Friday, October 8, 2010

Many Ideas To Share

Lisa Hardel and I had an amazing trip to the 4 village’s (Lusanje, Kandete, Masebe, Ndala,) that One Small Drop is working with. It was exciting to see the progress of the 4 women’s groups in the Livingstone Mountains. “ Lukamanda” (the first 2 letters of the community names) is the name of the group formed by the women as an organization. Lukamanda has been overseeing the orphan uniform project and the pig project. To date 226 orphan uniforms have been sewn by a local tailor. That means 226 children are now going to school that were previously unable to. We had the privilege of hand delivering the uniforms in Lusanje and Kandete (picture).

Another incredible milestone was seeing the completion of the pig centers. Each of the 4 centers has one male and 5 female pigs. Most of the females have been bred and are expecting piglets in the next couple months. At Lukamanda’s meeting they decided that piglets will be given away to prioritized widows that apply for the pigs. The center will breed the piglet. All the babies from that pig will be returned to the center. The widow then has discretion over any future litters. She may choose to raise them for food or sell them at the market. The center then has a supply of piglets to pass out to other widow applicants. It is a gift that keeps on giving. It is anticipated that over 200 piglets will be distributed over the first year!

There are also 2 new ideas for One Small Drop to expand into…I will explain next week.

PS. One Small Drop has a new web site address The site is still being worked on, but accessible.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Livingstone Mountains Here We Come!

Lisa Hardel and I are heading out next Saturday to visit the Livingstone Mountains in South Western Tanzania, Africa. We are excited to be visiting the 4 communities and woman’s group “Lukamenda” to see how the progress is coming on the orphan uniforms and the pork project.

My last visit was in November, and the villages were just beginning to construct their individual pork centers where widows will learn how to feed, vaccinate, breed and farrow the pigs. Then, through an application process, pigs are awarded to widows. When their pig has babies, they will keep 3 and give the rest back to the pork center, who will then distribute more pigs.

We will also be meeting with the tailors that have been making orphan uniforms to get a progress report.

There is a high possibility of a nurse traveling next summer to do a 3 month internship in the mountains, so Lisa and I will be visiting a couple hospitals.

We are also taking a sample solar oven to explore the feasibility of its use. Women travel 1-3 miles each day to gather needed firewood and there is an issue with the wood supply. All meal preparation is done with firewood, sometimes inside homes. This creates respiratory issues.

This trip is sure to be educational as well as heartwarming as we rekindle old friendships. I can’t wait!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Piggy Party Pictures

Piggy outfit :)

Scavenger Hunt for the pinata

Piggy pinata found!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the "Piggy Party" of a wonderful family in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. The entire gathering revolved around raising awareness and funds for our pig project in Tanzania, so I thought I'd share some of the fun photos.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Children Lead The Way

Last month I visited the Amherst United Methodist Church and Buena Vista Methodist Church to give updates on One Small Drop activities. These two very small churches have welcomed One Small Drop and made us feel like family. Last fall when I introduced One Small Drop, the Amherst Sunday School (8 students) decided to support the Pig Project throughout their year. They even made t-shirts that said P.I.G.S – People In God’s Service. They did various fund raising activities, like pancake breakfasts and brat fries. I was blown away by their presentation of over $540 dollars for the pig project. WOW!

Last week I received a phone call from someone I met at the Portage County Cultural Festival. Her young young children are having a “piggy party” to raise awareness and funds for One Small Drop. Amazing!

What an inspiration these young people are! It reminds me of the Bible verse, 1Timothy 4:12, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” These children have truly been an example.

Do any of you have examples of inspirational children in your life? Please share with me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fall Trip Just Around the Corner

Just received word from Tupo (our interpreter) that she is available starting Sept. 13th to accompany us on our next trip. We are planning to leave around Sept. 11th-26th, give or take a day or two.

We are very excited about returning to the Livingstone Mountains in Southwest Tanzania to see how the progress is going with Lukamenda, the women’s organization we are working with, on the pork projects as well as the orphan uniform projects in all four communities.

