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Jane’s Journal Part Three – a site visit to Tanzania for The Eliminate Project

Mar 05, 2017

From February 4 -10, Kiwanis International President Jane Erickson visited Tanzania to see first-hand the impact of Kiwanis’ partnership with UNICEF. She has shared some excerpts from her journal below.

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©UNICEF/2017/Beechey

Thursday, February 9, 2017

This is an early day. Left hotel at 7 am as we have to get moving in order to see the Ikuna primary school. The teachers and staff seem to be doing fairly well and moving things along even though their needs are significant.

Kids were singing and dancing as our welcome. Wonderful. They were led by a teacher who clearly had albinism. As it turned out he was protected as a child and is a strong advocate for protecting kids and providing education for kids like him and for the disabled. Strong teacher!!

We started with introductions, a school overview, signing the guest book, etc. My notes:

  • 1 teacher to 63 students
  • 80% attendance rate
  • Parents contribute rice, beans, money, uniform and education materials
  • They are donating for the dining hall and toilets
  • They have a low-pump well, but need another
  • Short 4 classrooms and toilets. Have one toilet for every 44 girls and no provisions for girls who are menstruating.

I got the kids’ attention and made a strong man pose. The boy and girl giggled and the school official asked me to pump the well. Oh no....at the insistence of the crowd I pumped that crazy thing. I was a bit surprised no water was coming out. I had to really pump that thing and FINALLY water came out into the bucket. The crowd cheered and I was seriously grateful for that moment. I was tired! :-) That's hard work. It's incredible to think the kids did that for 50 buckets per day. 

After all the presentations we went back and had a wonderful conversation with the teachers, city folks and parents group. I was impressed that they want a better life for their kids and are willing to work for it. There were men and women on the parents group. 

Friday, February 9, 2017 

To my traveling companions I gave a journal and called it the So What/Now What journal to record their calls to action, asking them to record how they are leaving their positive handprints as a result of this experience. I also gave each one a bannerette. The chief of health who was sitting by me reached over, put her hand on my arm and thanked me, saying my words were very inspirational for all of them. Ahhh---very nice.

Saturday, February 10, 2017 

I can’t wait to get home and remind people to fulfill their pledges to The Eliminate Project. I am totally blessed to be part of such an amazing organization as Kiwanis! YES! 

Read Jane's Journal Part One
Read Jane's Journal Part Two