Journal

Bringing a Baby into the World

Bringing a Baby into the World

It was my last visit to the village, my last night to sleep over at my friend Jane’s house, and our last chance to visit – Lucas, Maiko, Ashahadu, Jane and I. But, the universe had other plans. Mama Aziza was having her baby! Mama Aziza is Jane’s neighbor, her husband has contributed to our […]


Hitaji Gets a Set of Wheels

Hitaji Gets a Set of Wheels

Last summer, we visited the village of Kigalie to add two students to the Project Wezesha scholarship program. While we were there, the head teacher asked us to accompany him to meet a young man named Hitaji. Hitaji had an unfortunate story. (Ironically, hitaji means need in Swahili.) When he was 9 years old, he […]


Back in Kigoma – Summer 2013!

Back in Kigoma - Summer 2013!

Ah, back in Tanzania! This year, my planning for the safari back to Kigoma was overshadowed by my larger, slightly more permanent move to Armenia. I accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the American University of Armenia in the capital city of Yerevan. So, after 18 years in Salt Lake City, Utah – I’m […]


The Tremendous Value of an Intern

The Tremendous Value of an Intern

In the winter of 2012 Project Wezesha was contacted by an undergraduate student via email: My name is Katy Lindquist and I am an anthropology student at Colby College in Waterville, ME.  I am very interested in volunteering for your organization this summer.  As an anthropology student, I have become very interested in grassroots organizing […]


This is Their Story

This is Their Story

This is her story. The story of most girls in the village. This is his story. The story of most boys in the village. Are you ready? There is no response more difficult to deliver than a ‘no’ to the request of a student for school support.  Unfortunately, if I said ‘yes’ to every student […]


Anecdotes from the Field

Anecdotes from the Field

Dramatization: Two Americans plan to meet one morning at 9am to have a little meeting before a big meeting.  Here’s how it might unfold in the morning – in a potential scenario: 1 – Hey, sorry I’m late. I was rushing out the door when I realized I didn’t save that file to the flash […]


Back in the Kigoma Region!

Back in the Kigoma Region!

It was so great to arrive back in Kigoma!  Lucas met me at the airport and we were both glowing to see each other again.  He’s really become like a brother to me, and the fact that ‘Dada Rai’ is how he and most others refer to me (Sister Rai), well it just always feels […]


Giving Thanks-Asante-Urakoze!!

Giving Thanks-Asante-Urakoze!!

On this lovely Thanksgiving Day, I would like to give thanks to everyone who has made Project Wezesha a great success over the past year.  Lucas and I had a simple plan when we sat at the Sun City Cafe in Kigoma in July 2009.  We just wanted to give out scholarships to a handful […]


I Know This Much is True

These are my Summer 2010 final thoughts. I know this much is true – (dedicated to Sara Bridge) I’m writing on a netbook computer in Dar es Salaam and as I look around, I see only varying shades of brown skin and hear only the occasional word or phrase that I understand. I have a […]


When I Leave, I Will Miss …

When I Leave, I Will Miss ...

When I go, I will miss … I will miss the children – their smiles, their shy greetings, their big eyes and bare feet, their toys made of palm leaves, plastic bottles and spare tires, their school uniforms in varying degrees of deterioration, their unyielding desire to go to school. .. even their shouts of […]


Dusty Road to Kabanga

Dusty Road to Kabanga

When you’re doing anything in Tanzania as mzungu, you’re bound to get some attention – some wanted, some unwanted. Mostly – the attention I get is wanted, even (most of the time) when it comes to the repeated requests for saidiya (help) … most of the time, I must repeat. Sometimes, it’s annoying and exhausting […]


Finger Lickin’ Good

I love eating with my hands. I love sitting down to a meal of whole fish, beans, spinach and rice with freshly washed hands because I know what comes next. I get to squish some rice around in my palm, making a nice tight little ball that I use to collect spinach before stabbing some […]


