spent our first few nights. There was no need for an alarm clock because the bells rang loudly over the neighborhood for the Islamic call to prayer at 5 am.  Breakfast was included with our stay, a small buffet of mango juice which is as common as OJ is in the US, fruit, cereal, toast, something that looked like franks & beans and instant coffee.  ’”Africafe”, the Nescafe of East Africa, mixed with hot milk  is drinkable.

We were to work with the non-profit group ASPA, the Arusha Society of the Protection of Animals.  ASPA’s goal is to inform and educate the community on humane treatment towards animals and animals’ rights. Its members have a passion for animals and believe every living creature deserves to be treated kindly and live a happy, healthy life.  Our host was Livingstone Masija , the program manager of ASPA. Livingstone had submitted a proposal to Humane Society International in 2010 for financial assistance.   Kelly’s job was to see the program in action.  ASPA has a dog program to vaccinate dogs in Arusha and the outlying communities.  Word of the time and place for the upcoming dog vaccination clinic is spread by fliers and radio.

We rode out to the countryside in a crew cab pick up truck. The narrow, red dirt road was  was no more than a single car’s width and it was heavily rutted and ragged.  We passed people tending sheep and women walking to church  dressed in clean clothes for the Sabbath.

Arusha dog clinic

An open air barn with a rusty tin roof served as the veterinary clinic. Boys and men crowded the outside of the barn.  Dogs where on ropes, big chains, leashes made of palm frons or grass, whatever their owners could find to use as a make shift lead. Under Livingstone’s direction, they formed a line to register the person and the dog.  Many of the dogs were terrified, struggling in their leash nearly strangling themselves as they tried to slip from the hands of the vet techs.  When a couple of dogs needed a muzzle, Kelly took the opportunity to show the vets and techs how to put a dog’s head between their knees to keep  the dog from biting.  She also encouraged them to pet the dog, talk to it, and even pinch the dog to distract the it from the injection.  The Massi men donned in robes snickered to each other as they watched Kelly work her magic, calming the dogs.

Arusha dog clinic boys

Arusha dog clinic registration

The vet techs and Kelly vaccinated the hounds while I drew syringes of rabies vaccine. 120 dogs were successfully vaccinated. Kelly was filling syringes fast and efficiently while I was all thumbs trying not to stick myself with the needle.  Although I was slow, it felt great to help and not be just the camera person.  It is through these mobile clinics that ASPA has been able to develop a database of dogs in various areas, categorizing them by general ages and rabies vaccinations.

Arusha Dog Clinic with Kelly

Rabies is not just a issue for dogs but humans as well. Rabies is not, in the natural sense, a disease of humans. Human infection is incidental to the reservoir of disease in wild and domestic animals; therefore, a more accurate projection of the impact of rabies on public health should include an estimate of the extent to which the animal population is affected and the expense involved in preventing transmission of rabies from animals to humans.

Despite evidence that control of dog rabies through programs of animal vaccination and elimination of stray dogs can reduce the incidence of human rabies, exposure to rabid dogs is still the cause of over 90% of human exposures to rabies and of over 99% of human deaths worldwide. (via

ASPA’s has a facebook page and can be found on the web.

ASPA logo

Let me introduce you to Juma

Kay and Juma

I met Juma during the donkey clinics in the Kahama district during our trip through Tanzania.  Juma was a vet tech.   During our evening time after the clinics Juma took time to explain his involvement with programs benefitting children.   I asked Juma to write a little bit about himself…

Jambo (hi) I am Juma Mwesigwa.    I am one of 17 children, some of my brothers and sisters have died and some discontinued their schooling.  My mother is a farmer living in the Misenyi district in Kagera region at the border of Uganda and Tanzania. My father died in 2000.

I completed Mara Secondary School in 1999 and from there I joined a non-governmental organization (NGO) called in the Musoma district as a volunteer.

I was fortunate the organization gave me the opportunity to join the Teachers College at Bunda.  After two years I then worked for the government.  I was determined to find a way to help orphans and vulnerable children and I helped establish an organization.

I am the founder and executive director of HUHESO Foundation which started as a group in Kahama district that was deals with educating people about HIV/AIDS in Kahama district by using drama, poems, songs. Its also promotes entrepreneurial education.

