2017 Goals Accomplished:

Over a three month period:
  • At Vipaji Nursery School & Daycare Center
    • Happy Teeth Center ( Dental Hygiene room) constructed
    • 4 sinks installed at the Center
      • Kitchen
      • Bathroom
      • 2 in Happy Teeth Center
    • Chicken coop constructed for food and capital opportunities.
    • 15 new mattresses for nap time
    • School van windshield and transmission replaced
    • Outdoor kitchen constructed
    • Back salary paid for nannies/staff
    • New drinking water system initiated (Boiled water and personal bottles for each child)
    • Nursery school curriculum revamped and revised- taught classes daily, incorporating crafts and fun.
    • Community meetings with mothers to discuss healthy eating and discipline techniques.
    • Center stocked with school supplies, lesson plans, and toys.
  • Elsewhere:
    • 60 shoes purchased for Cradle of Love baby orphanage
    • Refrigerator purchased and breast pump pump provided for single mother of premature triplets.

Before: Happy Teeth Center

Construction: Happy Teeth Center

Finally complete Happy Teeth Center!

First day using Happy Teeth Center!

Before: no mattresses for nap time

Mattress shopping in the city

New mattresses and crib mattresses

New mattresses and new sheets

Before: indoor bathroom

After: indoor bathroom sink complete!

Before: No kitchen sink

Finished: kitchen sink

Before: Chicken coop

After: Chicken Coop

New chickens happy in their new coop!

New individually labeled water bottles

Teacher stocked with new school supplies!

School  supplies!

Outdoor hand-washing station installed

Food and cleaning supplies replenished!

Outdoor kitchen installed!

Backlogged nanny salaries paid off

Details of changes made:
Dental hygiene room: constructed the “Happy Teeth Center”—a room with two sinks along with a labeled toothbrush rack so that each child could brush their teeth in the morning and evening before leaving the center. (Special thanks to my two dentists back home and one from England for sending over 500 toothbrushes and toothpaste!)
Implemented sanitation practices
o Handwashing:
the children now wash their hands before each meal with warm water and soap and a handwashing station was set up by the outdoor latrine.
o Plastic sitting rugs: this is where the children now eat their meals. Since some of the traditional meals are eaten with the hands, it was counterproductive for them to be eating their food with clean hands, yet still touching the dirty cement floor in between bites. These sitting mats solved that problem and improved clean up.
Chicken coop: Built and stocked with chickens so that the eggs can be eaten or sold for capital to run the center.
Sink: Installed the first sink in the center for washing dishes and cooking (previously there was only a water tap coming out of the wall forcing the nannies to stoop and wash everything in a bucket)
Car repair: The 9-seater van that transports 30 children and staff a day had an extremely cracked windshield and broken steering system. A mechanic was called, the van was repaired, and daily transport resumed.
Classroom: Stocked the classroom with crayons, papers, worksheets, colored pencils, stickers, lesson plans for the teacher etc. (When I first arrived, the classroom had no crayons or paper, just a few pencils)
Sleeping mattresses: Before, the children were sleeping on the floor or six to a mattress. Purchased individual mattresses and had a seamstress make fitted sheets (those are hard to find!) out of re-purposed fabric.
Toys: Trains, puzzles, and dolls from a kindergarten classroom in Florida found new life in Tanzania. Prior the center had NO toys at all. Additionally, had a local carpenter construct toy chests.
Food and supplies: Stocked the center with staples of rice, beans, corn, produce and cleaning supplies to last three months.
Salary: Donated funds paid one month’s backlogged salaries for the nursery school’s staff as the center couldn’t pay them for the month of May. Most of the nannies are mothers who really needed the paycheck to feed their own families.
Shoe drive: 60 pairs of shoes were purchased and donated to Cradle of Love Baby Home Orphanage.
Triplets: I met Nasra, a single mother to three premature triplets, and was soon staying overnights helping with the babies. At two months of age, each baby weighed two pounds or less. I was able to procure a donated breast pump from Florida, purchased a refrigerator to store breast milk, and many baby clothes/baby items were donated from a group in Florida called Moms of Multiples.