The website LaRoccaAfrica.com was originally designed in Google Sites and it is not accessible for revision, so please excuse the mis-spacing of text. Eventually a cleaned up version will migrate to this site. The information is still correct.
Jambo Africa highlights cultural, wildlife and landscape similarities and differences. At the end of the slide/video segment students enthusiastically point out numerous examples that they saw or heard. This year one of our schools was not doing a unit on Africa but wanted me to return to focus on community. Examples of people working together on goat shed construction, food preparation and classroom activities is evident and readily identified by the students. Students were able to point out where there could have been better collaboration. A great component added to the program!
Mama Kuku reports that the original six have become ten! Godlisten has joined the Sunrise for Life adult team and will be starting a program in animal husbandry for the resident youngsters (the human ones).
Participants in Winchester Aerobics and Jenks Center classes donated money for the purchase of three goats for Sunrise for Life home for street children in Moshi, Tanzania. The donations were so generous and the need so great that we were able to pay for the construction of the goat condo and the selection of six goats, named: Winnie, Chesta, Thelma, Louise, Ed, Phil and now...newborn Phil, Jr. Here is a brief slideshow.
Mama Kuku, translated from Swahili, is Mother Chicken. Her given name is Faye Cran. She spent her early youth in England and traveled with her parents to Africa as a young girl. Her grown siblings did not follow on this lifelong adventure. The UK had taken away Faye's father's farm where he raised prized cows and when queried 'where should we go?' He said, "South China Sea Islands". So, they headed SOUTH and ended up in Kigali, Rwanda. After a night in an uncomfortable lodge, they moved to another hotel but her father retraced his steps to the original hotel with bar. When asked why he had left that hotel, he responded, that it was poorly kept and that he could run it better, so the hotelier sold it to him on the spot. Fortunately, someone else approached her dad and bought it from him the following week!
The family finally established a farm at the base of Kilimanjaro. Faye decided to raise chickens as a young teenager and started out with 20 chicks. She tried her hand successfully at raising broiler chickens and then white turkeys that were especially popular around the holidays. Today she raises only chicks...16,000 to be exact. They produce 120,000 chicks a week that she sells in boxes of 100. Kibo Poultry is a thriving business that sells day old chicks broilers, day old chicks layers, day old chicks vijogoo from Arusha to Dar Es Salaam.
Mama Kuku is a savvy, kind-hearted, energetic, generous woman who has hosted me (and Tom) at her home perched on the top of Lake Duluti near Mount Meru. The large masonry home with thick thatched roofing is decorated with photos, awards and family memorabilia. Remnants of the colonial period are displayed as elephant foot coffee tables and lion and zebra skin draped walls. An old small tv nested in among books projects evening soccer matches for her assistant Wilson. A laptop, calculator and piles of organized papers on a nearby table are a testament to her commitment to help people UP in need. As I updated my journal she was furiously compiling multiple project grants through Rotary International and conferring with upcoming humanitarian visitors. Luckily, she did take a break to go looking for goats for the shed at the orphans home....just the right goats with healthy udders and the promise of more offspring. More about the goat search later.
Home Day 4. Entry 6
If I don't start now I'll be distracted further by laundry, the painting jobs, what to make for dinner, where I can lecture to share all of this, and I will forget.
The details will not matter but rather the scent memories of air and people, the sunsets that surely are different from home, the comfort of having been there before. And yes, I will eventually romanticize the car bouncing on the jagged terrain, the itchy head from lack of washing, and the squat position and call it rugged living. We are back in the US now and I have returned home to a blow dryer, white and black people driving leased bmws, lines at Starbucks and children wearing heavy sweatshirts with their parents' alma maters lettered on the front. I cannot free guilty for having been born on this part of the planet but I sure as hell had better give you just an inkling of how most of the rest of the world lives, from my limited point of view. Arusha, Moshi, Olbalbal: it is not good; it is not bad but it is different there. It is not the world of Fox News or CNN.
Entry 5, Day 16
There is no doubt that I will sleep from Dar to Schiphol tonight. Mama Kuku took us to the bank to make sure my transfer from Winchester Coop reached her account for LifeWaterAfrica.com and the Goat Project. Yahoo, it’s finally here. Some last minute shopping for tinga tinga art for my lecture and a short wait while Mama Kuku took her outdoor water aerobics class. While walking around the area Happy (Mama Kuku’s daughter-in-law) and I discovered that there had been a wedding this weekend at this resort: there were HUGE urns filled with white flowers and placed on verandas, outdoor tables and the washrooms. We learned that there had been 2000 guests, 24 chefs plus fireworks. Hmmmm, could have purchased school fees for a lot of children.
Winchester Aerobics plus Jenks classmates, three of the goats are named: Winnie, Chesta and Phil. Three more names tbd. Thank you for the generosity.
Remember I have to blog backwards to fill in from Mama Kukus and the construction, Tarangire Park, Fr. Ned in the remote (I mean remote) Olbalbal. It will come once home.
The same feeling from my first trip to this my ninth: Less is More. Kwaheri Tanzania! Asante sana Tom for being such a great travel partner.
Gail LaRocca hails from Boston and has traveled to Tanzania more than 9 times to assist with safari and then initiate and continue humanitarian projects. Gail is the recipient of the 2010 Unsung Heroines Award of Massachusetts.