If anyone you know is interested in traveling with us in September, we welcome guests to come and see and meet our wonderful friends. Just drop me an email at

One Small Drop continues to have speaking engagements at various churches (Buena Vista and Amherst Methodist Church this weekend) and organizations. We are eager to get the word out to demonstrate how very small actions on our part can have huge effects, creating ripples of change in the lives of many.

We had a wonderful time at the Portage County Cultural Festival, interacting with a plethora of foreign cultures, music, food, crafts and classes. It was an amazing experience to be able to showcase a small part of Tanzania and teach some basic Swahili.

There is still talk of having a Pig Roast/Garden Party with music late summer or early fall. We’ll keep you updated.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Promises, Promises

Oh my. It has been a month since my last post! It’s not like nothing has been happening. One Small Drop held its first fundraising concert thanks to the generosity of Orlow and the CW Band, Carmen Lee and the Tomorrow River Two and Clinton Miller. These 3 bands donated their time to benefit people they have never met through the Pork Project and Orphan Uniform Project in Tanzania. Over $1000 was raised that evening! The Portage County Gazette also did a feature article.

I have been busy speaking to various groups, (Brownie girl scouts in Waupaca, confirmation students in Scandinavia, Mother/Daughter Banquets, and school classrooms) that are anxious to learn about my friends in Tanzania.

One Small Drop has been invited to participate in the Portage County Cultural Festival on May 8th. This will be a marvelous opportunity for One Small Drop to gain exposure to hundreds of people who come to experience dozens of world cultures through music, education, dance, art, and food by tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing and feeling. I will even get the chance to teach some Swahili words to the children!

The Board of Directors is considering additional fundraisers such as a pig roast/garden party this summer. We will keep you posted on dates and locations!

We’ve have an update on Niku. She is the young gal that was recognized by the government because of her exceptional grades in school. The government recommended she attend nursing school. But her father had recently died of AIDS and her mother just diagnosed with AIDS. Her family could not afford to send her to school. One Small Drop sponsored her two-year nursing education program. She will complete her first year in August, and is doing very well. One Small Drop will also be sponsoring her practical field work next semester.

And plans have started for our next visit in August. Whew! I need to update more often! Promises, promises…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where Local is Global

How do you know your time, money, and efforts are really making a difference in the world? As you sit here in your seat in “small town”, Wisconsin how can you be sure the change you want to see in the world is really happening? Are you really reaching those you want to help? There are many good and heartbreaking reasons to help the world today. We see it on the news every day. Disease, famine and natural disaster seems to be happening at every moment on any spot on the globe. You may feel that you are a member of too small a local community to do much good. In reality local is global. What you can do today, here in your local community, through One Small Drop can drastically change a local community a world away. Through its local community efforts in Tanzania, One Small Drop is working to make connections one local community at a time. From Iola/Amherst/Stevens Point/Nelsonville/Scandinavia/Rosholt/(insert your town here) to Kandete, Tanzania you can donate a pig that will feed not only a family but a community. From your seat and from your dollars a child in Ndala, TZ can attain a school uniform and attend school. That child can go on to become a strong contributing member of the community.

That’s why we were VERY excited when Gregg Orlowski approached One Small Drop to consider a fundraiser, offering his band, Orlow and the CWB, at no cost to us! The Board of Directors were in awe with Gregg’s generosity and enthusiasm. He quickly recruited two more entertainers to add to the show. The combined musical talent of Carmen Lee and the Tomorrow River Two and Clinton Miller will produce a top notch show for all in attendance. Please consider this your personal invitation and mark your calendars for Saturday, April 10th, 7-10pm, in Amherst, WI at the Lettie Jensen Community Center.

At One Small Drop we are not seeking to change the world on a grand scale, just reaching out from one local community across the globe to another local community sending ripples of support and care throughout the world.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Word from the New President

I would like to interrupt this blog for a moment to introduce myself and explain to you why I am both pleased and honored to be named the new President of the Board of Directors of One Small Drop. It is an organization that truly seeks to prove that local can be global, and lasting and substantive change can be made in the world by committed individuals.

