Archive for November, 2014

postheadericon Ooops…

Don’t take my words too serious today, but:

May it be possible, that black humor works in Africa like voodoo? Yesterday in the morning some workers started to get the bats out of my house. I was saying to my neighbour that I would be pleased if they would not destroy the house while taking measures that no new bat colony enters under the roof. He was laughing and meant that would be not the case, I should not worry. A few hours later, half of the ceiling in my living room was coming down and I really started to worry – I mean, I prefer to stay in a house rather than in a tent. By today, the bats are still in the house (and due to hole in the ceiling they fly through the house at night) but the ceiling seemed to be quite stable fixed.

My concern now: the other day I came home at dawn and my neighbour was standing outside my house (doing nothing), dressed completely in black and leaning on a dangerous looking gardening tool. I said, I would be a bit afraid of him. He was laughing and explained me the use of the tool. And I was saying: „You could also kill your neighbour with it.“ He was laughing even more and said he would never ever do that. Me: „all massmurderer say that in advance…“. So am I in danger now? Would maybe best for my own security to stop saying things out of black humor…

 

 

postheadericon Miss Maji Safi 2014

Today seems to be a good „internet connection day“ – I could upload a lot of pictures of last Saturdays event! The election of Miss Maji Safi is the highlight for all participants in the Maji Safi Group’s (MSG) Female Hygiene program.

About the Female Hygiene program:
„There is a serious lack of sanitary materials, receptacles for waste, and information on puberty/menstruation for women and girls in rural areas of Tanzania, and there are cultural stigmas and safety hazards for females. Since education on these topics is not readily accessible, and there are few safe places to talk about their changing bodies, many girls are frightened when they start menstruating. Girls often stay home from school while they are menstruating and consequently fail to reach their full academic potential.

Maji Safi started the Female Hygiene Program to address these obstacles. The program provides a safe space where girls, ages 8 years and older, are invited to learn about their bodies, puberty, healthy relationships, and proper hygiene and care. Girls are encouraged to participate in fun activities and have an open dialogue with the female community mentors. When young women know about their bodies, the changes that occur, and how to stay hygienic, they become empowered and understand that they can still receive an education while having a menstrual cycle. Girls who feel comfortable with the material are able to teach their peers in local schools, promoting student-to-student learning and creating leaders amongst adolescent girls.“ (majisafigroup.org)

Our Miss Maji Safi is a representative of the program for a year. And gets donated gifts such as pads (reusable for one year), school material etc. This year, 65 girls participated in the Female Hygiene program and the top 10 of them were chosen to get in the election for Miss Maji Safi 2014.

For the first time this year we also elected Miss Mabalozi 2014 out of the Community Health Workers working for MSG.

All participants and member of the MSG team worked hard over a long time for this special event. And we were really lucky, as it did not rain that day (usually it is now raining every day for a few hours – mostly in the afternoon or evening).

 

postheadericon Miss Maji Safi 2014 – Preparation

Last Saturday, we elected Miss Maji Safi 2014. But before reporting about the event, I will show you a few pictures from the preparation an exercises – as I finally could upload some. It’s sad not be able to show you more, but there are still huge problems with the internet connection.

 

postheadericon Miss Maji Safi 2014 – November 22nd 2014

Unfortunately, our super-dooper-fast internet connection has broken down. After talking to several people on the hotline I still was not able to fix the „shida kubwa“. So we are waiting for a specialist to come up to Shirati. I have to confess, I am a bit impatient… Because I have taken some really nice pictures of the preparations for our next big event, the election of Miss Maji Safi 2014. One of the girls who participates in our Female Hygiene program can get the title of Miss Maji Safi and win donated products like pads and other useful „lady things“. So the girls are really excited already and passionate in exercising and learning.

If you have ever watched reality tv shows like „next topmodel“ of where ever and thought the girls have to go to a tough program, you do not yet know Freddy, our choreographer. Wow, if someone had looked at me that strict way when I was 13 and walking and dancing in front of a lot of spectators – I would have bursted out in tears, I guess… In fact, he is really nice and funny, just taking his job seriously. And the girls make huge progresses from training unit to training unit. And they know how to dance already!

In the meantime, the soccer tournament „Maji Safi Cup“ has also started and the boys are fighting hard to win the cup – the winner team will get a goat and they all look forward to get it. The final will be on December 6th and I will be there and take pictures to show you our soccer talents.

So we at Maji Safi Group are really busy. And I am so happy to be member of this team of innovative people!

postheadericon Sad Story

Usually I write about good things happening to me and people I am working and living with. But there are also other stories to tell. Because sometimes bad things happen.

Last monday, the directors of Maji Safi Group had to deal with some issues in Musoma, a city a bit further in the south. On their way back in the afternoon, the taxi they were sitting in, hit a cyclist on the road near Shirati. As I know it just from hearsay, I can not say, who was responsible for the accident. Anyway, the cyclist hit the windshield of the car and fall over the car. At first glance, it was obviously that he had broken a leg and a broken arm. But he was conscious and could talk. People came around and wanted him to sit up and to put him on a pikipiki (motorcycle taxi) to the Shirati hospital. The directors of Maji Safi Group insisted in calling an ambulance, fearing the man could have internal bleedings. One of the directors got minor cuts on arms and legs due to the broken windshield, but luckily, they have had no major injuries.

To transport sick or injured, even unconcious people, by pikipiki to the hospital is commen here. Because it’s an easy and cheap way – and people here often do not have health insurances and have to pay all medical expenses by themselves. But this time, an ambulance was called an brought the man to hospital. The driver of the taxi went to the police station, where he had to stay the night, locked up.

Both directors were shocked about what happened and in deep sorrow about the injured cyclist – but hoped, it would turn out just as a broken leg and a broken arm. But after about 2 hours, we’ve been informed by the hospital that the man had also broken his neck and was paralyzed in the meantime. Another 2 hours later, the man died.

So the next day, as I went to the house of my bosses, I have asked their „mama“ how they were. As there is just the answer „good“ for the question „how are things“, it is just the tone that tells you, that things are far away from good… As the man lived close to the office of Maji Safi Group, we all went to visit the family in the morning. We expressed our condolences and were then sitting for about 2 hours in front of the house. Neighbours brought benches and chairs and many people from the village came around for condolences and were then sitting around the house. Sometimes you could here women cry and moan. Then we all went to the mortuary to attend the family collecting the corpse. As we arrived, another family just left the hospital to the back entrance, carrying their dead child in their arms…

One more time I was glad to have my Tanzanian colleagues: the women knew, that I did not know, how to follow the rites. And instead of explaining me what to do they just took me by the hand and made me follow them. So it was less obvious for the people that I have had no experience how to act, as it is common here that people hold each others hands. But these were really sad days and to show our respect, we closed the office for two days.