A New House for Andrew Magwanile

 The house building in progress. The house is a stick frame with mud walls

The house building in progress. The house is a stick frame with mud walls

Andrew Magwanile is one of the elders in our program. He needed a new house, but due to the combination of his age and hernia surgery, Andrew needed help building the house. We were also able to help him pay for his surgery by filling in the gap between the funds he could provide and the total cost, allowing him to receive the surgery before the hernia caused more serious issues. Andrew is very happy with his new house and greatly appreciates our assistance.

 The young men in the foreground are mixing mud for the house. It is simply the existing soil mixed with water that was hauled in for the building project

The young men in the foreground are mixing mud for the house. It is simply the existing soil mixed with water that was hauled in for the building project

 Some of the young women and men, along with Sr. Dativa, are applying mud to the frame.

Some of the young women and men, along with Sr. Dativa, are applying mud to the frame.

Amazon Smile: this can help us BIG!

Once a quarter The Village Angels of Tanzania receive a nice check from Amazon Smile. This represents a 0.5% commission from all purchases that our donors make through Amazon Smile.

FROM OCT. 29 TO NOV. 2, AMAZON SMILE IS INCREASING THEIR COMMISSION TENFOLD, TO 5%. THIS HIGH COMMISSION WOULD TOTALLY BENEFIT THE VILLAGE ANGELS OF TANZANIA, AT NO EXPENSE TO YOU.

Perhaps this is the time to make that special purchase through Amazon, for an item that you need or want, but have long procrastinated. If you are already signed up for Amazon Smile, just go to your shopping account. If you are new to Amazon Smile, just CLICK HERE.

Eye Surgery

 Some of the elderly with bandages after eye surgery, while others are still awaiting their turn.

Some of the elderly with bandages after eye surgery, while others are still awaiting their turn.

It was the three days of excitement for seven of our elderly who traveled to Rulenga for eye surgery at the hospital there. Accompanying them were two of our youth, Kisuka and Editha, who not only assisted with the logistics of getting the elderly to the hospital, but also provided much needed encouragement and companionship.

The day before the surgery, the elderly were talking about how they could no longer see much (or not at all). After the surgery, they were excited to see clearly for the first time in many years.

Nicodem, who was completely blind, was excited to be able to see his house, clothing, and everything. Aurelia, also completely blind, exclaimed on arriving home that she could now see the glass, the pig, and her grandson!

The elderly all very much appreciate the generous support that made this day possible.
Asante sana! (Thank You very much)

 Mother General of the FSSB visited the elderly in the hospital following their eye surgeries. The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Bernadette is Sr. Dativa’s religious order. It meant a lot to the elderly to have the Mother General visit them.

Mother General of the FSSB visited the elderly in the hospital following their eye surgeries. The Franciscan Sisters of Saint Bernadette is Sr. Dativa’s religious order. It meant a lot to the elderly to have the Mother General visit them.

 One of our youth, Kisuka, provides encouragement to the elderly as they await their turn for bandage removal.

One of our youth, Kisuka, provides encouragement to the elderly as they await their turn for bandage removal.

 The doctors are removing the bandages. The woman on the end is excited to find her eyesight restored when the bandage was removed.

The doctors are removing the bandages. The woman on the end is excited to find her eyesight restored when the bandage was removed.

Water Project Update - We Have Water!

Good News! The well was dug in August and struck water on the 26th!

 The equipment to drill the well was brought in from Dar es Salaam (over 1000 kilometers from our site).

The equipment to drill the well was brought in from Dar es Salaam (over 1000 kilometers from our site).

 Sr. Dativa and others help send the pump down to the well.

Sr. Dativa and others help send the pump down to the well.

 Solar panel installation on the roof of the main building on the site (Rauscher Hall) will provide the energy to run the well pump as well as electricity for the building.

Solar panel installation on the roof of the main building on the site (Rauscher Hall) will provide the energy to run the well pump as well as electricity for the building.

 One of the youths waters the crops with a hose. Pipes are being laid to provide irrigation to the fields. Water for irrigation will be stored in a large tank that is under construction.

One of the youths waters the crops with a hose. Pipes are being laid to provide irrigation to the fields. Water for irrigation will be stored in a large tank that is under construction.

 A glass of water from the well. A secondary storage tank will hold water for drinking, cooking, etc.

A glass of water from the well. A secondary storage tank will hold water for drinking, cooking, etc.

Donations to our water project are welcome and much appreciated. You can use the “donate” button at the top of the page to donate online (please specify water project when asked).

Water Project: Bringing water to our site

 Water is currently fetched from a distant site and stored in a basin

Water is currently fetched from a distant site and stored in a basin

The water supply situtation at the TVAT site in Tanzania is tragic. Water is currently hauled in barrels from a public source 10 kilometers away from their center. Two to five trips are made every week. Now that they have 40 chickens (and want to bring in more), and now that the youths have prepared the ground for cultivating crops for the elders, the lack of a water source on the premises is holding them back.

 Mr. Ramadan Mugenyi (center) drills wells and is highly recommended by his customers. He has recently supplied two schools and the Bishop's house in areas surrounding Benaco.

Mr. Ramadan Mugenyi (center) drills wells and is highly recommended by his customers. He has recently supplied two schools and the Bishop's house in areas surrounding Benaco.

