Monday, October 14, 2013

The Schnurman Pharmacy KMET, Kisumu, Kenya

RISE Board Members

Going Home From School

Mt. Meru Crater

Women's Group

Hinda and Penina

Peter Teaching MS Excel

Hinda on Safari

Mom and Baby Baboons Arusha NP

P&H and Flamingos Arusha NP

Zebras Arusha NP

Blog 2 Tanzania October 14, 2013

Jambo, from Arsusha, Tanzania!!!

Here we are entering our third week in Arusha.  Even though we have not been here for very long, we have made many friends, accomplished much and have already been on one short safari. By the way, in case you didn’t know it, Tanzania was used to be known as Tanganikya but changed its name to reflect the joining of Tanganikya and Zanzibar when it became a part of Tanganikya.

Before we tell you what we are up to, we would like to report that the Schnurman Pharmacy in Kisumu, Kenya is up and running.  This is the pharmacy in the building Peter helped KMET to build over the last couple of years.  KMET has decided to name the pharmacy after him and as you can see by the photo the building is complete and the pharmacy is known to all.  Peter will be going to Kenya in December for the dedication of the building and pharmacy.    Please notice the tree in the foreground.  It is Jacaranda that is providing shade to the pharmacy clients.  Good Work, Peter!

First, let us tell you about some of the work we have been doing.  As you know we are working with a small NGO that has few programs and less money. At this time they have a successful school program for orphans and vulnerable children which includes a preschool and school fees for children entering primary school. They also have a training program for vulnerable teens and young adults, mostly girls, where they provide computer training, and several women’s groups made up of village women who all own small businesses, i.e. vegetable sellers, fruit sellers, tailors, etc. The women contribute small amounts of money and build up funds to loan to other women to start small businesses. We are finding speakers for the women who want to about malaria, nutrition, etc., and also a bank which will pay them interest on their deposits (until now they don’t get interest).  They did have a clinic but because they did not have enough money to run it they turned it over to the government just before we arrived.

We have been mostly involved with the training program, the women’s groups and building capacity of the staff.  As you know we brought 7 laptops (thanks to many of you) with us and when we set them up alongside the three desktops they already had, we realized that the room they were in was too small, so Peter asked to meet with the owner of the complex where the program is currently residing.  There was one vacant building in the complex so Peter was able to negotiate with the landlord to let Rise have the building free for one month, then a very reduced rate for the next two months and then he will try to arrange for favorable terms for the next several months.  We have already raised the money for the two months of reduced rent.  By the day after the program people found out what Peter had arranged they had already moved all the computers into the new space and were set to go.  We also found that although the students were being taught Microsoft Word, they did not know how to type, so we arranged to have a couple of different typing training programs loaded on the computers.  Peter is now also teaching excel to three staff members.

When we met with the women’s groups we asked what they need and of course, the answer was most everything.  But especially basic things like clothes, soap and other everyday things.  Peter asked the owner of the hotel we are staying at, who is a very successful business man here in Tanzania, if he might be able to help and he said, “yes” right away.  We are going to meet with him this week to work out the arrangements for his donations and to also arrange to meet with other business people in Arusha.
As in most of the other places we have been we are concentrating on building the capacity of the staff but mostly of the executive director who is a very nice man but not very assertive.  Peter has taken him to all his negotiation meetings and he is already showing signs of being able to promote himself and Rise so that the programs will grow.

As we told you before Arusha is a nice city small but clean and we now realize there are banana trees everywhere we turn.  As soon as you get off the main road they surround all buildings and many have bananas hanging from them.  It is really very pleasant. And even though we have only been here for a short time, we are living in a hotel and I certainly have gotten used to never having to make the bed.  I don’t know what I will do when I get home.

This past Saturday we went on our first short safari.  Safari means “trip” so it can mean one day or many days. We have hired a driver/guide named Sylvester who was recommended by a couple of our friends in Seattle, thanks Jill and Ross. He thinks of everything and has several vehicles that will take us wherever we want to go.  This first one was to Arusha National Park, which is only a 45 minute ride out of Arusha. Although it is a very small park and unusual because it is forested in many places, even including a rain forest with moss growing on the trees, we were greeted by a herd of Buffalo and Zebras when we arrived.  We also saw Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Wart Hogs, Giraffe, and Baboon, Colobus Monkeys, Flamingos and several small birds.  The day was full and we really enjoyed it. Next Saturday we will take Lake Natron, which is the largest breeding place in Africa for Flamingos.  This is the breeding season and we have heard that there are as many as three million Flamingos breeding. Wow.

