The Group

Aaron Franczek, Collin Hartman,Monica Kling, Sarah Meleski, Claire Pattison, Amanda Schmidt, Becca Scholz, Alyssa Stuiber, Becky Thorn, Ryan Treviranus, Gracie Ventura Haas, Marcie Weiss, Jenny White, Robert Bhatia, Jill Braasch, Jenni Herrick and Laine Philippa

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What we want people to know about Tanzania

Hello Friends,

The students are packing their bags as they will be on a plane back home tonight.  They have some final thoughts to share with you.  Here is what they want you to know about Tanzania...

"This hasn't only been life changing, but soul changing.  I have learned so much about family, life, water and what I take for granted.  Thank you Tanzania!" - Alyssa Stuiber

"This trip has taught me many lessons about appreciation.  It has been life-changing and I'll never forget the people I met or the things that I learned."  - Jenny White

"Water is life, and not everyone in the world has the privilege to have it.  As an educated person, I feel I have more to give to the world and I hope others feel the same way." - Claire Pattison

"People are people.  Regardless of where you are in the world a smile is universal and the gift of life is precious.  Tanzanians, although they have less money than us, have far richer spirits." - Monica Kling

"Every time I visit a third world country it amazes me how easy life is back home.  It puts life in perspective and makes me appreciate my own life.  I hope to bring this simplicity home to help me stay grounded."  - Amanda Schmidt

"What Tanzanians may lack in material wealth, they make up for in the important things in life - family, relationships, and love.  I hope to remember the importance of these aspects of life when I get home." - Collin Hartman

"Poverty does not equate unhappiness.  The Tanzanians I met were all friendly, welcoming and joyful." Marcie Weiss

"The thing that touched me most was seeing the difference in poverty here compared to the US.  In the US, we have more options." -  Ryan Treviranus

"The people of Tanzania are the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever encountered.  We are clearly foreigners and the people we passed on the road constantly waved at us.  Shopkeepers also were eager to ask us questions about ourselves and our home towns." -Aaron Francek

"The best part about this trip is that we were able to learn the culture of the people. Getting to know the people first helped us to understand and appreciate.  I hope to teach people more about culture." - Becca Scholz

"This trip is a great experience for people in all walks of life; students, teachers, professionals should all find time in their lives to come and experience the great adventures of Africa." -Gracie Haas

"My appreciation for things we take for granted (food, water, shelter and health care) has been increased and I would love to serve all people for the rest of my life.  So, Africa..."Kwaheri Tuta Onana - I will be back!"  -Robert Bhatia

"The relationships that were created and the interactions that I had with the Tanzanians was my favorite part of the trip.  My heart lies here with the people of Tanzania." Sarah Meleski

"This experience has taught me that as people, we all need to take care of eachother.  We may be different on the outside, but inside we are all the same. Here in Tanzania love and compassion reign. " Becky Thorn

"Tanzania is rich with human resources. It abounds with a strong sense of community which can be witnessed within a family, at a church service or on the side of a highway as they prepare food for themselves or for sale."  -Jill Braasch

We are all thankful that we had a wonderful, safe enriching experience.  We thank you for your prayers and support.  We want to especially thank Father Timothy Coday for not only being such a great host and teacher but for his great contribution to the people of Tanzania!

See you all soon! 

Monday, June 4, 2012


Elephant Crossing!
Aaron watches a giraffe

Safari by Becca Scholz

Everyone is having a lot of fun but it is getting to the point that we are missing our loved ones. Before we leave this beautiful country we visited Mikumi National Park. The best part about this national park is that you don't even need to really go in the park to see the animals. The main road goes right straight through the national park. Right away we saw baboons followed by elephants. Jenny White thought they were fake because they were standing so still and that they were an advertisement for the park. She realized that they were real once they started to move! All along the road we saw giraffes, gazelles, and zebras!!!!!!

Before we went into the actual park we stopped at our hotel to drop off our things. We got to the park at around 4:30 p.m. and had a couple of hours so we thought to look around. Turns out when we got there that we needed to be back by the gate by 6. The sign however said we needed to be out by 7? Well either way we had a guide with us in Bumble Bee our truck. Right away when we got in through the gate we saw a giraffe which was really close to the truck. Then we saw gazelles, water buffalo, warthogs, and zebras. We travelled around on the dirt road until we saw some more zebras and a few more elephants. OH BUT JUST  YOU WAIT!!!!! WE SAW A LION!!!!! OMG!!!!! We only got to see the ears, tail, and paw. We all tried to climb up the truck so we could see more but we couldn't because they were so far away. After awhile we headed towards the water hole. There we were able to see hippos and one opened its mouth. Since it was later at night the hippos were starting to come out of the water. Hippos hide in the water during the day because they get sunburned. Our guide was extremely nice we were in the park until 6:30. Some reason I feel like the rule about being out at 6 wasn't true.

