Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Tis the Season

Some people have asked how they can support One Small Drop in this holiday season. One Small Drop is trying to connect and educate those with resources to serve those who have needs (as stated in our vision statement). We have developed sponsorships that correlate with the areas of concern identified by the people in the Livingstone Mountains, South Western Tanzania: HIV/AIDS, orphans, sustainable livestock production - specifically pork, and empowerment of widows.

1. Education is very important in their culture. There is no fee for primary school, but students must wear a school uniform. Due to poverty, many cannot afford uniforms. And when orphans are taken in by extended family the burden is even larger. We are looking at assisting orphans with the purchase of school uniforms so they can attend school. $30 purchases one school uniform (shirt, sweater, pants/skirt, shoes, socks) that could be worn for 2, sometimes 3 years.

2. We are looking at starting a Pork Project (similar to the Heifer Project). $30 buys one feeder size pig. The family awarded the pig is educated in how to feed, care, house and breed it. Piglets are then given away to other families. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

3. A special area of sponsorship is for Niku. In their education system, in order to go to secondary school you must pass a national exam in the 8th grade. If you do not pass, you do not go. You only get one chance. Because Niku has shown great achievement, she has been chosen by the government to attend nursing school. But she has encountered a barrier. Her father died of AIDS earlier this summer. Her mother just found out she has AIDS and is taking the father’s remaining medication. She cannot afford to send her to this special school. The cost is $600 for the entire 2 years.

4. We are looking at ways to empower the women widowed by AIDS to work together to find ways to support their families through micro loans. The women are the worker bees in the family. Seen here getting firewood. We do not have the specifics for this project set up yet.

One Small Drop will also organize trips to assist with some of the physical aspects of outreach – building pig pens, working with orphans, as well as educating and cross-cultural learning from each other. The next trip to Tanzania is being planned for July 2009.

If you are interested in any of these sponsorships, tax deductable contributions can be made to One Small Drop and sent to N6823 Co J, Iola, WI 54945.

Sponsorship Communities
$30—one pig for Pork Project

$30—one school uniform
$____toward total $600 nursing school tuition for Niku

Widow Empowerment:
$___ Micro loan startup fund
$___Support Group materials

$10—Rural aids education kit
$50—one month salary for local AIDS Educator

Sponsorship Levels

Friday, November 14, 2008

School Visits

I visited 3 schools during my stay: Kandete Primary School, Mwatisi Secondary and Kyejo Secondary. Education is highly regarded, but due to poverty, many parents cannot afford to purchase school uniforms and supplies to attend school. In addition to their own children, many families are caretakers for children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, creating more of a financial burden. Orphan care was identified as one of the top 3 areas of concern. I am not aware of an orphanage in the Livingstone Mountains, but I am aware of one in the city of Mbeya - a few hours travel away.

I met with teachers at each of the schools. The Kandete Primary School has more than 1000 students in grades 1-8 (some are pictured above). In order for students to go to secondary school they must pass a National Exam. They only get one chance. So the 8th grade can be a very stressful year. Mwatisi and Kyejo Secondary (grades 9-12) had about 400 students and 10-12 teachers. Both of these schools have only been in existence since 2004. This is because the Parliament has recommended that each Ward establish their own secondary school. Even with this recommendation, students still have to walk 5-7 miles to attend school. But the government provides no funding. Area communities have pulled together to build these schools. Neither school had a library nor computers. Kyejo had no electricity. They rely completely on the knowledge of the teachers. There are fees required to attend secondary school. Fees are paid to the government who pay the teachers. There is often teacher housing at the school location. The average pay for teachers is $150/month.

I happen to purchase 3 soccer balls before the trip as gifts while in Tanzania. Pr. Andrea happen to line up 3 school visits. Coincidence? I doubt it. I struggle to explain the excitement over these soccer (football) balls. In the US, perhaps it would be like I had given each graduating senior their own laptop computer.
There was always a question/answer time with the students at each school. The questions they came up with were amazing! What is the US doing about global warming? Why is HIV/AIS not as prevalent in the US as in Africa - what information is passed along and why does it work? Is there poverty in the US, and what do we do to combat it? What are US orphanages like? What is US doing about terrorism? How does the upcoming election between Obama and McCain look? How many cows does it cost for a woman to get married in the US?