Different cultures can sometimes be confusing, and one of the confusing things about Swahili culture, (here, Kenya, and elsewhere in part of East Africa), is how you tell time.  You need to subtract 6 hours from Western or International time.  For example, 8:00  becomes 2:00  and then you have to say it is 2 in the morning or the evening!  Got it?  My watch says it is 3:30p.m which here is 9:30a,m..  It is easy to get confused and tell someone the wrong time to meet.  

Hope you enjoy this and the photos.  It is nice to hear from you, so your emails and comments are always welcome.

You can wish us safari salaama for our safari next week.  Yes, safari salaama is correct.

And finally, Hinda is always too modest.  She talks about Peter this and Peter that, but it really we are a team (for the past nearly 53 years), and it is Peter AND Hinda.

Hope you enjoy this blog and photos.  We love to hear from you, so write often.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Nursery School Student

Lunch Time

Penina, Nursery School Teacher

Computer Lab

Carring Wood


Blog 1
Arusha, Tanzania
October 6, 2013

 Jambo from Tanzania!
We have just completed our first week here in Arusha, and we want to tell you about what we have been doing, where we are living, work, etc.

 We left Seattle with 6 HEAVY suitcases and 2 wheel chairs.  After some 20 hours im the air, we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport and were greeted by the Director of RISE Africa and one of the staff members.  Arusha is about 40 kilometers from the airport.
We checked in to our hotel where we have decided to live.  It is a very friendly place and all of the staff take good care of us.  This is a very clean place and so is Arusha, the cleanest place we have lived in all of Africa, and the most beautiful huge jacaranda trees.  Jacaranda trees have beautiful purple flowers. 

As we have decided to stay at this place, we got a very special rate: $12.50 per night including breakfast!!

 Since we have been getting over our jet lag this past week, we ate most of our dinners here at the hotel (Meru View Motel).  We ordered different things each night, but somehow they all tasted the same.  We also discovered that there is only one of each thing in the restaurant:  one sugar bowl, one margarine, one jam, etc., so there is a lot of sharing with other tables.

 Arusha is like all of the other places we have lived around the world:  sometimes water, sometimes power, sometimes neither, and sometimes all of it.

As you know, Peter is a diabetic, and uses insulin daily.  The room has no refrigerator, so we keep the insulin in the restaurant beer cooler.
RISE Africa is a small NGO.  Everyone who works there is a volunteer, from the Director on down.  This is nice, but also problematic, because people need to earn money and as they find employment, they leave which of course creates problems with continuity, learning curves, and so on.
There is an preschool for orphans and vulnerable children between 4 and 6 years old.  When the children reach 6 they go to a government school and RISE pays for the school fees, uniforms, and books.  There is also a women’s program where the women have developed some small income generating programs.  They meet a couple of times a week to discuss common issues and problems.  There is a computer lab for vulnerable youth (we brought 7 laptops which everyone is excited about and already using.  Thanks to those of you who have donated them.  Soon we will set up a photography program for similar youth with the cameras that we brought and that you were kind and generous enough to donate.  Hopefully in the near future we will be sending you some of their photos.  The intent is to teach them, and RISE will lend them the cameras and they will charge for their photo services.

The wheel chairs we brought will be loaned out for those in need.
The clinic that we thought they had was recently turned over to the government because of lack of money to operate it.
The real need of RISE Africa is to raise funds and we are going to try to help with that as best as we can.
RISE Africa is located in a Maasai village named Oldadoi just a short distance from where we live on a muddy dirt road.  It has a small office in a compound of 4 buildings that is secure and very nice.  We have a taxi that takes us back and forth every day.
Each country has it own unique customs.  One of them here is a bride give away.  Two days before the wedding, usually on a Thursday there is truck with a band playing music followed by a car with the bride and her parents.  They drive around town telling all that the parents are giving the bride to be married.  The bride stays alone for one day and then gets married on Saturday.  Fun!
We are planning several safaris, the first of which is to Arusha National Park.  Arusha is close to several of the nicest parks including Nngorogoro and Serengetti, so it will be easy for us to go.

We will tell you more next time.  Until then, love and hugs,

Peter and Hinda