Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beyond the Box

One Small Drop is pleased to announce its new annual campaign called Beyond the Box. Instead of shopping at the local big box stores your sponsorship of a new school uniform or pig can help educate a child or feed a community.

These small gifts make a large impact in the Livingston Mountain area of Tanzania, Africa. One Small Drop, a global non-profit association continues to strive for independence, education, and innovation through one-to-one networking in Wisconsin and Tanzania. When you sponsor one of the items, you will receive a personalized certificate and your donation transforms communities by helping people address hunger, poverty, and education.

All purchases are tax deductible, and One Small Drop is always interested in helping new volunteers learn how they can reach out and help change the world.

For more information please contact Tammie Jo Berg:, 715-445-4919, or snail-mail N6823 Co J, Iola, WI 54945.
• One orphan uniform: $30.00
• One pig: $30.00

Friday, November 27, 2009


Brenda, Buttons and I have just returned from an amazing trip to the southwest region of Tanzania, Africa. This is the first time One Small Drop has taken additional team members to meet the people of the Livingstone Mountains. To say we were warmly welcomed would be an understatement. I think Brenda’s description of “stepping into National Geographic” is very appropriate initial reaction.

Brenda and Buttons have a tender spot for orphans and widows because they can directly relate. Brenda’s husband (Button’s father) died suddenly 3 years ago. As we met with the 4 women’s groups in the communities of Kandete, Mesebe, Lusanje and Ndala, Brenda and Buttons were introduced as mother and daughter. There was an audible gasp of excitement and then cheers. Family is very important to them. The relationships being forged will change lives forever…ours and theirs.

One Small Drop’s purpose for this trip was to check on the progress of the identified projects for orphans and widows in this region (pigs and school uniforms). I was immediately impressed with the progress of the communities and the extent to which the women have been empowered to take on these projects. We also met with the leaders of the women’s groups to finalize some of the mundane details: opening a bank account, choosing a treasurer, choosing a tailor, identifying a manager and the role the manager will play, and bringing advocates up to speed on the projects. The group has decided on the name of “Kamelunda”. This is the first few letters of each community. It turns out this is also a word in their tribal language that means “together”.

We had the opportunity to hear from widows and orphans from each community. We will post some of these encounters in the near future. The ladies were anxious to share and teach us some of their activities, involving us in their dances and songs, and making mats. These mats are very versatile. They are made from grasses and tied or woven together. They can be used as beds, blankets, decoration, and for drying vegetables and grains.

Have you ever looked at a piece of weaving very close up? It is difficult to see any kind of pattern and sometimes the colors blend together so they are indistinguishable. That is how I had been seeing One Small Drop as we were getting our feet under us. But now I feel like I am getting a glimpse of the colors and intricate patterns God has in store for us! I cannot wait to watch as this tapestry continues to grow!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Only 20 More Days

That's right! Only 20 more days unitl One Small Drop heads back to Tanzania. This time Brenda and Buttons (right) will be joining me. We are excited to be traveling to the small communities in the Livingston Mountains of Western Tanzania. We are looking forward to meeting with the four communities to review the progress and next steps for implementation of the Orphan Uniform Project and the Pig Project.

One of the people we hope to meet with is the tailor that will be sewing the uniforms for the students. By securing the uniforms in this manner, it provides employment and helps the local economy.

While there we will also visit a couple schools, churches, local families and a hospital. We will be given the opportunity to learn one of their crafts - making mats, as well as learning how to make ugali - a traditional African dish.

One Small Drop is SO gratful for the support they have received over the past 3 months. Your response has been amazing! We have partnered with several schools for uniform and pig support. Faith communities have been especially generous. I have gifts from a vacation Bible school to bring the orphans and quilter groups have provided beautiful quilts to offer as gifts. Community organizations have warmly welcomed me to hear about One Small Drop.

Because of your interest and open hearts you are providing hope, making a difference and changing small drop at a time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Widow's Story

Becasue of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, orphans and widows are a common occurance here in Western Tanzania. It touches all cities, towns and villages. It touches all walks of life. It is a part of society and threatens existance.

This mom is a widow. Her husband left her with 8 children, including a set of triplets. After she learned of his death she found out he had another wife in another city, with 4 children. A short time later this wife also died. Since the husband owned the property with 8 children, the 4 others also have rights to this property. They moved in. 12 children under one roof. The mother has a garden to feed the family and tries to sell what she can at the market to purchase school uniforms so the children can go to school. She admits, "I sometimes fail. I often fail."

