Getting Started in Tanzania

By Jim Moyer;  UC Engineering student, Engineers Without Borders – UC chapter former President and Village Life Co-op for Causes student.

EWB-UC travelers are on their way to Shirati, Tanzania for the construction of the new classrooms at the Kingigoro primary school in Burere as I type this update. Traveling with them is Emily Elliott, who was a major part of the construction of Village Life’s Roche Health Center. I am ahead of the group working on logistics with our partners, the Shirati Health, Education, a Development Foundation (SHED) and Village Life Outreach Project (VLOP). We are hard at work preparing for the groundbreaking tomorrow and the beginning of construction this coming Monday. A few other updates follow as well as a few sneak peek pictures from the work so far. So far, the Village Life team and I have been very busy since our arrival in Shirati Monday night. Yesterday we visited the village of Roche and were able to see a day of the functioning Roche Health Center (picture).

Village Life USA members visit the clinic operations at Roche Health Center during the June trip.

It’s exciting to know that, in just a few short days, we will be starting construction on an equally impressive building in Burere. We received word that our plans were well-received by the village, our partners at SHED and also the Rorya District government during a meeting with SHED leadership Tuesday morning. Our partners at SHED have been working hard and have visited Burere and the district government offices to discuss our approval and the upcoming construction. All indications are that everyone is excited and that the community has already begun preparing the site! Today was equally busy. Dr. Chris Lewis, the founder of VLOP, and I traveled to the district offices with a few SHED members to meet several officers and discuss projects including the Burere school. The project and the efforts of EWB and VLOP were very well-received by all of the people we met there. Many of the officers were also very happy to know that we are bringing some new skills to the region through education. After the trip to the district, we traveled to Nyambogo to meet with the committees there (picture).

Village Life and EWB-UC travels to Nyambogo to meet with committee members.

The new water catchment system, implemented by VLOP this past winter, was up and running. There are a few issues with it, but we are planning to address those in the next few weeks while Richard Elliott (our travel mentor and VLOP Executive Director) and I are in the area. Overall, the system looked great and the community was interested in its expansion. The community was also happy to hear that there will be a survey of the area for possible borehole locations during my time here this summer. We were also able to make our first purchase of materials for construction today. While Dr. Lewis and I were meeting with the district leadership, Richard and the rest of the VLOP team were in Tarime. There they were able to buy all of our reinforcing bars and 75 bags of cement to be delivered to the Burere site early next week. It is so exciting to see the first purchase of materials occur. To finally be constructing the building we have been working on for several years is a great feeling; I am looking forward to our first meeting with Burere of this trip tomorrow. Stay posted for details!

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