Tuesday, 9 July 2019

A farewell to the village!

As the team departed from the Karimu Projects today for their safari... our Inspire Leader, Alex shared his reflections on the trip so far:

As we head out on safari, leaving our good friends at the institute of agriculture, who have cooked and cared for us, as well as laughed and danced with us, it's a chance to reflect on the project.

We've got volunteers from Brasil, Germany, America and the UK, all in Tanzania, working on school classroom construction, art classes for children, seeing what is needed to expand the health clinics, meetings with local leaders, mapping the local area, checking all the water points and more. As the president says, 'hapa kazi tu' - 'here there is only work!'

With so many languages and cultures in one place, the team has worked together, along with the Tanzanian team who are here year round driving the projects forward, and the community, to achieve a huge amount in a short time.

Yesterday's farewell ceremony, also a celebration of Nelson and Marshall's birthdays was a marathon of songs and speeches and gift giving. One feature of Tanzanian celebrations seems to be why stop at one song when five will do perfectly fine!

More than the work completed, it is the relationships forged during the lightening fast two weeks that continue to allow Karimu and now it's Tanzanian board and community leaders to work together to prioritize projects according to local need, not outside assumptions of what's best.

A Tanzanian phrase sums up this philosophy and approach, and the feeling between the volunteers, Tanzanian team and community - 'tupo pamoja' -'we are together'

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Dohom Secondary School

Today I went with the school team to build hydraulic brigdes in a secondary school. After an hourlong drive through beautiful landscape we arrived at Dohom Secundary School. 

We were greeted by the children singing for us and the headmaster was welcoming us. He showed us the school and invited us into his office to show us the golden star the school received for outstanding prformance in 2016.

In classsroom the children were divided in groups of five, got the material (popsicle sticks, wooden blocks, glues, two syringes and a piece of tube). We had a 3D Model with us to show what they were supposed to do and also pictures to work step by step. 

The children were first very shy but one girl understood the concept very quickly and together they succeeded in finishing that bridge which could lift a couple of papers. 

The physics teacher and the headmaster also were in the classroom and got involved in the fun.

In the end the headmaster said: “we are not only teachers we are faciliators. It us our duty to transform the children in order to transform the community”

In the afternoon class we made the same expieriences, the children enjoyed very quietly to work on the bridge. The headmaster of this school said in the  end that he was impressed by the project and that he is planning to build a bigger model of the bridge with the children soon.

It was a nice project, thank you to Cathy and the arts team.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

School work

6 days, 12 schools, 496 students throughout the Ayalagaya and Arri Wards. Each morning and evening driving through stunning landcapes including the Great Rift Valley! Feeling so blessed and privileged  to be among such beautiful people in an enchanting country.

5 groups, 4 rotations, morning and afternoon, kids from 3-10 years old. Fun with geometry. . . painting, building, sorting, matching and creating.  The enthusiastic teachers and heads of school were so welcoming and interested as we transformed their classrooms from neat rows of benches to small group stations. While the students seemed shy at first, they fully engaged with us and the lessons. Absolutely essential to the success of our days, are our translators, Alfred and John. Asante sana, John and Alfred.

Many songs of thanks fill our hearts and stay with us still. We now have many more than 500 new friends and share a special bond with our fellow teachers- all of us sharing a special love of children and learning. The work has filled us with joy and we hope to continue to grow these friendships into partnerships in the years to come.

Three more schools to go- we move onto the secondary schools with a cool physics project! We look forward to watching the students work in groups to build a model hydraulic bridge. 

These projects could not have been so successful without every volunteer spending their free time cutting, coloring, tracing, counting, sorting, etc.

Asante sana- nakupenda!

(P.S. Miss and love you so much-
Jim, Ed, Caylah, Mishy, Rosie and George)

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Dareda Kati Clinic - Gratitude and challenges

Since I arrived for this volunteering as a Karimu doctor it has been an amazing experience that I could never imagine. The main goal for these two weeks has been to share medical information in order to increase the quality of the health systems in the Dareda region.

We’ve been working in three different clinics/hospitals dealing with patients for clinical appointments from all medical specializations, mainly in pediatrics and gynecology/obstetrics. We deal with some emergencies but, if any other procedure is required, we refer the patient to the closest hospital.

Yesterday, we had the honor to receive the Secretary of Health of the region, Mr. Madama. He had the opportunity to tell his experience and the perspectives about the hospital and clinics attended by Karimu. In the end, he was so grateful and enthusiastic for our job, that just hearing that, the volunteering was already worth it.

But, the most important return is the love, the handshakes, the gratification in every look and the smiles in every face which we receive in every minute.

For the following days, we will keep teaching protocols of various pathologies, first aid courses, and also evaluating the current lacks to see how the government and Karimu might help the population.  My vision would be the improvement in the prevention of infectious diseases, effective and continuous treatment for chronic diseases and childcare.

Thanks for this lifetime opportunity, but a special appreciation for the founders of this wonderful project, team leaders and for my brother, Nelson Mattos.

