Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Jitengeni Grand Opening and More

Today was our last full day of work in Tanzania, and tomorrow we will begin the journey home. Our main appointment of the day was to be present for the grand opening of new infrastructure at the Jitengeni Primary School. Before heading to Jitengeni, we stopped by Umoja Primary. Umoja is a potential future project site where 601 students are currently enrolled.

At Umoja, we were pleased to see that the community has been building two educational complexes (each containing two classrooms and a teacher’s office). Once again, the initiative was spearheaded by the DC, Robert Gabriel. We also met the district executive officer, George John, who helped answer some of our questions about projects in the area. From Umoja, our team travelled to Jitengeni for the grand opening with Mr. Gabriel and Mr. John.

The students and staff of Jitengeni welcomed us warmly with songs and dancing.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled by primary students and local dignitaries.

We were very pleased with the new classrooms at Jitengeni which have already been put to use. These classrooms were equipped with desks provided by the Tanzanian federal government.

24 septic toilets were constructed at Jitengeni, and the blocks have been fitted with washing stations. Prior to their construction, students at Jitengeni had to use dilapidated latrines which presented a serious health hazard.

Jitengeni previously had no access to clean water. ABW helped hook them up to the municipal water supply and also constructed a handwashing station.

Prior to ABW’s involvement at Jitengeni, animals and other unwanted visitors were able to freely wander into campus. A fence (with a very patriotic gate) was built to make this school safer for students.

The Jitengeni staff generously treated the ABW team to lunch after the ceremonies. We were all very grateful for the meal after a busy morning. While we were eating lunch, several energetic students were peeping at myself and Lawrence through the window. Afterwards, the students caught me outside and we were able to briefly talk about our interests (despite some language barriers).

After saying goodbye to the students and the DC, our team travelled to the Lushoto district to scope out a medical clinic in a village called Gare. We were escorted by the Lushoto MP who informed us of his community initiatives. On the way, we took a detour to see Korogwe from the Irrente viewpoint. The view from the precipitous cliff edge was sublime.

The dirt road to Gare was steep, windy and narrow. After driving several kilometers down the road, it started raining heavily, making the path even more precarious. Fortunately, we had no close calls with the edge of the cliff. Once in Gare, we continued through the muck on foot.

The partially completed Gare clinic has been entirely built by the community. We were greatly impressed by the progress they had made without outside funding; even the bricks were produced locally by the villagers. However, progress on this clinic has stalled and they are asking ABW to help them complete it. The sooner this clinic is finished, the better; people living near Gare must journey down the mountain to get medical help (most of them on foot).

Tomorrow, Eric and myself will be heading back to Canada (Lawrence, back to Kenya). This trip has been a tremendous experience; I will be writing a brief reflection when I get home.