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

Feb 28, 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.

Jane Erickson at clinic
photo: ©UNICEF/2017/Beechey 

Monday, February 6, 2017
On the other side of the small village area we started driving into some beautiful, rich, lush greens hills. We climbed a little higher and arrived at an absolutely magical place called the Utengule Coffee Lodge. The grounds were lush and green with blooming orange and bright pink and purple bougainvillea. It was gorgeous! The pool looked inviting in the heat. 

Then I remembered our UNICEF staffer reminding us to look beyond the lush and green and remember that half the kiddos here are stunted and malnourished—not starved, just malnourished from eating the wrong foods which are mostly corn porridge with very little protein and vitamins in their diet. Women spend time on the farms for cash crops; there is no time for taking care of children. Crops are sold and kids eat less nourishing foods than what they are growing. Sad…

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
We're to meet at 7 am for breakfast and then head out on a 4 hour road trip (said to have roads in much poorer shape than the ones from the airport---oh my) to rural Njombe where we will witness some of UNICEF's programs in action.

We pile in the land cruisers and off we go. Roads are almost unpassable. Two hour trip took over four hours and we’re all stiff. We’ve split granola bars and candy in the cruisers so we are good to go.

At the clinic, we see the process they use for registering new babies and how they use mobile technology to enhance data collection systems by filling out paper registrations and then typing data into phone for electronic collection. 

As we were walking to the car a nurse ran after me, put her hand in mine, and said thank you. Very nice.
It made it very clear to me that fulfilling our pledges affects real, live people who really appreciate our help.