Before embarking on my Kilimanjaro climb, I had the chance to visit one of World Vision Canada’s area development programs in Tanzania. An ADP (for short) is when World Vision partners with a community in a distinct geographical area to improve the well-being of children through various initiatives. I had often wondered what their work consisted of and I was very excited to get the opportunity to see their work in action.
World Vision Canada started the Ketumbeine ADP back in 2009. It’s scheduled to last 15 years with the overall goal to improve and create sustainable well-being for the children, their families and the community members in the area. This goal is further broken down into more specific goals including that households and communities are socio-economically empowered to ensure the well-being of the children in the Ketumbeine area and that the health status of the children, their families and community members improves. Through the financial aid of World Vision Canada’s child sponsorship program, workers in the region can work with the communities to provide initial resources, training, and support.
The morning after we arrived in Arusha, Tanzania, we drove along a single-lane, rocky dirt road for about 2 hours. It was bouncy and dusty with not much to see except a wide expanse of brush. Occasionally we’d pass Maasai men herding sheep, goats and donkeys, or excited children waving at our passing vehicle. I wondered where they were going or coming from as there seemed to be nothing around for miles.
When we arrived at the Ketumbeine Village, there was suddenly a flurry of activity happening all around us. A market was being set up for the day, people were milling about, and children were running around and playing with one another. Houses built out of wood, stones, and mud were sprinkled throughout the dry, arid village. The Maasai villagers, clad in their iconic bright-red checkered Shúkàs, watched as we made our way through the crowd.
We were greeted by a group of women and about 8 young girls all beautifully and ornately dressed for our arrival. The young girls all wore thick, round beaded necklaces and some even had a spider-web of beading covering their faces. They were bouncing to the beat of a song that was playing from a tiny nearby stereo.
After the welcome performance, one of the women from the group spoke to us and explained the various ways World Vision has aided in the improvement of their lives. Through a translator we learned that these women were taught how to produce and sell their own jewellery at the market. They said it has given them a sense of purpose and has provided them with economical sustainability (and not having to rely on the men in the community to provide for them). Chickens were also introduced into the community and the nutritional benefits of eating eggs was explained. Their health greatly improved and provided a more balanced diet.
The most remarkable thing the women told us was that through interacting with other families and community members, they have been passing along the skills and knowledge they’ve been learning. It goes back to that old adage; ‘give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life’. I was struck by how simple the implementations were yet the impact was huge.
We then walked over to another area of the village and we again were greeted by singing women, ornately dressed yet again. About a dozen women stood in a semi-circle and sang in unison. Two women moved into the centre and began jumping while raising and lowering the arms. Before we knew it, we were all being invited to join in. They were so welcoming, showing us the rhythms and steps, encouraging us the entire time. When it was finished, they cheered and clapped for us.
I then ‘chatted’ with one of the women, and by chatted I mean we played charades. We laughed, she wanted a picture taken with me, and then suddenly I was surrounded by all the women wanting to be photographed. I showed them their photos and they laughed some more and looked in amazement. It was an incredible moment, one in which our smiles and laughter did all the communicating.
The women had prepared a meal for us, consisting of rice, goat meat with potatoes, and spinach-like vegetables. It was hearty and delicious.
Before we said our goodbyes I took a moment to take in the scene at the village. I watched a young woman sewing a skirt, children chasing each other, and mean going about their business carrying various things. Everybody seemed to have something to do.
I was very touched by the warmth and generosity the people at the Ketumbeine Village showed us. And I was equally inspired by the work World Vision Canada has done within the community, teaching the members of the community a sustainable way of living that enhances their quality of life.
If you’d like more information about World Vision Canada’s area development programs or if you’d like to donate please visit: www.worldvision.ca
Interested in more posts about my visit to Tanzania? Check these out:
- Video: An African Safari in Tarangire National Park
- Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – Lemosho Route
- 10 Tips for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro