My first two weeks in the office at Africare in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have been surprisingly busy. In fact, on my first day I was asked to accompany two co-workers on a five-day trip west to Dodoma. In Dodoma we met with representatives from the other partner organizations involved in the COPE project. We also had the opportunity to visit a household and evaluate the impact of the aspect of the COPE project designed to assist orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) households in generating income.

From Dodoma we drove three hours north to a small, rural town called Kondoa. It was pretty slow going since the roads were rough and rocky but when we got there we were escorted through the village to a specific household. Behind the house there was a small chicken coup with about six chickens and a pile of eggs. A community member explained that they would raise the chicks that would hatch from the eggs and sell them at the local market as a means of generating income.

The trip opened my eyes in more ways than one. Most of my time in Tanzania has been spent in major cities, so it was my first time visiting a village and seeing how people live in such a rural setting. Also, it was great to witness the direct impact of the program and to get an understanding for what kind of people the COPE project is serving.

Although I'm back in the office now, I enjoyed my time in the field and I'm looking forward to my next trip to Dodoma. I should be headed out there around August to administer a series of surveys designed to assess the impact COPE has had on the community it serves.

See where Krista is traveling -- Map of Tanzania: CLICK HERE

 

We have made significant progress on the Munsieville Needs Assessment. After several drafts and two field tests, a final version of the survey was created. Our survey covers 11 topics that include health indicators such as housing, income, health behavior, and reproductive health. Our specific questions aim at health attitudes, general health knowledge and accessibility to health care and government services.

As we continue with the Munsieville Model, we must evaluate other settlements in the area for additional or alternative sites for Project Hope to establish programs. With the help of a local minister and director of a substance abuse center, Dave Gardner, another American, we have established contacts in Randfontein, a nearby city. We were introduced to Lucky, an eccentric Obama fanatic that is also the political representative of all of the informal settlements in one of the wards of the West Rand district.
July 10, 2009
Op-Ed Guest Columnist

Rebranding Africa

 

 

DATELINE: Imminent. About now, actually.

Soon, Air Force One will touch down in Accra, Ghana; Africans will be welcoming the first African-American president. Press coverage on the continent is placing equal weight on both sides of the hyphen.

And we thought it was big when President Kennedy visited Ireland in 1963. (It was big, though I was small. Where I come from, J.F.K. is remembered as a local boy made very, very good.)

But President Obama’s African-ness is only part (a thrilling part) of the story today. Cable news may think it’s all about him — but my guess is that he doesn’t. If he was in it for a sentimental journey he’d have gone to Kenya, chased down some of those dreams from his father.

He’s made a different choice, and he’s been quite straight about the reason. Despite Kenya’s unspeakable beauty and its recent victories against the anopheles mosquito, the country’s still-stinging corruption and political unrest confirms too many of the headlines we in the West read about Africa. Ghana confounds them.

Not defiantly or angrily, but in that cool, offhand Ghanaian way. This is a country whose music of choice is jazz; a country that long ago invented a genre called highlife that spread across Africa — and, more recently, hiplife, which is what happens when hip-hop meets reggaetón meets rhythm and blues meets Ghanaian melody, if you’re keeping track (and you really should be). On a visit there, I met the minister for tourism and pitched the idea of marketing the country as the “birthplace of cool.” (Just think, the music of Miles, the conversation of Kofi.) He demurred ... too cool, I guess.

Quietly, modestly — but also heroically — Ghana’s going about the business of rebranding a continent. New face of America, meet the new face of Africa.

For the remainder of the article: CLICK HERE.

Take a moment today to read Nicholas Kristof’s thoughtful op-ed “Would You Let This Girl Drown?” Kristof zeroes in on several very important facts. He asks a poignant, hypothetical question: “If G-8 leaders would be willing to save one drowning child, why are they collectively so far behind in meeting humanitarian aid pledges to save other children?”
The weather has turned here in the Johannesburg suburbs. For this reason, we work from day to day not knowing exactly what kind of participation we will have from the Munsieville residents. Mondays are spent with Engelinah, Eva, and Betty meeting with their women's groups for most of the day, and Glenn and I focusing on the specifics for our needs assessment survey. Health screening is usually every Tuesday but due to the cold weather last Tuesday (June 23) only 4 mothers attended. The weekly baby bathing held on Wednesdays have had a similar fate. The temperature was much too cold for the mothers to bath their babies even in the fellowship hall of the Catholic church for the past 3 weeks. The women did attend but we did not set up the baby tubs. They received food and clothes from other organizations as usual.

Senator Frist was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo on the Wall Street Journal Report.  The discussion centered on health care reform.

Munsieville Update

Jun 22 2009

We have completed our first working draft of the Munsieville Survey, and plan to field test it this week after Stefan (our boss) goes through it to work out some kinks. In addition to things that have been going on in previous e-mails, we've also ventured out into Randfontein (about a 50 minute drive from where we're staying) twice in the past week. We've met several times now with the local government officials there (both with Stefan and Loni and myself independently). I assure you that we have been good ambassadors for the USA, ETSU, and Project HOPE! A former mayor of Randfontein gave us a formal tour of his town on Thursday and described to us it's rich history (very fascinating!). We conducted some surveys and did some home counting in the informal settlements within Randfontein as well. Once we've collected enough surveys, we plan on analyzing the data within the next couple weeks to determine what the needs are and how we might be able to use the Munsieville Model.

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