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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Welcoming and success!

As expected our arrival was celebrated with children running to the car...waving and the sweet familiar voices of the children calling out 'Mzunguuuuuu!' (white person) one of the children ran to fetch Saidi to tell him of our arrival at his door step.. I was looking around for the new house they were supposed to build him but saw no sign of it and began to get slightly concerned.. Saidi arrived shortly after.. Appearing very happy to see us! We were welcomed into his home and I was directed to put my bags in his extra room .. More cause for concern.. Very frustrated with myself at this moment that I didn't know enough swahili to ask what's up with the house .. I had to prompt Salim to inquire.. Soon we were following Saidi to the new mud hut still needing cement floors... Apparently they were waiting for me to bring the 90,000 tsh( about $70) for the cement... This meant a few days of us sleeping in Saidi's home till the house was complete... Though I was slightly disappointed.. Hoping for some independence and privacy this time.. I quickly adjusted my attitude with the simple thought ... What difference will it really make in my life right now... Can I still accomplish my mission under these circumstances .. The answers were clearly none and YES... With that I settled into my room and Salim in his... Attitude in check! Everything looked the same ... So peaceful and comfortable .. This village.. Walking around we were greater by familiar faces and many many children.. Running to hold my hand.. My home here in Tanzania for the next few years.. It felt good! To my surprise ...at early evening, A 27 " colored tv emerged from my room covered with a conga.. And brought outside with speakers and a DVD player.. Into an enclosed area of grass walls.. 'the theater'. So strange and foreign to me... The village with no water or electricity or hospital.. Saidi purchased the equipment and generator in order to provide entertainment for his village.. After dinner, around 8 pm the people began arriving .. Some with a bucket in hand ...mnangole's version of byob.. Soon the sound of an indian movie... With the mouths speaking a form of language from India.. Yet swahili emerging from the speakers... Filled the village... The admission fee was 500 tsh for adults and 100 tsh for kids.. Respectively About 30 cents and 7 cents... And those who came were fixated on this low budget comedy.. Laughter filling the space... Echoing throughout the village! Something to lift their spirits ... Something to take their mind off the hard life they endure each day .. My mind however switched rapidly from this joyous reflection to.. Practicality.. How can something like this be used to raise money and sustain the well or fund another project in the future. I will talk to Saidi about this idea.. This was Thursday night. Friday brought another surprise...disco!!' someone had some CDs of traditional Tanzanian music, and Tanzanian hip hop, and bongo flava!!! The young people came in droves to dance and socialize.. Alcohol free as there is no alcohol in the village.. Good clean fun.. Teenagers are the same everywhere... They want to socialize and dance.. And find private little spots to hide and make out with that special one! This night the music didn't stop till 2 am... So strange... Is this a sign of how rapidly things can change in this rural village with no water, electricity, hospital, or adequate schools? The next day we would discuss furnishing my home with beds.. Chairs and tables. Saidi called a carpenter in the next village to place an order... And we also discussed the process for distributing lanterns, and running an educational session about the advantages of solar, how To charge the lantern...and about the importance of boiling water to remove bacteria from their water and in turn eliminate death and illness caused by waterborne bacteria. Saidi arranged for the villagers to come in small groups to the school late afternoon over the course is several days.. For important information.. The next day as we were taking a stroll through the village we heard someone yelling throughout the village... Turns out he was the town crier!!! Announcing to the people that they should attend this very important meeting... I had my doubts as to how affective this form of mass communication would be... The following day at 4 pm a school full of people arrived... And each day thereafter , the same... Apparently the town crier is more affective than email.. Telephone or radio announcements.. You could see in their eyes great anticipation of what we were about to share with them. First, with Salim translating from English to Swahili we introduced ourselves for those who had not met me last year. Then I shared information crutisl to their health ... Using the back board and rough diagrams about the bacteria in the water they use and the fact that it is the cause of cholera and diahrea. They listened intently... Hanging onto Salim's every word and looking very carefully at the handout I printed for each if them.. Depicting and dscrbing in swahili how to boil and store the boiled water and what the activities are that require boiling ... Then we shared info. About the detriments of costly kerosene and the advantages of solar power ... Then Salim explained in detail how to use and care for the lanterns. We explained to them that the money they would save from not having to use kerosene.. Will allow them to purchase another lantern in a little over a month. Then we distributed the lanterns. One by one as there names were called out by a community member... Each came to take their lantern and showed appreciation with a hand shake and a slight bow. I could not have been more humbled than to hand over one of these lanterns to an elder and have these beautiful, wise people look at me with gratefulness like I had just given them a car.. Possibly the best gift they had ever received! When the meeting was over they all went outdoors and took their lantern out of the box to try to see how They work. Each day around 4 pm we repeated this Training until all the lanterns had been distributed.. Only 8 out of 210 did not attend the meeting... So pleased with the turnout.. Can't wait to see then put to use!!!

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