Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 2: Hedaro Parish - Louisa

On Friday, I went with Cheryl and Mai to a parish with Surumbu and John Fulli. From town, we travelled to more rural villages where we were able to visit four homes, each with bed nets. We also visited a farm, observed efforts to help local farmers increase their produce through better irrigation, and  came back to eat lunch and watch skit presented by some of the children of the church at the end of the day. 

The video is of the children singing outside the church when they were done with their performance. 

Day 1: Ruvu Parish - Louisa

On Thursday and Friday, I had the opportunity to visit two parishes in the Pare Diocese. My travelling companions on both days were Mai Vu and Cheryl Philip.

The Pare Diocese is in the northeastern border of Tanzania.
(Photo courtesy of ELCT website.)
On Friday, Mai and Cheryl and I went with Peter and Barraka to visit the Ruvu Parish. Both Peter and Barraka work to fight malaria through both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) and the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI).

The Ruvu Parish has a main headquarters in the town of Ruvu as well as 28 different sub-parishes in the area. We were able to visit two of he sub-parishes and end our day in the main parish building.

Our first stop was a Maasai village. Here we visited a well and ate our lunch in the house of the chairman of the village. Though the Maasai are traditionally a nomadic people, this village is becoming more permanent in such cases as the well, the church, and the kindergarten they are planning to build.

Lunch in the home of the chairman of the village. The chairman follows up on the work of LMI to make sure that  the people use the bed nets they have, and that they are using them properly.

Mai Vu outside the church in the Maasai village. 

Mai Vu with some new friends.

Lou with some new friends. The women of the village sang for us, and many of the people also came to shake
our hands and gather to hear what Peter and Barraka and the parish pastors had to say about our visit and malaria. 
Cheryl as we left the Maasai. This was one of those places "they" are talking about when they refer to people in those hard-to-get-to places known as the "last mile."

Day 1 in the Pare Diocese - Rebecca

NOTE: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) is split into 20 dioceses. Our group visited the Pare Diocese, east of Arusha. We all stayed in the Elephant Motel at night, and we split up into different groups when we visited the different parishes during the day. Rebecca, Tori, and Andrew went in one direction with some supervisors while Louisa and Mai went in another (with other supervisors.)

This is written by Rebecca about our first day visiting the parishes.

On Thursday, we had the opportunity to visit the Makanya community. We met with paster Godson and some of his parish members to learn what they are doing to fight malaria. John Fulli along with Andrew, Tori, Dave and I (Rebecca) started our journey in Arusha and travel close to four hours to the Elephant Motel in Same and after quickly dropping off our bags we were on our way again. After a quick drive we arrived in the Makanya community. We were greeted by a crowd full of children who were excited to see the Mazungus and wanted to have there pictures taken. After settling in the church we saw two skits. 

The first skit was done by the youth group; anyone age 18 to 35 and not married is consider youth here. They presented us with a skit that they give to other community members and other parishes about malaria. Through the skit the group is able to teach people how to use bed nets, superstitions behind bed nets use, highlighted the benefits of using them, showed proper and improper uses and where you can go to get them. The second skit was done by they sunday school class. The children showed what the signs and symptoms of malaria are and what to do about it. They also sang a song about how malaria is bad.

After the skits the assistant paster of the parish gave us a presentation on the work that is being done in the community of Makanya. I want to just high light a few of the things he said. 

There are about 9000 community members and about 210 adults 110 children in him parish, before LMI work was implemented 20% of people used bed nets and now it is up to 98%, before malaria work there were 10+ deaths in a year and last year there were 3 deaths and so far this year none! Women and children are 2/3 of there population and they are the most at risk. Closest clinic is 1.7 miles but there is a dispensary close by where they can get malaria treatment. 