The daughter in the picture is the only child attending school at this time.

Education is a dream of children living in Tanzania, yet endless barriers limit their opportunities.

Education is the true stepping stone out of poverty. If interested in assisting, uniform sponsorship is $30 and can be mailed to One Small Drop, N6823 Co J, Iola, WI 54945.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rachael & Giveness - Orphan Uniforms

In Tanzania, education is highly regarded. There are no fees to attend primary school, but a uniform is required. A uniform costs approximately $30. The average monthly income is about $40. For many families the cost of a uniform is difficult at best, and often beyond their capacity. Now throw in the dilemma of orphans. There is no orphanage in the Livingston Mountains. Orphans are taken in by extended family, neighbors, friends or looked after by older siblings. The extra burden of caring for orphans, as well as supplying them with a school uniform is a luxury most will never see.

Above is Rachael, 11 years old, and Giveness who is 9. They are orphans being looked after by a young uncle, his girlfriend and their two young children. The uncle shared his difficulties with me in July. He has no job. He has thought about leaving the mountains and going into the city to look for work, but that leaves the orphans totally alone. The home had no beds, one chair and one couch. He knows he is not providing as he should. He is depressed and he drinks. He shared he drinks in the morning, afternoon and evening. We explained that One Small Drop is working on a way to provide uniforms to orphans. His eyes became bright and he suggested that, if possible, to provide Rachael a uniform and she may be able to come home and teach Giveness what she learns.

Kandete has developed a system for identifying the orphans in their community. They have recorded the number of orphans (69), ages, if they have one or no parents, who they are living with, what grade they would be in school, etc. This system will be used as a model for the other 3 communities One Small Drop is working with.

One Small Drop has set up orphan uniform sponsorships. We will also collaborate with school classrooms, Sunday School classes, youth groups, 4-H, Scouts, and other interested groups to participate. If interested in assisting, uniform sponsorship is $30. If you have a group interested in participating e-mail: .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Last year I met Niku. Niku has been singled out at school because of her exceptional grades. They recommended she go to nursing school. But Niku's father had recently died of HIV/AIDS, and her mother just found out she also has AIDS. Medication is very expensive. Her mother is using the father's leftover meds. Due to these circumstances, her family could not afford to send Niku to nursing school.

The entire two year nursing program cost $600.

Two weeks ago One Small Drop was able to present Niku with a full scholarship. Niku and her mother were filled with joy and appreciation. They hardly had words to express their gratitude.

Niku will begin school August 31, 2009 at Njombe Nursing School. This school is several hours from home. The $600 covers room, board, school supplies and education. She is excited to keep us abreast of her progress!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Details, Details, Details

Hujambo kakas na babas -
(Hello brothers and sisters)

I have just returned from an enlightening, and sometimes heartbreaking trip to Tanzania. (I am still working on getting my nights and days straightened out. They are 8 hours ahead.)

I have learned that One Small Drop will be working with 4 villages: Kandete, Masebe, Ndala and Lusanje. The two specific projects for these areas are pork production and orphan uniforms. Each area is excited to be collaborating with One Small Drop (and that is an understatement!). I have met with amazing women groups from each of these areas. They are competant and compassionate women that know first hand the needs and strengths of their neighbors. They also know how to rally a community and get the job done.

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Mama Tuponile and Pr. Mmete as they accompanied and translated for me during this trip.

One afternoon I met with 2 women from each area to discuss the many details these projects would entail. Some of these women are pictured above. They amazed me with their determination, strength and insight. The meeting was over 4 hours long, but much was accomplished. They decided that each community will host a center for the first round of pigs. These centers will be a model to all individuals that will received pigs. It will be the education center to teach things such as feeding requirements, vaccines and medical care, building pig pens, breeding and farrowing. They decided that an application process will be used to apply for piglets, giving widows with children the first priority. They also discussed follow up once the pigs are placed and how to keep the project sustainable.

Orphan uniforms were also a huge discussion topic. Each community will need to gather and document information regarding the orphans in their area. Kandete recently did this and had a good system to use as a model. They decided how to prioritize the orphans, and discussed options for tailoring.

During discussions I was asked about people that may not fall into the catagory of widow or orphan. The needs are great in this area. I could only explain that One Small Drop is concetrating on these 2 projects right now because more can be accomplished when goals are focused. We understand that these projects are only "one small drop" of opportunity in a great bucket of needs.