I manage the all the programs we organize, report to a board of directors and am accountable for all the staff.

Since we registered our foundation in July 2009. We are running project which is “IN SCHOOL YOUTH AGAINST HIV/AIDS CAMPAIGN” and  “WATOTO WANA HAKI PROGRAM”.  These programs are are to educate children about there rights in the community and to educate youths in schools about how protect themselves about HIV/AIDS.

We have another Program which called Ajenda ya Watoto (Children Agenda) this program have ten investments of Children agenda. The aim is to improve critical services and boost opportunities for children will ensure more families move out of poverty. We are welcome all who would to invest in this agenda in order to meet these top ten investments of Children.

Top ten priorities are to:

1. Invest to Save the Lives of Children and Women

2. Invest in Good Nutrition

3. Invest in Better Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply in Schools and Health Facilities

4. Invest in Early Childhood Development

5. Invest in Quality of Education for All Children

6. Invest to Make Schools Safe

7. Invest to Protect Infants and Adolescent Girls from HIV

8. Invest to Reduce Teenage Pregnancy

9. Invest to Protect children from Violence, Abuse and Exploitation

10. Invest in Children with Disabilities

Since I have left Tanzania I have stayed in contact with Juma and his work with the children in the Kahama district.  Recently Juma told me of 6 children who are HIV positive who need proper nutrition which will enable them to be healthy enough to attend school.   Juma sent me a information about what each person needed.  Each child needs a sponsor willing to donate $136 USD per month for the proper nutrition.  Having been touched by the people of Tanzania and the welcomeness I felt especially by the people in Kahama, I decided to help.

Rose EmmanuelRose Emmanuel, 12 years old was born in Kahama in 1999.  She is in class five in Malunga Primary school. She is living with her mother in Malunga Street. Rose was born with HIV/AIDS . She is lives with her mother,  Mary Paul, 30 years old who is also living with HIV/AIDS.  Mary Paul is a farmer with small pieces of land around their home.  Their home was started by her father, who died in 2008 before the home was completed.  Rose’s only living sibling a brother, who is not HIV positive, live in their home which was battered by the rains of 2010, leaving one room for living.

They are receiving medication from the government but they struggle to have food, especially proper nutrition for Rose Emmanuel who gets too ill to attend school.

I have taken Rose on, and with Juma’s help she will have the nutrition she needs daily. I hope to be able to meet Rose on my next trip to Kahama.

Juma has five other children in similar situations.  If you are interested in helping please let me know.

Please remain in your seat

KLM Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro

Nine hours from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. Two women who have not seen each other in a year, sitting in a row of seats to themselves.  “Two more mini bottles of wine please.”  I actually felt sorry for the passengers seated in front of us gabbing hens. Kelly and I caught up on men, people in Akumal, Mexico, dysfunction and family, all over cheap wine. Time flew.

Karibu (welcome) to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. It was nighttime. Like the expats we are, we tried to scoot through the nationals line at immigration. Skunked. To the end of the foreigners’ immigration line we went. A well dressed man from Cameroon stopped us as we giggled and tripped over ourselves in the tourist line. He gave us his card in case we would need a lawyer. Many times during our trip we considered throwing out his card, but thought twice because one never knows when a lawyer from Cameroon may come in handy.  Once we had our tourist visas, Kelly flagged a taxi for the 45 minute drive to Arusha. I took the opportunity to siesta in the back seat.

We arrived at our hotel in Arusha around 11PM. The night manager did not appreciate our late arrival, our wine-induced giddiness, nor our complaints when we discovered the room we were assigned was already occupied.

The hotel restaurant was closed so we asked the manager where we could get something to eat. With a scowl, she pointed down the street to a guy on the sidewalk grilling food.  He brought us meat-kabobs on a skewer, chips (french fries) and two warm beers.  He and another man, George, pulled up chairs and asked us questions about America. They told us of Tanzania’s attributes including the tanzanite mines, and if we wanted to go we could leave right away and they would be happy to take us.  We politely declined the late night mine tour.

