postheadericon One Year with Maji Safi Group

A year has passed so fast… Read about my working experience on Maji Safi Group’s blog.


postheadericon Rundbrief Nummer 3

In meinem dritten ofiziellen Rundbrief habe ich Zahlen zu unserem Einsatz während des Cholera-Ausbruchs zusammengefasst und berichte über die Health Screenings, die im Juli und August statt fanden. Zudem gebe ich euch einen Einblick, wie wir in „Luoland“ feiern. Viel Spass beim Lesen!

Rundbrief_03 Susan Waltisberg


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postheadericon Cats

As cats on the internet seem to be a popular topic, I guess I have to come up with some pictures of cats too. And I also have a story to go along.

When I had my first „meeting“ with a black mamba (a snake, you can rapidly die of its poison) in my neighbours garden, people told me, that the best „weapon“ against snakes are cats. I have not yet figured out how, but they seem to be able to kill these beasts. So I thougt it would be a good idea to have a cat: inside of the house, it can clean up with all the cockroaches, caterpillars and other disgusting little things and outside of the house it can hunt for snakes, mice, rats or whatever. My plan was to have a young, but not too young cat, as I am working all day and do not have time, to feed it with a bottle or taking care for it many hours a day.

A friend soon sent me a picture of a pretty looking cat, that seem to be exactly what I was looking for. So Lola came to place to live with me and do the job, as described above. Unfortunately, she was not used to live close to human beings and was terrified. On the first day, she scratched my hands and arms terribly and I looked like a victim of domestic violence, as one of my bosses said. I used to wrap her into a towel or a kanga as well as in a plastic bag and hugged her and carried her around. The fabric was to protect myself from her claws and the plastic bag because she was so afraid, that she peed and pooped. She had to stay in one room of my house, when I was not around and it was hard work, to get her house-trained. After about one month, she was still a shy cat, but she accepted me and began to love me and the cat biscuits I have bought her. She came to my bedroom in the morning to greet me and was running behind my feet when I was walking around in the house.

It was time, to open the door and let her experience the environment. For about another month, she used to leave the house in the evening and came back around three or four a clock in the morning (I know that, because she tried sometimes to come into my bed, which is a no-go). One morning, she did not come back any more. And I do not think, that she was running away, but get catched by another animal or a motorcycle or whatever. And I also blamed one of my brothers, that he had killed and eaten the cat because of a discussion we had, that in Switzerland some people do eat cats and dogs… But that’s another story and for sure, I did not mean it seriously, but my brother has to live now with this story, as the whole family is kidding about him eating my cat.

As Lola’s mama get pregnant again, my friend asked me, if I wanted to have another cat. So I have the bed, the bowls and biscuits for a cat (and still work to do for it), so I said, yes, let’s try again. I have met Bobby as a little baby for the first time and he/she moved now to my house (I am still not sure, if it’s a male or female kitten – and different people tell me different things…). It’s still a baby and therefore not that much afraid of human beings. But the first two nights, there was no sleep for me at all. It was crying so loud for it’s mama, it was heartbreaking. At the moment, it stays inside of the house, as I want to have it grown up a bit before it will leave the house for adventures. I really do hope, I will have it for a longer time than Lola. And as my brother is staying at Mwanza for studies now, the chances seem to be high…

So here are some pictures:

postheadericon You will love this video!

Shirati Wana Vipaji

One of Maji Safi Group’s favorite success stories of the year was our first ever “Shirati Wanavipaji” (Shirati’s Got Talent). Contestants of all ages came from around the Rorya District to complete. In February, over 2,500 community members came to the semi- finals and finals to watch this exciting event. We look forward to making “Shirati Wanavipaji” an annual celebration of community talent that helps build momentum around advancing community-driven sanitation and hygiene practices through life-saving education!