And I also heard, over and over, that "these opportunities are a gift from God and we will honor God by working very hard to accomplish our goals".

Future updates: Niku the nursing student, Orphan and Widow stories, November volunteers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dates Confirmed for July Trip to Tanzania

July 13-24.
The purpose of this trip will be to solidify contacts, renew friendships, and continue to build relationships. Information will also be gathered regarding specifics that One Small Drop will address. We will meet with Mama Tupo, an expert in agriculture regarding the pork project. Locally, I am most grateful to Mr. Alex for his support, encouragement and expertise in the area of pork production. I am amazed at his knowledge and enthusiasm for this project.

Another person we plan to meet is Bwana Anania. He is a tailor we may be able connect with for orphan school uniforms. We will also meet with local African charities to learn about areas of potential collaboration.

Because of social networking on Twitter, Justmeans and LinkedIn, there may be possibilities for building relationships with Orphans Africa, Africa Bridge, Globetrekr and Hearts in Unity.

Earlier this month I met with five amazing ladies (Lisa, Brenda, Karyn, Buttons, and Michelle) who are very excited about the service learning trip in November. We discussed everything from climate to transportation to shots to cultural expectations. We are all trying to learn some basic Swahili before we go.

Mungu akubariki sana -- God bless you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Volunteers to Meet

Volunteers for the November trip to Tanzania will be meeting on June 7th to go over many details. We are SO excited! It is not too late if you are interested in participating in this service learning opportunity.

If you’ve been following on Twitter, you know we have received our official 501 (c) (3) status. Whooo Hoooo! Now to finalize the web site.

I am very excited about the use of technology and the communities that can be formed through the social networking sites. Never before have communities been able to connect globally with one another with such ease and efficiency! Please feel free to follow me on Twitter. Just click on the link at the left.

One Small Drop board of directors is working on coordinating a couple fundraising events in the near future. Check back for announcements and details.

What will we be doing in Tanzania? There are several things in the works. First and foremost is building relationships. One Small Drop is intentional about investing time, energy and effort to build friendships across borders and cultures. It is neither effective nor adequate to simply offer assistance. Entering into a relationship is essential. We have much to learn from our global neighbors and assistance is reciprocal.

More next week…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I have been asked “why start a non-profit for global outreach?” There are many reasons.

1. My faith has probably been the biggest influence. I feel convicted to act. Aside from that…

2. Facts, facts, and more facts:

a. Nearly 25,000 children die every day because of poverty.

b. About 1 billion people live on less than $1/day

c. 20% of the people control 80% of the world’s resources

d. The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

3. Educate and experience. Many of us in the US are rarely exposed to the extreme poverty of developing countries. In the same manner, we also are not exposed to the incredible gifts that other cultures can offer us. When we can learn about each other together, we can walk hand in hand. As Shane Claiborne stated in The Irresistible Revolution, "When the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. When the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."

4. "We can do no great things, only small things with GREAT love." Mother Teresa

5. One Small Drop associates are everyday people with a passion for reaching beyond themselves, beyond stereotypes, beyond borders, beyond obstacles, to make a difference…one small drop at a time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preparations Begin

I recently met with Pr. Andrea to discuss what future trips to Tanzania might look like. (Pr. Andrea is finishing up his education in St. Paul. He will graduate in May, and then return to the Konde Diocese, in southwest Tanzania.) There are two trips in the works. One in July and one in November. Pr. Andrea plays an essential role in these trips as our contact and implementing our connections. In addition to the Pork Project, orphan uniforms, widow empowerment and HIV/AIDs education, there is interest from nursing students to visit hospitals in this area.

And speaking of nursing...I am happy to announce we have secured enough funds to pay for Niku's first year of nursing school. We will also be purchasing 5 pigs to start up the pork project. These next two trips will be very exciting.
If you might have an interest in participating in these trips, please let me know. The people of the Livingstone Mountains would be honored to share their lives with you. Here is some basic information:

* July 10-28, 2009 (give or take a day) and early November (Nov. 6-17 ???)

* Approximate cost: $3500 - depending on airfare. This will include airfare from Chicago, housing, meals, transportation while in Tanzania and a visit to a National Park. It does not include immunizations, visa nor passport expenses.

* The trip will entail creating relationships, cultural education, visiting schools,churches and hospitals, assist in initiating the pork project, walking side by side with our neighbors from afar