In March, Bria and Matt trekked across the globe to Karatu, Tanzania to meet up with Food For His Children TZ. The following is a summary of the trip in their words.
The trip was a success! Our goals were to conduct staff performance reviews and go over staff challenges with the program; meet with participants and review their past goals and record the data and give them your hugs and continued support; launch the FFHC database and review with staff; and lastly, we were sent to minister to Margaret—a valued member of the team serving the program with goat management and care.
Unlike past trips, we were unhindered by sickness and plane delays—for the duration of the flights and our time in TZ, neither Bria or Matt were afflicted with any sort of sickness. Bria did suffer some reaction to the food served on the plane ride home, but compared to her last encounter with food poisoning, this was a mild event that she recovered from quickly.
While in TZ, we were able to stay with Margaret at her rented home in Karatu which was a blessing to us—it saved on costs and gave us the daily opportunity to minister and spend time with Margaret. While it is always awkward to live with someone new for a short period, we all (including Margaret) enjoyed each other’s company. We did bible studies together and even watched a few American movies together and with the staff. We cooked many meals together and had some nice, in-depth discussions about life and the program.
Program wise, Bria led several staff meetings with Noel, Honorina and Samson to go over challenges with the program and personal development goals within the program. Tough discussions were had, but all walked away with a positive attitude and a re-dedication to the program. Also, Bria led a round-table discussion with all the FFHC TZ staff and our two pastor-advisers which flew in special for the discussion. Again, many tough topics were discussed, but overall, a rejuvenated game plan was achieved and progress for the participants is the key.
Database-wise, Matt led two times going over the database he and Mark built receiving positive feedback and correcting terminology as well as gathering information to enhance the database from where it was. During the meetings Bria led, Matt worked on some of the bugs with the database and added some of the suggestions they desired and uploaded the database to the computers for them to begin using and collecting data. Over time, Matt and Mark will update the database to streamline it some and work the remaining programming bugs out; but in the meantime, the TZ staff have a workable database to start inputting data for us and them to use and make their jobs more efficient.
An added bonus to the trip is we were welcomed into our advisor's home at the end of the trip. We took a day to make the journey to Marangu and spend two days with Pastor George, his wife Glory, and their two children Godlisten and Goodwill. We were introduced to George’s parents and shared several meals with them as well as did a day of visiting George’s hometown sightseeing and learning about the Chagga culture.
We learned that George’s family lineage is from one of the 17 tribal leaders that originally inhabited Tanzania. This was our first time to this part of Tanzania and it was a delight.
Marangu is located in the foothills on the ocean side of Mount Kilimanjaro so it is a very lush and beautiful area. We hope to return to Marangu on future trips and continue the relationships with George and his family. George is in the process of building a new home for him and his family so they can move out of their parents’ home, and George said that he will create a bedroom for Bria and Matt to come and stay regularly.