For the mind – We wish everyone could spend just one day at the Kilimahewa “informal” school. Roughly 30 Tanzanian teenagers sit shoulder to shoulder on wooden benches under one light bulb meticulously copying biology and geography facts – just pencils, paper and a worn blackboard. Teachers, even volunteer ones, command the highest respect and the attention of students for hours. While these teens literally own nothing, this two room, turquoise schoolhouse gives them the one possession that can lift their lives – knowledge.
For the body – Concentrating on an empty stomach can be difficult. So a cup of hot tea and a bun at 10:40 make a long morning bearable. Accepted with such gratitude, this simple snack is the only energy booster these young people know.
For humanity: The most essential nourishment of all is water. Call it serendipity, good fortune or divine providence, this was a big day for Kilimahewa. We recently began what can be a torturous path to constructing a water well, vital to the school’s growth and community’s advancement. On the plane from Amsterdam to Kili, I sat next to a man from Iowa who wore a blue rubber bracelet that read, “Water is Life – Break the Cycle of Hunger. His non-profit evaluates and funds water projects in this area, and he quickly referred me to Maji Tech, a “mzunga” or white man’s company that drills wells intended to support non-profit work and poor communities here. A few phone calls later and the team from Maji met us at Kilimahewa today – a major step forward to completing this project with confidence in terms of cost and quality.