 The chicken coop funded by the Mendham (NJ) Rotary Club has a capacity of 100 hens and several roosters. Until there is water on the site, the number of chickens that can be properly supported is severely restricted. Eggs from the chickens will supply the elderly with a much needed source of protein in their diet.

The chicken coop funded by the Mendham (NJ) Rotary Club has a capacity of 100 hens and several roosters. Until there is water on the site, the number of chickens that can be properly supported is severely restricted. Eggs from the chickens will supply the elderly with a much needed source of protein in their diet.

 Without water, these plants will wither and die. The past two years, the monsoon rains were late and the crops were lost. On site water will allow for sufficient irrigation.

Without water, these plants will wither and die. The past two years, the monsoon rains were late and the crops were lost. On site water will allow for sufficient irrigation.

Well drilling is set to begin this month (August 2018).There will be a solar panel operated pump, two storage tanks, and piping for both irrigation and running water to the main building on the site.

The Village Angels of Tanzania are currently fundraising to cover the costs. Please consider donating to our water project. Any size donation is greatly appreciated. Please specify that your donation is for our water project.

Sr. Dativa Visits Our Oldest Donor

 Sr. Dativa and Lucy, our oldest donor

Sr. Dativa and Lucy, our oldest donor

During her month-long visit to the States this Summer, Sr. Dativa had the opportunity to visit Lucy Palladino at the Waterview Hills Rehabilitation Center in Purdy, NY. At 100, Lucy is the oldest donor on our books! Like all who know Lucy, Sr. Dativa was impressed with her upbeat personality: “Despite her age, Lucy is in high spirits and has a positive outlook. She also has a strong faith.” She thanked Sr. Dativa for her work with the elderly poor and Sr. Dativa thanked Lucy for her support. There are angels in and outside of Tanzania. This picture portrays two of them. And so that everyone reading this knows, in just a few weeks Lucy will be 101 years young.

Container Ecology

 The "old" way of using plastic bags for food delivery.

The "old" way of using plastic bags for food delivery.

Every week our youths deliver rice, corn, potatoes, beans, fish or beef, nutritional flour and avocadoes to the elders.  They also provide some sugar, salt and cooking oil, but not every week.  When we did some calculations, we were horrified to learn we were consuming 25,000 plastic bags a year for our food delivery program.  How to fix this problem?  Working with a local merchant, we found canisters in the exact sizes we needed.  The youths have now delivered a set of five canisters to every elder in our program.  They will measure each elder’s food portions from a large sack directly into one of the canisters, resulting in a streamlined work flow and reusable plastic.  The Village Angels are taking care of our elders and the environment too!

You are invited: Meet and Greet Sr. Dativa

Dativa Portrait.jpg

Sr. Dativa Mukebita, FSSB, Executive Director and co-founder of The Village Angels of Tanzania, will be visiting the United States in June. While in Morristown, on June 25 - 7:30 to 9:00 PM, Sr. Dativa will speak briefly about The Village Angels of Tanzania program. Sergio and Johanna Burani, who have just returned from Tanzania, will present the latest photos from their trip. There will be ample time to mingle with Sr. Dativa, Johanna and Sergio. Coffee/Tea and baked goods will be served. Whether you are a long time supporter, or just want to know more about the program, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet the people involved and learn about what we do. All New Jersey residents are invited to attend. The event will take place in Rauscher Hall of Assumption Church, 91 Maple Avenue, Morristown, NJ.

Live From Tanzania: Angel-On-Loan

Note from Johanna and Sergio: when this blog post is published, we will be in the middle of our 36-hour door-to-door trip home. Our stay in Tanzania is over, but our stories are not. Please, come back to our blog for more of them. They won’t be “live,” but they will continue to be great!

 Mr. Ramadan Mugenyi (center) with Johanna Burani (left) and Sr. Dativa (right)

Mr. Ramadan Mugenyi (center) with Johanna Burani (left) and Sr. Dativa (right)

Mr. Ramadan Mugenyi drills wells and receives high professional marks from those who use them. He has recently supplied two schools and the Bishop’s house in areas surrounding Benaco. Our water supply situation is tragic. Water is currently hauled in barrels from a public source 10 kilometers away from our Center. Depending on our activity, two to five trips are made every week. Now that we have 40 chickens (and we want to bring in more) and now that the youths have prepared the ground for cultivating crops for the elders, the lack of our own water source on the premises is holding us back. 

After much discussion within the Board and extensive consultation with “Mr. Rama,” we have given him the green light to start drilling in August. We are confident he will do a top-quality job and will address any unforeseen problem. As he says, “No problem. 100%!”.

After three hours of measuring and evaluating best practices and costs, Mr. Rama’s parting words were “Tupo pamoja,” which means “We are together” in Swahili. We really believe he is our angel-on-loan.

 Currently water is fetched from a distant site and stored in a basin.

Currently water is fetched from a distant site and stored in a basin.

Live From Tanzania: Our First Donor Visit

DonorVisit.jpg

On Friday we have had the pleasure of welcoming Ms. Jean Falvey to our farm. Jean is the first of our donors to visit us in person. She comes from Walpole, MA and was accompanied by her niece Lynne Wilson and by Fr. Leopold Mushabozi, former pastor in Benaco. 

With great pride, we showed Jean and her friends around: the farm, Rauscher Hall, our sewing machines, the chicken coop, the beehive house, the new fence and, last but not least, the area where very soon we will drill water to irrigate our farm. 

What a treat! Our first donor visit! We are confident that it will not be the last.