The next morning we woke up every early and was got to the park around 8 A.M. Again we were able to see gazelle, water buffalo, zebras. While on the road we stopped for a family of elephants. Peter turned off the truck and we were able to hear them stomp through the grass. My favorite part about turning off the truck is that you are able to hear the animals around you and hear nothing but nature. During the times that we saw nothing it was nice to experience the quietness that nature had to offer.We travelled through the park and saw a lot of the same animals we saw the night before. We stopped at a camping site where we took a break at a 300 year old Baobab tree.  Heading towards the other side of the park we encountered the same lions we saw the night before. Another truck passed us and gave us news of another lion that was closer to the road. We headed towards the other lion on the road and the lion was less than 100 feet away from us. Almost everyone freaked out!  The lion roared a few times and had its ears back. We were in her territory and she was not too happy. Since everyone was freaking out I feel that we were probably making her feel more uncomfortable. After seeing the lion we made our way back to Dar.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Message from Laine

After coming back from the town of Manyoni, students found themselves too busy to get their thoughts together for the blog.  Father Tim hosted a wood-oven pizza party in his home and good times were had by all. 

It is now 5:30 am and we are packing the truck to leave Dodoma and head for the Mikumi Wildlife Preserve.  Although it is a long drive, students know that by nightfall we will see elephants, giraffes and zebra.

We are most likely out of touch until we reach Dar-es-Salaam tomorrow night.  Everyone is happy and healthy and beginning to look forward to seeing their families and sharing their wonderful experiences.


Mama Moki teaches Monica, Gracie and Becky to grind garlic

Mama Moki's parents with group

Mama Moki's daughter, Mary (with Jenny)

Group on hill above town of Manyoni

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Message from Laine

Hello Everyone,

Just want to share that our group is off to the village of Manyoni for the night - out of email contact for the next 36 hours.  All the students are in fine shape - despite a couple blisters and sore shoulders from the physical work of erecting the windmill.   In just a few minutes we will be going to the vegetable market and purchasing foods for a meal we will cook over a fire - in the African way.  We will be directed by Mama Moki, an old friend of our Stritch groups.   We will let you know how it turns out! 

A Job WELL Done by Marcie

Yesterday we completed the windmill at the Rhema school, which was built to pump water out of a well and into a holding tank.  We witnessed the first drops of water flowing forth from the previously empty water tank together with the school's community.  We were relieved to have completed our labor, but even more than that we were overjoyed to see the school community's response to this victory.

When we began our workday, we knew that by the end of the day the project would be complete.  That morning we also found out that during the afternoon the school would present a program to us.  After lunch, our group from Stritch sat through the program while the Water Project's professional staff put the final touches on the windmill.  The first portion of the program consisted of professional Tanzanian musicians performing for us.  These musicians were of the Sukuma tribe of northern Tanzania.  They performed the traditional music of their tribe with remarkable enthusiasm- all members of the group played instruments, danced, and sang.  After a few songs from this group, student groups sang, danced, and put on a fashion show for us.  Then, they had a ceremony focused solely on us.  A group of four young women called us up one by one to thank us for the water we provided for them, give us a handmade card that said this, and give us each a hand-carved animal, each of which they described as beautiful.  After this, we danced with the students who danced during the program.  Once the dance stopped they walked around hugging us and giving thanks to us, calling many of us by name.

Shortly after that we unlashed the windmill so it could make its first revolution, and water poured freely from the faucet.  Neema, the woman in charge of the school, was overjoyed, and she laughed and cried while splashing everyone in the vicinity with handfuls of water.  By this time all of the students were very excited and running around to our group from Stritch saying "Thank You" again and again.

Then, we painted our names on the back of the water tank where a painter had already painted a beautiful scene of several students using this new water.  After that we each planted a tree which would be watered with the help of the windmill we had just completed.  I planted a guava tree, and others planted orange, mango, grape, or avocado trees.  We were told these trees would produce much fruit in the years to come.

It was amazing to receive this "Thank You" from the students we helped.  We could tell that the program they put together for us was very important to them and that they took a lot of time to prepare it.  This made it all the more special.  We gave them water, and they responded by giving us what they had- a very large amount of gratitude.  After the water was turned on, one girl held my hands and said "Thank You" repeatedly, then finally said "I don't know how to thank you enough."  I helped build the windmill to honor these children, but they turned around and worked to honor our group for doing so.

The day before we completed the well, we experienced sadness at seeing Tanzanians affected with HIV-AIDS.  It was educational, but discouraging, because we witnessed daunting world problems of a large magnitude.  I, for one, wished I knew what I could do to help.  Completing the water project at the Rhema school did not change the water problem around the world, but it changed the circumstances of an entire school of children.

There are always discouraging moments when you want to solve a problem, but there are victories as well.  Service seems to be a delicate balance between knowing that there will always be more work to do and knowing that every small victory counts.