In my last post, four days ago, I rightly emphasized Karimu’s deference to the Tanzanian villagers in determining how to allocate our limited funds. However, we also have an obligation to respect the wishes of our donors who dedicate money for specific purposes already approved by the villagers. Ahead of our trip to Tanzania with two dozen volunteers beginning on August 1, we continue to raise funds to bring clean water to Ufani Primary School and to kick off the educational outreach programs planned by a new association of nurses and traditional midwives, who intend radical upgrades of child and maternal healthcare.
But a flurry of dedicated and unexpectedly large donations which Karimu has just received will assure our ability to meet the third goal mentioned in my most recent post: delivering a clean-burning and fuel-efficient cooking stove to every family served by Ufani School. As noted in Ryan Lizza’s article, “The Consequentialist,” which appeared in the May 2 New Yorker, cooking over open fires results in two million deaths per year, “more than malaria and tuberculosis combined, and nearly as much as H.I.V.” Lizza’s article about the foreign-policy views of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton describes how Clinton’s devotion to creating a market for clean-burning, fuel-efficient stoves arose from a visit two years ago to the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo: the Secretary had met a woman who, venturing beyond the narrow margin of safety provided by her refugee camp so that she could gather firewood, was raped.
Though one should not confuse historically peaceful Tanzania with the DRC, Tanzanian women and girls charged with collecting firewood nevertheless take unnecessary risks and work unnecessarily hard before returning to their cooking fires and breathing the lethal smoke. Thanks to our dedicated donations, Karimu can now attack these problems in the village where we work.
Along with the benevolence of our donors, discovery of a Tanzanian dealer in Envirofit products will facilitate Karimu’s purchase of stoves. For the last year we had sought ways to reduce the prohibitive cost of shipping the StoveTec Rocket Stove, designed in Cottage Grove, Oregon, into the African bush. It turns out, though, that Envirofit, of Fort Collins, Colorado, distributes its own stove via a nonprofit based in Karatu, just a few hours by road from where Karimu works. The Envirofit stove, designed and tested in laboratories housed at Colorado State University, looks and performs very much like StoveTec’s. Because of Karimu’s nonprofit status, the Karatu dealer will sell to us at cost.
Our donors’ generosity gives us confidence that the village’s schoolchildren will drink clean water before long, and that its mothers and small children will soon receive better healthcare owing to the ambitions and solidarity of local nurses and midwives.—Don Stoll