If you have looked around the world there are just about a million quotes about philanthropy, charity, nonprofit organizations, and volunteerism. Some of these quotes are grand, but I think the best ones are those that put the impact of world change within the reach of one individual. One of my favorites is by Wayne Dyer, “You, a person with a vision, are like a pebble in a stream, moving ever outward to infinity, impacting on all who come into contact with the ripple.” It is because of quotes like that, and the impetus for change behind them, that I became involved in One Small Drop. Each and every person who comes into contact with One Small Drop has been able to achieve and see, through concrete ways, how they have impacted a community a world away. That is due in large part to Tammie Jo Berg, its founder, but also to people like Lee Halverson, the past President, and all Board Members, all the way down to that one person who decides to take a chance, and see if they can change the world.

So now that you know the fantastic group of people I have the privilege of working with, let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Liza Schneider. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1984 and have worked solely in the nonprofit world ever since. I have done everything from volunteering at fun walks, to working with developmentally disabled adults, freelance writing, and governance and administration. Recently I received my Masters Degree from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. I am the owner of Philanthropie de la Baie, a nonprofit Consulting business, and have been happily married to Donn, a Packer fan for over 19 years. We are the proud owners of a cat, collie puppy (named Laddie, of course) and a 2 year old Gyspy Vanner horse who is trying really hard to learn not to nibble on people. We are all a work in progress.

I look forward to serving the Board of One Small Drop, as that is what I believe any good President, or leader should be, a servant to others. If you want to test my theory on how you can send a ripple of good out to the world come to one of our events, or contact Tammie Jo or myself. You will be amazed at the impact one small drop can have on the world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Looking Ahead

We are gearing up for our next trip. One Small Drop will be heading back to Tanzania in early August. Some of you have shown an interest in visiting the Villages in the Livingstone Mountains. We welcome those eager to explore and walk hand in hand, side by side with our neighbors across the globe. Our purpose for this trip will be to continue to build relationships with the communities we are working with and perhaps start new relationships with other villages interested in partnering with us. If you are interested please contact Tammie Jo ( as soon as possible so we can get the ball rolling.

I am grateful to report that One Small Drop has progressed beyond my dreams of where we might be 23 months after becoming an official 501 (c)(3) non-profit. Lukamenda (the conglomerate name of the 4 village women groups we are working with: LUsange, KAndete, MEsebe and NDAla) has evolved into a competent and focused group eager to show success in both the Pig Project and Orphan Uniform outreach.

Hot of the press…coming in April… APRIL SHOWER FUNDRAISER helping One Small Drop make worldwide ripples. Greg Orlowski and the CWD Band has offered to provide live music for a fundraiser April 10th. This will be held in Amherst, WI at the Jensen Center. Other live music, food and more will be offered. More information will be released in a couple weeks. So mark you calendars and stop in if you will be in the area.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brenda's Experience...

I've recently returned from the outreach trip that One Small Drop did in the Livingstone Mountains of Tanzania this past November. This was my first flight....EVER! So I thought, "Hey, let's go to Africa!!" My experience with this trip can't be summed up into just one thought or word, but if I HAD to pick one word, it would be 'humbling'. Humbling because we, as westerners, live in very privileged societies. Most of us have our basic human needs met with shelter, food, clean drinking water, educational possibilities, and a network of resources and people that are there to help us when we fall short. Not so in the places we visited within Tanzania.

There were many stories from widows, orphans, teachers, students, doctors and nurses, that ripped my heart wide open. But their stories also held great hope. They are a beautiful, kind, and gentle people.