Each of the schools were interested in creating dialog with students in the US. I am working on that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Church Visits in the Konde Diocese of the ELCT (Evangelical Church of Tanzania)

We visited several congregations in the Konde Diocese. Each congregation went out of their way to welcome this guest from America. The district pastor, Pr. Meta, even came off of his sabbatical to lead worship in Kandete. The women of the congregations dressed me in traditional kitengas and often gave gifts of eggs or even a chicken one time. I was most humbled!

It is common for each congregation to have 2 or 3 choirs. Music has so much passion and meaning in their culture. They combine rythmn, dance and sing their hearts to the Lord. Even though I did not understand the words, I felt covered in prayer.

They have an "offering" practice we should try to adopt in America. During the offering, a table with several baskets(representing various ministries)is placed in front of the altar(see picture). As the choir sings the offering song, people walk around the table and drop their offering in the basket for the ministry they want to support. If they do not have money they will often bring fruits, vegetables, eggs and chickens. After service the choir leads the congregation out to the church yard in a circle where the fruits, veggies, eggs and chickens are auctioned off. That money is placed in the treasury. The beauty of sharing their resources is a lesson we can learn from.

Next week I will talk about the school visits.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wow! What a trip!

I have been back for 2 months, and realize I have not posted a thing to this blog, so I thought I'd better get on the stick.

The trip was amazing (aside from airline snafoos that I’m sure I will laugh about some day). This is a picture of Pr. Andrea and his wife Sarah.

To start with I met Jane Goodall and her partner, Dr. Anton, on the plane to Dar Es Salaam from London. I was actually sitting next to Dr. Anton!

The people in the mountains of Pr Andrea's home area were extremely welcoming and glad to have a visitor from the US. His district director was very encouraging about trying to create a long term relationship. I toured 1 grade school and 2 high schools, and about 8-10 churches and their choirs. There were wonderful question and answer exchanges. The areas of concern identified by the people were the same wherever we went: HIV/AIDS, orphans and empowerment of widows, agriculture development - specifically in the area of pork.

Pr. Andrea is widely known throughout the diocese (synod) and highly respected. He has served several parishes and wherever we went, they were overwhelmed to see him again. I also attended one day of a 4-day pastor’s seminar where I enjoyed witnessing the excitement of friendships renewed with Pr. Andrea because he has been out of the country for two years.

My goal will be to update this blog at least weekly, because there is so much more to share!! God has been opening many doors for One Small Drop.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

3 Weeks to Go

In only 3 short weeks I will be on my way to Tanzania. Chambray, the folk group I sing and play with, is sponsoring a Garden Party benefit for this trip, so come on over to my place on Sunday Aug. 10th from 2-4pm, listen to some music, walk among the flowers or relax by the pond.

I recently had the "pleasant" experience of immunizations...ouch! Three shots (cholera, polio and the last Hep A) and need to take typhoid and malaria drugs...the joys of global travel.

Received an e-mail from Pr. Andrea. His return home has been full of joy. He hasn't been home in 2 years, so the homecoming has been sweet for him. He gave me about 20 Swahili words to practice and I can't wait to try them out.

I am so grateful to all of you for your support, encouragement and prayers. It is a humbling and exciting time. I know God has some exciting things planned!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Traveling to Tanzania

One Small Drop officially has a federal identification number. We are one step closer to becoming an official foundation. I am still working on the paperwork to become a non-profit, but it is coming together.

In August I will be traveling to Tanzania to visit a Tanzanian pastor, Pastor Andrea Mwalilino. He filled in at our congregation last summer. I am excited to experience his culture and learn more about the southwestern area of Tanzania. Pr. Andrea said he sees two main areas of concern: one is women widows (from HIV/aids) and how to empower them to develop a plan to work together to support their children, so the children can go to school. The other is the orphans...not those living in orphanages, but the orphans living with grandparents, older siblings or on the streets.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Introducing "One Small Drop"

Welcome to the blog of Tammie Jo Berg and One Small Drop.
One Small Drop is a non-profit foundation with a vision to:
  • change the world one person at a time
  • educate those with resources to serve those who have needs
  • create change of perspective
  • change the world through service and education

In the world of missions and outreach “one small drop” can have many meanings. There are naysayer’s who claim trying to save the world is like a drop in the bucket. One Small Drop is founded on the belief of world changers who know just one drop of water, financial support, or volunteer sweat equity can bring a flood of help to the poorest of places in the world.

Please stay tuned as this exciting venture unfolds.