Rafiki Zangu – My Friends

Rafiki Zangu - My Friends

Although my work now is primarily in the village of Mgaraganza, I still have some important lasting relationships with the first village I lived in during the summer of 2008 – Kiganza. It’s been wild to stay in touch with people from so far away – see their faces light up when I return year […]


Dokumenti – Some Humorous Finds

Dokumenti - Some Humorous Finds

There are lots of writings here – on t-shirts, dala dalas, walls, signs and in various other random spots – that just make you chuckle a bit. I saw a dala dala (minibus public transport) drive by with the following on the back window: Don’t tease me, if you can’t please me There was a […]


Musings on Friendships

I have time left on my internet session but no connector for my camera and the computer – so really no desire to tell any of my stories at present … but, I made one discovery today. One day last week, I started to feel exhausted and shaky. It hit me around midday and I […]


Nime Choka Sana! Lakini, sasa naweza kubeba mawe!

Nime Choka Sana! Lakini, sasa naweza kubeba mawe!

Which means: I’m so tired, but now I can carry stones (‘to the head’, as they say). If I had typed up this blog yesterday after working with the villagers in Mgaraganza at the school site, the title might have read ‘Eff That!’ And ‘That’ would have been a reference to the work that we […]


Tulienda Kiganza – Visiting the Children

Tulienda Kiganza - Visiting the Children

Today we made our way into Kiganza village to visit with my friends – young and old. It was an emotional day for several reasons. Lucas met us in town in the morning and after puttering around a little bit to get some money changed and buy some sunscreen, which we shockingly found in the […]


Interview with Hadley and Laura

Interview with Hadley and Laura

I asked Laura and Hadley some questions on the veranda of our hotel the night before they left. Emotions soared as they thought back on some of their experiences. You’ve been in the city, the beach, the small town and the village. Which do you prefer and why? L: I don’t like the big city […]


"Nitarudi" I said, and return I did!

"Nitarudi" I said, and return I did!

We arrived in Kigoma at long last! We experienced the bustle of the big city, the tourist trap of Zanzibar, Indian Ocean and a lot of surface interactions – but now we are here. We are here – where relationships with the people I know are real and deep. Lucas, my friend and partner in […]


Humanitarians Spring for a Kitten

Humanitarians Spring for a Kitten

Late one night on the island of Zanzibar, Laura, Hadley and I were returning from a triumphant match between Spain and Portugal, which we enjoyed from Mercury’s Bar – so named because Freddy Mercury was born here … or some history along those lines. Triumphant because Laura is from Spain – so of course, Villa […]


It’s the Age of Malaria

It's the Age of Malaria

It’s the age of Aquarius, age of Aquariuh-us … Aquarius! Get that song in your head and then substitute Malaria for Aquarius and you have the latest catchy tune that I’ve been singing lately (along with ‘Sweaty Crack’ sang to the famous Pheobe classic ‘Smelly Cat’ from the hit TV show Friends – TMI?) . […]


US-Ireland-Italy-Egypt-Tanzania

US-Ireland-Italy-Egypt-Tanzania

This summer I have the great fortune of traveling with friends. Coming to Tanzania alone last summer was an adventure and made for some entertaining blog entries (I’m told) but it also made for mental exhaustion and some loneliness. This year, at this point, I am in the great company of Laura Fombona from Spain […]


Safari Kubwa

Safari Kubwa means Long Trip in Kiswahili and this journey has been nothing less – and I don’t only mean the literal journey from Salt Lake City that began on June 19th, but the journey of Project Wezesha from inception to this point. After a long year of strategizing, spreading the word, fundraising, and digging […]


Saying "I Do" in Kiganza

Saying "I Do" in Kiganza

There is possibly nothing more alive than a village wedding! The colors, the food, the singing, the dancing, the laughing, the whooping… I had the fabulous last minute opportunity to go to the wedding of Hindu’s sister, Amina. On what I thought was my last trip to the village to see the kids, Hindu handed […]