Mixed news

This month, some of the news concerning Dareda Kati Village has been a little discouraging, so the recent promises of a total of $26,000 in matching donations have given all of us at Karimu a big lift.

For the fourth year in a row, the Santa Cruz, California, company called Quantaphy will match every dollar given to Karimu up to $20,000. Owners Debbie Burns-Walton and Ken Terry trust us to do good things with their money because Debbie experienced our work firsthand when she volunteered with Karimu three years ago.

Now, two of our volunteers from this past June and July have had the same kind of experience. John Kuo, who volunteered along with his son, Brennan, promises an additional $3,000 matching gift. So does another donor, who has asked to stay anonymous.

At Karimu we have all kinds of ideas about how to improve education, healthcare, agriculture, and the water supply in Dareda Kati next year. We’ll be able to turn most of our ideas into reality by matching this $26,000; our homepage has a Donate button in case you want to help us get to the match.

As for the discouraging news, there was the killing of more than seventy people at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The massacre spared our friend Harmon Parker, of Bridging the Gap Africa. He and his wife, Teri, shop there at least twice a week, but they happened not to be present when the terrorists struck. However, one of their good friends, a hardware supplier, lost his wife in the attack. Luckily, their three children escaped.

Terrorism is not something that the people of Dareda Kati worry about, across the border from Kenya, in their village in a remote part of Tanzania. Nevertheless, the attack has affected them. Nate Bloss, also of Bridging the Gap Africa, worked with Harmon, volunteers from Karimu, and the villagers themselves to start building the new bridge for Dareda Kati back in July. Nate is a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. He had planned to return this month to complete the bridge, but, for now, the Peace Corps has limited the travel of its volunteers.

If Nate still cannot cross into Tanzania next month, Harmon plans to go there to finish the bridge. At Karimu we’re unconcerned about the bridge—since the rainy season is still at least four months away—and more focused on the hope that there will be no more horrors in Kenya to endanger our friends there.

We must also be patient with the new kitchen whose construction Karimu funded at Ayalagaya Secondary School. We built the new kitchen, with its smokeless, fuel-efficient stoves, because we wanted the cooks, Peter and Faustino, to be able to do their work safely. An Ayalagaya teacher named Constancia, using the school’s Internet service, which Karimu volunteers worked hard to arrange in July, has assured us by e-mail that the kitchen’s enormous stoves are adequate to feed all six hundred students. But she also reports a problem that we had never even considered before:

“Peter and Faustino still need to use the old kitchen because they are cooking the teachers’ food, for which it is not possible to use the big stoves.”

Although the situation of the cooks is far better than it was, it’s still not good enough. I have told Constancia that when Karimu visits the village next June and July, we will talk about adding a smaller smokeless stove to the new kitchen, which Peter and Faustino can use to cook for the teachers. I have no doubt that Karimu can buy that smaller stove next year, since its cost will represent only a tiny fraction of the $52,000 that achieving our match will bring in.

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About Don Stoll

Don and his wife, Marianne Kent-Stoll, are co-founders of the Karimu International Help Foundation. They established Karimu in 2008 at the request of the people of Dareda Kati Village, in the Manyara Region of northeastern Tanzania. Karimu is devoted to working with the residents of Dareda Kati in order to satisfy their development needs, as defined by the villagers themselves.
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