We also had the opportunity to visit the dispensary and we met with the nurse in charge. She had some incredible things to share with us. She said that since the malaria project was implemented all pregnant women have come for their malaria immunizations, not only that but they have come back for both doses. She also said that there has been a decline in the number of women with anemia which is a sign that less people are getting malaria. She said that all of these things are because of the awareness that the LMI project had brought. She said that malaria was the number one thing people came to the clinic for and now it is number three. I am was encouraged by her passion and perseverance. You could tell by the way her face lit up when she talked about the LMI projects and how they were impacting the people of her community. 

It is absolutely beautiful here, mountains on every side of you and so many different kinds of trees (I LOVE the trees)!!  We even saw monkeys running across the road yesterday! The people we have met have been so welcoming and all have told us that they want us to come back and live here. The food is great and there is a lot of it! I feel so blessed to be there and excited to come home and share the stories of the people we have met. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Journey to the East

On Thursday, Rebecca and Louisa made it to the Elephant Motel, a three to four hour drive west of Arusha. We are here visiting the Pare Diocese, which includes parishes and sub-parishes. We went to two different parishes on Thursday, and we'll be split up again on Friday for another set of visits.

We have many photos and even videos we'd like to share, but due to time and internet connection are forced to wait. Please be patient as we continue our attempts to keep you updated on our time here. 

Also, please continue to pray for us as we meet and interact with the locals here.

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 1: Orientation

July 25th, 2012- Arusha Tanzania 

After a long two days of traveling and a ride to the hotel, we are finally here! Louisa and I flew from Detroit to Amsterdam (7 hour flight), where we met the rest of the crew, and then we all traveled on to Kilimanjaro together (8 hour flight). The flights were good, although I (Rebecca) was not feeling to well on the second one. I was happy when the plane finally touched the ground, one because the flying part was over, but most importantly because we were in Tanzania!! Who would have guessed that I would have the opportunity to come to Africa again! So thankful and so excited to see what God has in store! 
Quick trip run down! 
We were met at the airport by the lovely Brenda Kimaro at the airport; she is our trip leader. Brenda works for Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and just moved to Tanzania about 2 months ago  
Dave and Cheryl: They are our contact from LWR. They are in charge of the College Fellowship and will be helping us through out the next year. Louisa and I (Rebecca) were able to meet them back in February during the ALDE Conference. Dave and Cheryl along with Brenda will be leading our trip
Fellows: Rebecca Monnier and Louisa Mehl, Tori from Concordia Portland, Andrew form Valpraso University and Mai from Concordia Irvine. 
We will also be accompanied by John Fulli who is the the program director here in Tanzania for the malaria work. 
Over the next few days we will be traveling to different projects that the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) is working on. We will be taking pictures and video, meeting people, hearing stories, and sharing our love of Jesus!

Are first day consisted of, orientation, meeting John Fulli, a wonderful lunch, shopping, meeting Brenda’s family, and dinner at an Italian restaurant. A full but wonderful first day here in Tanzania. Tomorrow we will be traveling to our first project visits. Louisa and I will be in different groups, visiting different churches, so we will have much to share come tomorrow evening! 
Love Rebecca 

Mai and Lou trying to help at the market.

Rebecca with Brenda's son Max.
Brenda and Rebecca at our orientation session.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore
JUNE 13 FOUND all five of the selected "Fellows" in Baltimore. The Fellows included Andrew Denecke fro Valporaiso, Mai Vu from Concordia Irvine, Tori Talbutt from Concordia Irvine, and Rebecca Monnier and Louisa Mehl from Concordia Nebraska. The Fellows have been chosen for the purpose of helping college students involved in fighting malaria in Africa through the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.

They are pictured here with Dr. John Nunes, President of Lutheran World Relief, and his pastor. Also pictured are Arnie and Ruth Sorenson and their daughter Esther. The Sorensons are responsible for the opportunity that each of the campuses has to get involved in the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. 

WHILE IN BALTIMORE, the five Fellows started orientation for what we will be doing while we are in Tanzania. Rebecca and I (Louisa) and the other Fellows will leave the United States on August 23 to embark on our ten day journey.

This is a record of our travels.