Wait... First go to your sink and pour a glass of fresh clean water to drink... then come back and watch this short video.
Wait... First go to your sink and pour a glass of fresh clean water to drink... then come back and watch this short video.

African Empowerment Project is committed to implementing and nurturing community run development projects focused on creating opportunities for income generation, achieving access to quality education, and improving health and wellbeing, in order to empower the people of Africa to build a sustainable life for themselves and future generations.

How YOU can help!

Please visit our website at www.africanempowermentproject.org to learn more about who we are and how we are empowering the people in the village of Mnang'ole, Tanzania to pull themselves out of poverty.

You can make clean, accessible water and safe, healthy lighting a reality for the people of Mnang'ole by clicking below:
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IRS EIN # 27-1519070

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some of my favorite moments..

* Playing and observing children's games in our front yard...
-A form of jump rope that brings me back to the 60's .. But some of these kids have SKILLS!
-A form of hop scotch...  
-Creations of art in the sand using small pieces of broken glasswear, rocks, and random materials are used to create temporary mosaics in a small section of sand
-Children mimicking a variety of adult chores such as mixing ugali(a staple food made of flour and water), or pounding skins off corn or millet with a long stick.

*Sitting on grass mats on the front of peoples yards enjoying their company, despite our inability to understand most of what each other says..

*Sharing a chair with the neighbor women... Holding their hands or leaning on each other ... A clear warm feeling of the understanding of each other and the friendship we share despite the language barrier...

*Many village friends stopping by to greet us.. Some with a 'hello how are you?' for those brave enough to practice the one English phrase they know...Others with a 'mambo' or a 'Habari za Leo' or a 'hujambo' or a salama, or all of the above!

*Learning and playing a new card game from our Tanzanian friends' last card'... A great card game!  This game is coming back to America with me!

* Bringing medicine to my dear old friend Rashidi, the blind elder and his wife ..

* Walking around the village with a trail of children holding my hand... holding my skirt ... Escorting me to each and every destination !

* I had never experienced drumming and dancing in my village of Mnang'ole until one of the last nights of our stay. Kapingo, our friend and water and firewood porter arranged for some drummers to come in late afternoon to play for us... As it is here in Africa, 4pm really means  6 pm so I was not able to get good video.. .Though it was enjoyable...This day it was so short as there was an important 'football' (soccer) game in the village.... so they promised to return the next night! So as promised a group of 6 or 7 men arrived and lit a small fire beside them.. I'm assuming for light though I neglected to ask if the fire held any other significance, and then they began playing drums as well as pieces of metal. As soon as the sound reached the villagers ears... men, women, and children arrived at our front yard by the dozens! Soon there was singing and women and children circling the drummers dancing in a unison dance style while singing to the beat of the drums. Then an elderly woman began chanting something and the rest of the women would repeat her words... Though I recognized some of the words I was not sure what they were singing but assumed it was some traditional song they all knew... Gratefully, Mac came to me and informed me of what they were singing...The words went something like this... "Thank God for sending Beth as a blessing to our village.. You are welcome and thank you Beth"... I wished at that moment that I had my own song to sing back to them thanking them for their hospitality and for accepting us as their friends!  Of course tears began to stream from my eyes as I was dancing outside the circle... Holding sleeping Zakia in my arms.... A moment of a lifetime...

* Watching the big football match between the married men in the village and the unmarried men, (both teams made a visit to the witch doctor in the village with the intention of obtaining some sort of power to win the game...) so if married men won... did it work???? or if the unmarried men won did it work??? Anyway...My favorite part of this football game was the celebration after a goal was scored... All of  the women and children who were rooting for the scoring team would run into the middle of the playing field... Screaming and laughing and throwing grass in the air!!! The amount of energy and enthusiasm coming from these women and children could have lit up the whole village. Honestly I don't remember who won.. You can see that the game itself was the least of my concerns... The extraordinary moments of cultural exchange are always what captures my interest... But I think it was the married men who won...

So many more moments that come to mind... but I'll spare you today!

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