Check out our blog post about the event and watch the Shirati Wanavipaji short video, created by INTERTEAM development worker, Christoph Stulz.

postheadericon Health Screenings – Update

After 4 1/2 weeks, we finished this year’s health screening with a testing day at the primary school in Sota. During the time we had the health screenings, the Maji Safi Group team was either at the office preparing the next testing days or out in schools to test students and family members. On two days, we also held screenings at our office.

With this first health screening and mass treatment we reached 3068 people in Shirati. We worked together with staff from the Rorya District Medical Office as well as with laboratory technicians, nurses and doctors from the KMT District Hospital in Shirati. 949 people from 210 families who have been, or will be, participants in the MSG programs were screened, as well as 2119 students from four primary schools (1 private and 3 governmental) who have received education from Maji Safi Group.

It was a tough time for all of us, working hard and on long shifts. But we also had fun together, made jokes and found time to chat. One of the most important strengths of Maji Safi Group is a team, that works together extremely well.

I have put together some more impressions about that time. The pictures of me were taken by Christoph Stulz.

postheadericon Health Screenings – Students

Yesterday and today we did health screenings with students at Shirati Primary School in Shirati. We are testing students of different schools, some of them already have education from Maji Safi Group (our After School program) and are regularly taught about disease prevention and proper WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) behavior, other schools are starting participating in our program. And we will test students at privat and governemental schools. All students will get tested, but medicine will only be handed out, if parents are on place. To make sure, that the medicine will be taken as prescribed and that the parents know, what the child is suffering of.

Have a look at these impressions of the last two days:

postheadericon Health Screenings – Families

We started doing health screenings with the families of the employees of Maji Safi Group. Last week, we did tests with families participating in our Home Visit program. Families, who are taught in disease prevention and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) behavior for a longer time and families who just enrolled. The first two days, July 14 and 15, we did the screenings at Maji Safi Group’s office in Shirati. On July 16 and 17 we could use the infrastructure of Tina’s Educational Center in Nyamagongo, a little village of Shirati.

All participants in the testing are tested on water borne diseases and optionally on malaria. Maji Safi Group is offering free medicine for the treatment of the water borne diseases, but not for malaria. These patients are sent to dispensaries or the hospital. We also offer free porridge to everyone – as patients suffering of bilharzia have to take medicine on place which requests a full stomach.

Every staff member of Maji Safi Group has its own task. Some are responsible for getting samples of stool and urine, some are doing registration and teaching, some are giving medicine and are doing malaria tests, others are measuring and weihging the people. I am in charge for uji (porridge), water and taking pictures. Jackob Lucas had a bit time on Friday to take over my camera, so there are also some pictures of me working in the field.

This week, we will start the tests with school children, participating in our After School program. Pictures will follow!

postheadericon Annual Report 2014

The annual report of Maji Safi Group is published.

You can download it here: Annual Report 2014

postheadericon Health Screenings for the People of Shirati

Last week, I have spent a few lazy days at home. I sew curtains, built a garden together with my brother – having Mama’s instructions… – and enjoyed family life in Shirati. On Saturday, we started the health screenings for families participating in Maji Safi Group’s Homevisit program. We will also test participants of the After School program (hundreds of children!) and the Singing & Dance and Female Hygiene program. The screenings will go on until mid August and afterwards, there will be a lot of analyzing stuff to do.


As Linda Stamm was supporting us with her knowledge and experience in doing health screenings for the ACT Mara in Musoma, she and Florian stayed in Shirati over the weekend. So I have had a great time with friends and family!

Friends and family... makes me just happy!

Friends and family… makes me just happy!

Friends and family... makes me just happy!

Friends and family… makes me just happy!

Linda, Florian, Silas and Irdhi on top of Shirati...

Linda, Florian, Silas and Irdhi on top of Shirati…

postheadericon Updated Video

Paul Horton and Christoph Stulz have taken a lot of video material for Maji Safi Group while they were here. During the next months I will let you know, when there’s a new video published. As for now, have a look at the updated video with general information about Maji Safi Group.

FB ScreenShot Video