One sobering declaration made by George during the evening’s conversation was that he had four wives.  While multiple wives is not unheard of in Tanzania, he told us that all four wives had genital mutilation.  I cannot recall what prompted his informing us of this.  I found it disconcerting that he spoke of it so casually.  One can reference Wiki as to the reasons this procedure is performed. There have been many concerted efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) to end this gruesome practice. The United Nations has also declared February 6 as “International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.”

Meet Travel Companion: Kelly Coladarci

Kelly Coladarci


Who is this Kelly Coladarci?  Who I thought she was and who I discovered she was on our trip were two different people.

If we jump back in time, at least 5 years, Kelly was just another person living in turtle-town Akumal, Mexico.   Another expat trying to find something, run from something or a little bit of both, as most foreigners do when they move on the coast.  I knew Kelly as an effervescent woman, an animal lover.  As a veterinary technician she helped with various Riviera Maya grass roots organizations in regards to animal clinics for strays, spay clinics and vaccinations. Kelly worked in tourism for a stint at one of our company’s competitors. We practiced yoga together.

Kelly is now program manager for the Humane Society International. She is responsible for international program development and disaster response. Prior to this, Kelly was with the Humane Society US in disaster relief be it natural disasters like hurricanes, or man made disasters like big puppy mills and cock fighting rings.

Kelly loves to drum and is one hell of a lot of fun!  This is what I knew about Kelly.

Kelly is not a morning person.

Kelly is not a morning person.

What I discovered about Kelly while enroute to Tanzania is that she had never been there before.  She is so well travelled and she spoke of Tanzania with such confidence, I was surprised to learn this would be her first trip.  Kelly continued to say that she did however live in Kenya while working as a caretaker for wildlife photographer Karl Ammann.  But her attraction to Africa was due to her experience as the Deputy Director of Program/Project Development with the Jane Goodall Institute in the US.  Kelly spent time in the Uganda chimp conservation project on Ngamba Island, Entebbe and near the Kibale forest in 1999.  Originally, the journey was to visit  the “partial JGI” chimp project but soon it turned into a job interview and discussion at the forest location in Kibale.  Funding never came through unfortunately, and Kelly spent the next year in the US.

Holy crap this woman has done some incredible stuff!

Kelly has infinite compassion for animals.  While in Arusha at a dog clinic, the Massai tribes men looked at Kelly as a dog whisperer, quieting struggling dogs and loving them while they received their rabies vacinations.  Men young and old smiled and laughed as this small American woman comforted their hounds that were accustom to rough treatment from their owners.

At the donkey clinics in Kahama, Kelly was hands on with the donkeys tending to their wounds, holding the beasts with ever ounce of her strength, as the vet did field surgeries.  The Kahama team put together by Tanzania Animals Protection Organization and Ajenda ya Watoto was almost a M*A*S*H unit for donkeys going town to town, and Kelly held the respect of every man on the team.

Kelly’s compassion does not stop there however.  No matter where we went she greeted people with a smile and some words in Swahili.  She would laugh and befriend the people we met on our journey, engaging them in conversation, reading to them  or taking their picture with her iphone and showing them their picture.

Buffalo Tanzanian Education Project

Originally from Western New York, my parents forwarded me this article which was in the Buffalo News today….

Katie J. Biggie of Kenmore is passionate about creating and expanding educational opportunities for girls and young women, even if it’s halfway around the world.

A University at Buffalo doctoral student, Biggie will be joining six others in carrying out that mission as part of UB’s Buffalo Tanzanian Education Project, which is working to give teenage girls in the East African nation alternatives to early marriage. The project works in partnership with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa.

“I have a basic right to an education by virtue of where and when I was born, but there are girls around the world who don’t have that opportunity,” Biggie, 31, said in a phone interview.

She and six other people affiliated with the Buffalo Tanzanian Education Project will travel to Tanzania on Sunday for a 12- day trip that will include the delivery of 12 solar cookers to women in the Kitenga village near Lake Victoria.

Women in Kitenga spend two to three days a week collecting firewood used to cook the one meal a day that feeds their families, Biggie said. The solar cookers, donated by Kate Paige Mecca of the Solar Liberty Foundation, are intended to free the women from having to travel long distances to collect firewood. That will allow them the freedom pursue other options, such as getting a formal education or earning much-needed income by weaving baskets or doing beadwork and selling their wares at the local market, Biggie said.