One experience that stood out for me was when we visited a church and the women took us later to a widow's house to hear of her story. It was raining hard, and as we walked through the fields to this widow's hut, the women of the church took our gear, carried it for us and then picked these large banana leaves and held them over our heads for protection from the rain. What a beautiful thing to do for us. As we entered the widow's hut, for me, it was LITERALLY like stepping back into the pages of National Geographic. It was a grass hut with thatched roof. Holes in the roof and sides of the hut gave way to the harsh winds and rains as it came pounding through, making it very cold and wet. The floor was dirt. The fire, what little there was, was surrounded by three clay-like cylinders made out of mud and hardened. This is where the woman cooked and tried to stay warm. We all gathered in her tiny hut, shivering and cold from the rain, and listened to our translator tell us her story. She was a widow for many years now, no husband, no surviving children, all died most likely from AIDS, because this region has been extremely hard hit by this deadly disease. She raises her grandchildren all alone. Very little money helps to pay for the children to go to school. She is very frail and feeble. I went over to her and wrapped my hands around hers and began to pray for and with her. I knelt in front of her and told her I too, am a widow. My children have no father. I know and feel her pain, but can I really?

I have a large support of people who have been able to help me financially, prayerfully and emotionally. These widows are often times shunned in the community, literally pushed aside. I put a cross around her neck and looked into such sad eyes, but for the moment our eyes locked, I saw a glimmer of hope, a smile came to her lips. Can such seemingly small tokens give such great joy and hope, such as that of a simple felt cross, an offered prayer, a genuine, caring smile, a tender touch and holding of hands? I can answer that with a resounding YES! Sometimes we are so busy looking for the 'big things' we can do in this life, for a world that so desperately needs love and understanding, that we miss the 'small things' and what we can do for a wounded and saddened soul.

One Small Drop, is just that. And I am constantly reminded of the words of Mother Teresa when she said, “You can do no great things, only small things with great love!” How true those words echoed to me while on this trip. I am forever changed by what I saw, and by what I experienced with the two other amazing women that accompanied me on this journey. I am forever grateful for their support, their love and understanding as we traveled together to a place that will be forever and deeply in my heart. God Bless!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Button's Perspective...

This post is written by Buttons (Jessica) Coates. She traveled with me to Tanzania in November. She turned 20 years old while we were there.

It's hard to put into words all the things I experienced while in Tanzania. It was a very intense experience in every aspect. There were so many events that changed me but the one that I want to share is the 14 year old girl who had lost her mother and her father. She spoke softly and hesitantly at first, then she broke down and cried when she talked about the recent death of her father. It was so heart wrenching to see this young girl stand in front of us and tell us about the death of her parents. My father passed away in 2006 and I know how hard it is to talk about him to people. To see the sorrow in all of the widow's and orphan's faces is something that will be with me for as long as I live. I will not forget the people of the Livingstone Mountains and look forward to returing to them in 2011. This was a humbling experience and I wish more people could see what I've seen and also be changed.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Medical Care

During our last trip in November we had the opportunity to visit the local hospital in Kandete.

This hospital serves a population of more than 45,000. It is staffed with 2 doctors and 6 nurses. The next closest facility is 40 miles away through the rough mountain terrain. According to our standards the facility would perhaps be called a clinic. The patient’s usual mode of arrival is on foot.

Because of the poverty, many patients will use chickens, eggs or vegetables as their payment for service. This of course does not help with bills the hospital incurs, such as electricity or staff salaries.

I have some medical background as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for 20 years. And I have to tell you that our ambulance had more medical equipment and more drugs that this hospital has on hand.

Many moms would cringe at the birthing facilities. The surgical recovery area is a mat on the grass outside of the surgical room.

The slideshow above shows the cement bench waiting area, a birthing cot, the medicine distribution room, a refrigerated medicine container, and one of the 2 doctors that serves the hospital.

To illustrate the difficulties, let me share a story. We visited the home of a man whose wife had died. This man, for some unknown reason, had gradually lost the strength in his legs, leaving him unable to walk and only able to sit up with difficulty. He lies on the dirt floor next to the cooking fire in his home to stay warm. He has a 10 year old daughter that is caring for him, cooking meals, taking care of the livestock, tending the garden and trying to go to school. He lives about 15 miles from the hospital and there is no way to get him to the hospital…he cannot walk, he cannot sit on a bicycle, there is not money to hire a driver to come to his remote location. We knew our vehicle would be passing near him the next day and offered to cover the expense of his travel ($3) and admission to the hospital ($10).

When we received our vaccinations to come on this trip we were required to get a booster for polio. It is suspected that this man has polio.