Thursday, July 4, 2013

Headmaster gift presentation

Ensworth Headmaster David Braemer received a Banjika t-shirt from Banjika Headmaster Justin Joseph.

Thursday, July 4 - Project dedication/celebration

Today was project dedication/celebration day.  After breakfast we went to Banjika School where we were greeted by the students, their parents, school board members and village officials.  A temporary sign was posted on the classroom wall that will be replaced by a permanent one when the rooms are complete.  We had lunch of rice, beans, meat, and fruit.  Since it was a celebration we all had colas.  Colas are only reserved for celebrations and special days.  The students and teachers exchanged gifts and many speeches were given by members of our group and members of the Karatu community.  Our students entertained the crowd with an Ensworth cheer and a Tanzanian song. They were joined by the Banjika students for the second verse to sing together.  After the ceremony, many tears were shed by both groups of students as they said good-bye.  Many memories have been made but more importantly many relationships have been developed that won't end just because we are going home.  Email addresses were exchanged and plans were made to stay in touch.

Dinner tonight was a total surprise to the girls.  We grilled out hamburgers and hot dogs, had potato salad and macaroni & cheese and ice cream.  It was a great dinner for our last night in Karatu.  We ended the night with a candle passing ceremony where we reflected on the trip and talked about how we are going to take what we learned from this trip to improve our communities around Nashville.

Happy 4th of July!  We are proud to be Americans.

Adeline's 17th birthday

Adeline was very surprised at her birthday celebration.  She wore a special birthday crown, fed Caroline cake and smeared some on her face.

Work site after final work day

The two class rooms made significant progress since last Wednesday when we began work on the walls.  We are blessed to be a part of what they are doing in this community.  They will finish it in the coming months.  

Wednesday, July 3 - Final work day, hike

Today was our final work day, and we can't believe that the time has flown by so quickly.When we opened our eyes this morning, we were surprised to be surrounded by cozy blankets and soft pillows, as opposed to our tents and sleeping bags. We basically had a three-course breakfast, and then walked over to Banjika. We were shocked to see how much the workers (fundis) had accomplished in our absence—the walls were almost completely finished. Because the walls were so high, the day consisted mostly of moving bricks, mixing cement, and of course spending time with our Banjika friends. Because it was one of our last days with the girls, we spent some time "interviewing" them about their desires for the future, as well as some of their favorite memories from our trip to Tanzania. Then the girls decided to interview us, creating questions like: "What are some of the challenges your community faces and how do you plan to alleviate them?" (WHAT?!! ALLEVIATE?? Where did that come from?) That in-depth question caught us way off guard. 
During chai time today, we celebrated Adelina's 17th birthday with a special cake that the Sunstar Resort graciously baked for the occasion. As "Birthday Queen," she was given several privileges throughout the day, including smearing icing all over Caroline's face. Deeelicious. 
As our work day came to an end, Tim and Meshack led us on an adventure to a gorge back behind the school. We all instantly transformed into monkeys and scaled the steep sides of the clay mountains, before realizing that if we had gone around to the backside, the walls would have been a lot easier to get up. The hike was stunning, but because of the heat and hard work day, everyone was pretty exhausted. We walked back to the resort, took some wonderful showers and naps, and then went to eat a scrumptious and delectable dinner. Now, it is time to hit the hay, so goodnight and sweet dreams. Over and out. 

Shoutout to Mrs. Eubanks—Happy Anniversary!!! :)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tuesday, July 2

The group at FAME Clinic.  Front – Meshach, assistant principal at Banjika School.
Front row (L to R):  Grace, Caroline, Ashley, Sarah, Casey, Alexandra.
Middle row (L to R):  Abby, Sally, Madison, Devo, Susan Lambert, WLS instructor.
Top row (L to R): David Braemer, Ensworth Headmaster; Greg Eubanks, Kari Leah, & Brooke Morgan, Ensworth teachers 
Not pictured:  Tim Midinka, WLS in-country coordinator

Today we spent time visiting local leaders. Our first stop was Shalom Orphanage where we spent time listening to the story of the orphanage and meeting its leaders. A lot of the children are there because both parents died of AIDS and no other family members could or would care for them.  Some were abandoned, some were left outside to die, and some were neglected. We also got to meet some of the children, who were the most precious things ever. We got a tour of the buildings and got to play on the playground with our new friends. 
After the orphanage, we went to FAME Clinic, one of Karatu's medical facilities. It was started by a couple from America and they've lived here in Tanzania for around ten years. We learned it was started after a doctor almost died climbing Kilimanjaro.  He was convinced that more doctors are needed in rural Tanzania then in California.  Before FAME there were3 doctors for 220,000 residents.  We got to tour the facility and according to the previous visits, it is continuing to make improvements to provide better care for its patients.
The last leader we met was Angela, an HIV/AIDS victim after she was raped. She started an organization with other women who are also victims. They raise money by doing things like making sweaters and cooking food to support awareness groups. Angela told us her story, as Tim translated, and we got a tour of her buildings before we headed out.
Then we decided to take a little stop at the local market and just walk around. If you've ever been to Chinatown, it is exactly like that. Vendors come up to you and insist on you buying something from them. A few of us got some bracelets and necklaces, but most of us didn't buy anything. We left the market and went to our new hotel, Sunstar Resort. It was such a culture shock because we have not been used to a place this nice. We will spend three nights here before heading back home.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monday, July 1 - Safari day

While it was the 10th day of the trip for the group, it was my first day to join them. After arriving late Sunday evening in Arusha, I made it out to the Doffa Campsite by 8:00 in time to meet the group and the Banjika students. We then left for our safari in the Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is huge, representing the remnants of a volcano that rivaled Mt. Kilimanjaro in terms of height over a million years ago. In the crater there are Masai herders who  share the environment with a tremendous number of different animals. Over the course of the day, we encountered lions, wildebeests, hyenas, zebras, hippos, gazelles, warthogs and flamingos at amazingly close range. It was incredible to see these animals in their natural habitat and there were plenty of pictures taken that I am sure will be shared with you upon our return.

I could not be more impressed with our girls as they have truly embraced the opportunity to learn about and to serve this community. For example, it was our students who arranged to bring their sister-students from Banjika School on the safari. While these girls live in close proximity to the Ngorongoro Crater, most had never been there. Seeing the group interact with each other and share a memorable experience such as this, is at the heart of this trip and the bonds that have developed between these girls through their service work and home stays is strong.

Our day ended with a couple of gastronomic surprises. Our World Leadership School group leaders, Tim and Susan, went on a quest to surprise the group with ice cream. After disappearing for over an hour, they returned with all of the ice cream available in Karatu, which amounted to a half-gallon of strawberry ice cream (that was actually only half full). The effort was truly appreciated and reflects their care for the group. What we discovered around the campfire later in the evening, is that they also brought us a second surprise, the makings for s'mores! Despite Caroline's initial efforts to steal 9 chocolate bars to carry her through the rest of the trip, her conscience saved the day and all of the chocolate was returned.

Tomorrow, we are visiting with local leaders as well as an orphanage. I have no doubt that it will be another memorable day.

-David Braemer

Note from the girls: Quick S/O to the fams- we miss and love you!