“Hopefully, we can work to set up finance programs so the women can get loans from the bank to start up their own businesses,” said Biggie, who noted that similar micro-financing programs for women have been successful in other developing nations.

This will be Biggie’s fourth trip to Tanzania. The first was in July 2009, when she and others from UB accompanied Tanzanian government officials on what was essentially a fact-finding mission. She explained that members of the Tanzanian Education Project have different interests in assisting the women of Tanzania, including establishing maternal health care and economic empowerment programs, which they hope to accomplish with assistance from the Tanzanian government and nongovernmental organizations in the country.

Biggie made several contacts on subsequent trips to Tanzania. On Monday, the group will fly to a small airport in the interior of Tanzania. On Wednesday, they will fly to Musoma to meet with Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa, who run the Kowha secondary school, the highest ranked secondary school for girls in the country. The university-educated nuns also operate a health clinic and an eco-friendly agricultural project, Biggie said.

On the last leg of their trip, the group will visit Kitenga to deliver the solar cookers. Biggie plans to chronicle the mission on her blog at .

Written by Harold McNeil of the Buffalow News

Turn your head and cough

Certificate of immunization
I had an overnight in Houston after arriving from Cancun, at the Marriot Hotel at the airport. The next day I was on a hunt for the Yellow Fever vaccination. My doctor did not have one, called around pharmacies, travel clinics, and nada (nothing). Googled my way around the Houston vaccination options, I finally found the shot I needed. Who would of thunk that the vaccination could be found at a grocery store! Yes Virginia, HEB grocery store’s RediClinic had the shot, and a traveler’s package, SCORE!

I hired a taxi from the hotel, went to Spring, Texas and their local HEB store. The receptionist was sick, hacking away, if there was any place to catch the flu this could have been the place. As I waited, I filled my basked with travel size Advil, Band-Aids, antibacterial waterless hand cleaner, mosquito repellant, and probably a bunch of other items I thought I might not be able to live without in Africa.

Back in the clinic, the nurse-doctor administered the Yellow Fever vaccination, I needed another round of Hep shots which they were out of (so I thought “screw it, won’t need them”). She mentioned Typhoid, and I mentioned, “oh I had that”, meaning I had just gotten over it. Ms. Nurse-doctor asked what it was like having typhoid and I told her aside from the chills & fever, the delirium was fine. Malaria. I have taken malaria preventative once in 1993, and I swore I would never take it again. I was so sick, the actual virus could not be worse. Ms. Nurse-doctor said over the years there has been a new preventative on the market, it costs a little more but people had reported less adverse reactions. I acquiesced, “Give me a ‘script.” Ms. Nurse-doctor also prescribed me some Cipro, antibiotic for good measure.

Well that great malaria preventative was $155 USD! But true there were no side affects.

I called a taxi to pick me up at the grocery, then looked for a Wells Fargo bank. It seems that my seldom used, ATM card had daily limits. $200 was just not going to get me beyond Dallas. The cabbie used his nifty GPS to find the closest Wells Fargo was in The Woodlands. Off we went. I get to the counter ask for cash, and efficiently the WF rep counted the cash. In my limited research I asked for many big bills, $100’s so I could get a better exchange rate once in Tanzania. I grabbed the money and ran. Checked out of the hotel, jumped the airport subway to the international departures terminal.

I checked in, stripped down, and got felt up (by TSA, bonus). With time to kill I needed a manicure and pedicure for the safari. I wanted my fingernails short so dirt did not accumulate under them. Forty-five minutes later Xpress Spa had me mani-pedi-ed up. An adaptor? Yes I needed one those! I went to one of those electronics kiosks and bought an adaptor good for 150 countries. (But was it good for Tanzania, hmm?) Thirty minutes to boarding. Hit the bar tossed back a couple gin & tonics, made a few last phone calls bidding farewells and to the gate I went.

To Amsterdam home of wooden shoes, windmills and “coffee shops”. I was meeting Kelly there. We only had a short layover so we could not check out the town. To me, the Amsterdam airport was like the Mall of the Americas with all its shops! First stop: the Oxygen Bar to snort 15 minutes worth of oxygen infused with lavender or eucalyptus. Next: Starbucks for a dirty Chai.

KLM airlines Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, flight time approximate 9 hours…

KLM Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.