•March 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Today, two of us visited Hedaru to talk about integrated farming project with the farming committee. A score of exuberant children waiving branches, a dozen laughing adults, and a brass band met us at the main road through town.

Hedaru Welcome 1

Hedaru Welcome 5


We jumped out of our van and danced our way up to the church with them. What a greeting! They welcomed us “home” to Hedaru, and sent their greetings to our families and to St. Andrew’s Church.

We had chai, which means tea, but really is a small meal of chicken, chapati (flat bread), fruits, and tea. Well, maybe not such a small meal. The tea was made from a local lemongrass and is truly delightful. Next we had a long meeting to talk about the direction the integrated farming project should go next. It takes a while because everything has to be said in two languages. Then we had lunch. Which is a big meal. I am coming home several pounds heavier…

Another fun part of the day (no the meeting was not fun) was the giving of the gifts.  St. Andrew’s and my family were very generous, so I delivered a package of school supplies to Grace the school teacher, a package of office supplies to the church secretary (another Grace), a stocking hat to the head of the farmers (yes, pun intended), a hat and reading glasses to our translator Mr. Mtaita, two solar lights to Pastor Zaburi, tea bags and pens to the farmer committee, and a pile of toiletries for Pastor to hand out to the needy.

Hedaru is full of familiar faces after 8 visits. The people are so warm and giving even though they have so many challenges. Relationships are always important to them, and they are never too busy to say hello and give you a hug.

Back to the hotel tonight, for a small dinner. I bought fruit in the market and ate that with a couple of samosas. I will be ready for a more active day tomorrow.


(received around 1pm Saturday, March 11, 2017)





•March 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am sitting outside the Nzoroko hotel, listening to the birds sing, enjoying the breeze now that the sun is low. It is hot and unusually humid; even the Tanzanians are sweating.

Today we visited Masandare, which is a small sprawling village. We have 10 goat farms in the area, and we visited most of them today. Most of the goats are healthy and the farms are growing. They have discovered that they cannot get goats that were raised in the Mountains or in Arusha because the goats do not adjust to the heat and so get sick. Kid goats seem to adjust better. This area is extremely dry and they have to walk 15 kilometers to the river’s edge find grasses to harvest for the goats. And of course after cutting grasses, they have to bring them back 15 km. Often they have a donkey to carry the load.

Our integrated farming project has provided these 10 farm families with education on how to raise these special milk goats, how to breed them, how to house them.  Once each farmer has completed the training and built their pen they are given 2 females. The 10 farmers are given 4 bucks to share.  They said that three of their native goats together produce about enough milk daily to make a cup of chai and their new goats each produce 2 liters a day if not pregnant or nursing. That’s quite an improvement! After their goats have babies, they give one weaned goat back to the program to support trainings, and one goat to a new farmer. The farmers say their children are healthier with milk to drink, the the extra they sell to neighbors. They use their money to buy school supplies or food.

We also visited the weather station office to request data on monthly rainfall amounts in our farming villages. Water is a huge issue here and we are discussing the feasibility of rainwater catchment systems. Knowledge is power.

Time for a bowl of soup and then off to bed. Thanks for following our progress!

(email received about 2pm – Friday, March 10, 2017)



Impact of Water on Roads

•March 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The message and photo are taken from one of Carol’s FB posts. What I’m not sure of is whether it is a shot of the trip she mentioned to the Massai village. Dave


This is what happens when the rains hit. The road washes out and you have to cross the gully on foot.

Washed Out Road


•March 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

We visited Pangaro today. Pangaro is a little Massai village. When leaving to go there this morning, we were assured it is “not far, not far.” Perhaps that is true as the crow flies, but in a SUV it took us about an hour.

The longest part of the trip was on and near a washed out red dirt road. There was much driving around bushes or around recently-formed gullies. One small concrete bridge ended in air, as the road on the other end was washed away. Our driver was very good, and though the trip was a slow version of riding a mechanical bull, he managed to keep us from getting stuck.

The gang went out to dinner at a restaurant in Same, but Sheri and I stayed at the hotel to plan meetings for the next several days. We will be meeting with the farmer committees to discuss next steps in their farms.

All is well. Internet is intermittent, but don’t worry if I don’t contact you for a few days.


(received a little after noon, Thursday, March 9th)

Tech in another Country

•March 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Carol emailed this around 1am CST Thursday.
I have trouble with Internet so not emailing much.
Today heading to Pangaro village. Will try to email this eve.
I will make a point to double check for the update.

Contrasts – Time & Weather

•March 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

While waiting to hear from Carol, I thought I’d share a couple of things.


Tanzania is 9 hours ahead of us. For example, as I write this as 10:20PM CST Tuesday night, it’s 7:20AM Wednesday morning their time. It often means a disconnect in getting emails posted timely. 🙂


I just happened to notice that as we here in Iowa are looking at a cool-down the next few days, the forecast for Hedaru says a high of 97 for Wednesday through Friday. Their “cool-down” consists of predicted highs of 94 (Saturday) and 91 (Sunday). Looks like the highs will stay at or above 90 for the entire trip.

Submitted by Dave (devoted support team member)

First Evening & Morning

•March 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

We arrived at our hotel around midnight and had a quick dinner. Night was short but I slept well. Awoke this morning to a great cacophony of nature’s music. Mostly birds I guess. Smells of wood smoke and jasmine in the air.

Fresh fruit, bread with jelly, hard boiled egg and hot tea. Off for some purchasing of art to sell at Easter.

(Received 3:44AM CST)