Imagine you’re flying in a small, rickety plane, overlooking jungles and red deserts and all of a sudden you’re facing a huge mountain that is taller than the 20,000 ft. of elevation you’re flying at. That is exactly what we saw when we approached Mt.Kilimanjaro and started our descent for the Kilimanjaro airport. It definitely got us excited for the amazing summer that is ahead of us.
We live in a small village just outside of Arusha, Tanzania near the base of Mt. Meru. It is seriously BREATH TAKING here! We walk up and down red, muddy roads surrounded by the most green, lush jungle. The kids love to run out and greet us in Swahili. The people are so friendly here.
We’ve settled in and are getting pretty accustomed to using Tanzanian Shillings and riding the dala dalas. We also have a good start on project planning and such. Our country directors, Tyler and America Nelson, did an AMAZING job before we got here at finding contacts and potential partners for our service work here.
One of our contacts is a man named Ernest. Ernest lost his wife to HIV/Aids. He and his young daughter are both positive as well. Here in Africa there is a stigma that a person with HIV/Aids is basically useless and just waiting to die. But, Ernest has tried to fight this stigma and help others who are positive as well. He and a woman named Anna started an orphanage to support children and struggling families. Anna lost her husband because he was positive and too ashamed to seek medical attention. Most people who have HIV/Aids are embarrassed or afraid so they keep it a secret and sometimes die because they won’t receive treatment. We have a few potential projects with the orphanage which include starting a pig farm, building all the pens and teaching the children how to care for the animals in order to receive revenue and support the orphanage financially and make it self-sustainable.
That is just one of many projects we are going to be working on. We're also working with special needs children at a school called Step-by-Step, teaching business, working with HIV positive groups, teaching English, and so many other projects as well. We’ll give more updates as we get more time.