Denise Mattos

Monday, 1 July 2019

Girls workshops

Another fascinating day in the beautiful Dareda Region of Tanzania.  All of our teams were hard at work today in their respective tasks.

The construction team did lots of plastering and painting.  Their boundless energy is always inspiring.

Our 3 day leadership training with girls that are nearing the end of secondary school started today (with age range between 15 and 18).  Holly, Ego, Mariana, Christine and Victoria are leading it.  The workshop focusses first on helping the girls identify strengths in themselves and in other women who they recognize as strong women.  The team will help them think about their career possibilities more broadly and put together a general plan to meet it.  While we had expected the girls to be fairly shy and perhaps reluctant to speak their own minds, we were thrilled and blown away at the diversity of women they admired and the beautiful articulation what attributes a strong women should have and why.

Our doctors’ team had a long day seeing 24 patients, including a small baby with pneumonia who they ended up sending to the hospital.  We have realized that at a small clinic like ours, there is much we can do to better educate our doctors in how to diagnose and treat patients, using the appropriate equipment efficiently.  One of the challenges is also that a lot of patients have much difficulty in articulating the information necessary for the doctor to make a diagnosis.  

Our survey team of Claudia, Melina, Alfred and Wolf did lots of walking to map the boundaries of each sub village of Gajal to understand better the layout of the region.

The school team led by Cathy who is a master of creativity and improv went to Arri’s Endasago Primary School this morning.  In the afternoon, because of a bee problem at Bacho, the kids walked to Ufani school for the session.  I am part of the school team and I am really enjoying working with the kids.  There is nothing more heart warming than seeing a little kid, shy and frozen at the beginning of the session blossom and become involved and creative by the end.  John has been an invaluable help in translating and assisting us with the kids.

Last but not least, a group of ten of us was treated to an invitation at Yasenta’s home just behind the Institute.  Yasenta radiates generosity and joy.  She cooked us a wonderful meal and all her family entertained us with their dancing and singing.  Then the church choir came to the house and sung for us.  They ended up escorting us, singing, back to the institute.

That’s all for today.


Sunday, 30 June 2019


Yesterday we all had a sports competition with students in Ayalagaya. I played a local game together with the young girls. We had two teams and a small ball made out of old socks. There were two people that were throwing the ball trying to hit the person from the other team who was standing in the middle. The goal was to not get hit or you were out. There were also soccer and volleyball games going on. In the end all the children got together and sang a whole load of songs to us which was a lot of fun. They are singing with all their hearts.

In the evening the Massai were visiting us and were dancing and singing and selling some of their handcrafts.

Today, Sunday, we were able to sleep in a bit and left at 9.30 am for the mass in catholic church. The church was packed with people, we were sitting in front, close to the choir. The choir did a wonderful job, the music was touching our hearts. I was able to sang a small part together with them (all Allelujas - easy to memorize). In the end the priest asked us to come up front an introduce ourselves to the community. Nelson addressed the community, talking in Swahili about the work of Karimu. He also invited all of them to the farewell festivities.

After church we had dinner at the priest’s house and then headed to the local market, which for me was a complete new experience. It took place on a huge field, filled with many people selling all sorts of goods: food, fruits, meats (the animals were hanging there, already skinned), fabrics, shoes, everything people need. The place was buzzing of life and people, everyone wanted to sell you something, but they accepted when we said “No, thanks”. 

We got some nice fabrics for a good price thanks to the bargaining of our team member Ego. It was really hot and after 45 minutes most of us were ready to get home.
Before dinner I gave a talk about the benefits and joy of singing, which went well, the volunteers seemed to like it and our little round sounded quite well in the end.

Before I go to bed I will stargaze a little bit and admire the African sky.

We ended the first week successfully and looking forward for the next one. A big thank you to our team leaders, they are a great support and motivation and very well organized.

Greetings to you all,

Friday, 28 June 2019

Down to work

Today was our third day onsite with projects from  Karimu. Some of us went to the construction site, working on the areas we started on Wednesday. We helped to get several piles of broken bricks out of the way forming a long line with about 15 local women and several volunteers. Working together by handing the bricks along our chain was a great experience and very efficient. After finishing, the locals started singing for us and soon we were all dancing and singing together. 

Anyhow, we proceeded to the next spot where we were supposed to work. We completed the work from Wednesday and paved a sidewalk. It was very hard to mix and carry the concrete, but it was worth all the effort! Now there will be a stable and plain sidewalk instead of uneven and dirty ground (which caused problems especially during rainy season).

Working with this community and seeing what can be achieved with many helping hands is very fulfilling.

Other groups were doing school projects, midwifes training, savings groups meeting, checking water points - just to name some.

Looking forward to continue our work to help the people and learning more about the people and their culture every day thanks to Karimu! It's a gift to be able to participate in such projects!

Christine Gustav

A farewell to the village!

As the team departed from the Karimu Projects today for their safari... our Inspire Leader, Alex shared his reflections on the trip so far: ...