In the region of Moshi and Mount Kilimanjaro in Northern Tanzania, the government and local power company, Tanesco, has not built infrastructure to provide electricity to homes. Area villages such as Boma Ng’ombe (Swahili for “cow village”) are extremely poor, and electricity and services are unaffordable for most locals in this area.
Both poverty and geography impact villagers in ways that most people can’t imagine. Since it lies just south of the equator, Boma Ng’ombe has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night time year-round, which makes for long stretches of darkness at night without electricity. Candles and kerosene lanterns are commonly used for lighting homes at night, but in the extremely arid region that receives little annual rainfall, they put families at risk for fires. ...more
Build a House for a Maasai Widow
In the Maasai culture, men are polygamous and women are monogamous—Maasai culture allows women to marry only one husband in their lifetime. Maasai women are financially dependent on their husband, whose wealth must be distributed among all his wives. Financial resources, which are controlled by the man in the family, are invested in land, animals, and building houses. If a husband dies, male relatives of the husband typically reclaim his land, livestock and home, leaving the surviving widow(s) and children with little. Widows and children have a very difficult existence after the loss of a husband and father.
Homes in the East African village of Boma Ng’ombe are round huts with a thatched roof and dirt floor, built by hand using sticks, grass, and cow dung according to the traditional Maasai style. They have three areas—one for animals, a common area, and a sleeping area. These huts can last several years if built well, but need constant maintenance and repairs, and must be replaced periodically. Building the huts requires scavenging for the materials by hand, transporting them on foot, and lugging water several miles to the home’s site to mix the materials. This is very difficult labor for a single mother raising children. …more
Current Projects, Build a Kitchen for Sanya Station Public Primary School
West of Moshi and Mount Kilimanjaro in Northern Tanzania, the land is very arid and receives little annual rainfall. Because of the lack of available water, families are often unable to grow sufficient food to eat. In addition, public schools in Tanzania depend on “fees” to be paid by families directly to the school to cover the day-to-day running of the school. Basically the cost of maintaining a public school is the responsibility of the students’ families. When families are unable to grow enough food for themselves to eat, they do not have the money to pay the school fees. This makes it difficult for the school a basic education, much less pay for any additional needed building projects if they have an increase in students.Sanya Station School needs a kitchen in order to feed students lunch. Currently there is no budget in the government or fundraising that able to be performed by school families. The surrounding community of the school, or “Ward,” and Ward Elder may often support schools, but in the case of Sanya Station, this community is unable to afford the cost of building a new kitchen for the school.
Sanya Station public school has 455 students and 5 teachers and the campus consists of 3 buildings, all of which are classrooms. The buildings were built in the 1960s and are Tanzanian-style construction of brick and metal, with no windows or electricity. Each desk is shared by 3-4 students, and there are between 40-50 students per classroom.
There is a location in the back of the school which would accommodate a small separate building for a kitchen. Currently, lunch is being cooked in a shed over an open fire next to the “play yard” of the school…..more
Current Projects, The Cow Project
Kirian and Tristan Mischke-Reeds are raising funds for Mkombole School students in Tanzania, to establish a sustainable milk-selling business.The milk sale supports school fees. The cows need vaccinations, food, and a full-time keeper.
In July 2015, the Mischke-Reeds family visited Tanzania.
While the region’s beautiful landscape and wildlife amazed the family, the poverty and suffering was just as striking.
Brothers Kirian and Tristan were touched by the kindness and warmth of the local villagers. They were also moved by the villagers’ acceptance of their way of life, despite the crippling poverty.