Last August 21, a couple of days after Karimu’s annual three-week trip to Tanzania had ended, I posted the following:
“After the good news we received last week about Ufani School’s new clean-water system, today’s visit to Bacho Primary School was an eye-opener. Bacho School lies perhaps two miles from Ufani, and its water situation is grim. A muddy creek that flows past the school on its downhill side furnishes water for a dusty garden. The garden (if calling it that is not too grand) seems to be a source of pride: several dozen students had assembled during their vacation to carry buckets of water uphill to the garden from the creek.
“However, the closest source of more-or-less drinkable water is on the school’s uphill side, a steep mile and a half toward the plateau above. On a typical day, Head Teacher Stephen Nakei sends fifteen or twenty of the school’s two hundred and fifty students on a trek up to the water source, carrying buckets. Needless to say, the water is not disinfected.
“Karimu spent roughly $4,000 on Ufani School’s water system. A comparable system for Bacho School might cost several thousand more, since the water will need to be piped a much greater distance. But I don’t think Karimu can walk away from this need.”
Lori Ferro helps run Café Aroma, in Idyllwild, California, an hour’s drive and a mile in elevation above the austere beauty of the Palm Springs desert. Lori also refused to walk away from Bacho School. With no hesitation, she greeted the proposal for a Karimu fundraiser to bring water to Bacho School with an offer of twenty percent of all proceeds earlier this week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Lori promised that the owner, Hubert Halkin, and the operating manager, her husband, Frank Ferro, would go along. She was right.
Karimu had previously held a number of fundraisers in restaurants. In none of those cases did the owners even come close to the generosity shown at Café Aroma. It often filled up during the past three days, so twenty percent of the proceeds will be substantial.
Café Aroma’s outstanding food was complemented on the first night, May 7, by the explosive jazz fusion of Paul Carman’s saxophone, Marshall Hawkins’ upright bass, and Najite Agindotan’s Nigerian drums. Paul, Marshall, and Najite donated all of their tip money—amounting to several hundred dollars—to Karimu.
The villagers and the Karimu volunteers will have their hands full this June and July. They will build another teachers’ duplex for Ufani School, as well as a bridge across the river that floods dangerously every rainy season, several hundred yards below Ufani.
But we will certainly make enough time to hike up the Rift Valley escarpment that towers above Bacho School in order to work out, along with a Tanzanian hydraulic engineer, the best way to pipe water down to its students. Within several months after our trip, the school will get its water, thanks mainly to the big hearts that we found at Café Aroma.
So, in case you ever pass through Idyllwild, I have a restaurant recommendation for you.