Peg Graham Continues Her Visit In Africa.

1africa2We bump along the highway. Tanzania has a sky like Alberta…endless. Masai villages or Bomas are scattered along the way. The bomas are made up of circular huts built by the women and made of Cow dung flattened and nestled in a network of twigs as the walls and topped by a thatched roof. The women cook in these structures, no windows, no chimneys. Quite the health hazard. Several local groups along with ICA Tanzania have programs in place to implement chimneys into these structures. Its slow going, change is hard. The interiors of these huts are dark with dirt floors and semi walls built of the same dung and twigs as the outside. The bed is a cow hide stretched from wall to wall. The baby goats are kept in the huts with the people til they are big enough to be put in the pen with the othergoats and sheep. 1africa3

As we drove by you could see dots of red and blue the choice of colours for Masai wraps. The kids could be seen herding the cows, goats and sheep across the dusty plains going from patch of green to patch of green. These kids look say 7 to 10. With their switch in hand they wrangle dozens of animals from sunrise to sunset, no food no water. Unthinkable in our whoosy part of the world.

Takes a couple of hours to reach the outskirts of Mto Wa Mbu the decision is made to go directly to Majengo and see the kids.

Just to interject for a moment. Even after, now, over a month I see and think about those Majengo Kids every day. That rascal Filipo, Tatu, Debra, Wilbert, Jimmi, Sylvia good grief I could go on and on there are 84 of them…1africa

We arrive. Kids, Mamas, Cooks, Cleaners, Matt, Hilo all swarm over to hug Lynn & Charles. The kids are from 3 to fourteen , the Mamas, cooks, cleaners & Hilo are local people who have been with these kids since the beginning, 9 years ago, Majengo helps the community by hiring these people and educating their children up to and including primary school.

Miriam about 6 comes over and wraps my arm around her…I ask her name..I get it wrong (deaf as a doornail) I think she says Marion…have to laugh don’t you? Then I’m introduced to beautiful Eva another one of our graduates. She gives me the biggest hug and thanks me for sending her to school….Feels funny because right then the gift is clearly mine. Eva went to teachers college after Secondary school and helps the resident teacher, Grayson, teach the preschoolers. We helped her do that. Eva is getting married in September. Again her choice she wants to have children…fair enough. I’m sorry I won’t be there. 1africa4

Lots of catch went on with Lynn & everyone with a smattering of English and a whole lot of Swahili..Karibu (welcome) Jambo (hello) Habari (how are you) answer assante sana (good).

We stay till the generator is turned on, Majengo does not have hydro. The generator was purchased because it’s hard to put kids to bed in the dark let alone 84 of them. There is a scheme in the works to raise enough money, or interest from a solar company, to install Solar panels, Thanks to Lisa Oelke, she works for a solar company, how handy is that. Get us off the grid…of course there is no grid. 1africa5

We say goodbye…see you tomorrow, and off we go to Mto Wa Mbu. Saturday Nite!

 

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Discovering Africa As Peg Graham Meets Matilda And Others – Part 2

1africaThe meeting with Mr Speer took a little longer than expected so we dashed out to meet Matilda.

There she stood in a suit wearng heels and very gold jewelry. Her hair was swept to one side…She turned looked nervous, as did I I’m sure, and broke into a cautious smile.

The hotel served Indian food (funny isn’t it). It was delicious. I felt like Matilda hadn’t been dining at a place like this before (we take so much for granted in North America), she spoke haltingly in English but very recognizable. She was married to a masai man named Manuel about her age, 24, it was their choice, not an arranged marriage. Manuel is a chef with a Safari company and would be out of town until April. Matilda was living with his mother, following tradition, and couldn’t go anywhere without permission. Just Imagine, could have been worse she may have been denied permission to meet with us.

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When asked Matilda said that she had wanted to go to school, a difficult desire when living in a Masai Village with her parents as she is poised for marriage, most often to a man 2 or 3 times her age, with a value of at least 10 cows as her dowry. Girls are a big part of a mans wealth, they work endlessly and eventually sell for a price, then they again work endlessly and produce off spring to again add to a mans wealth. Difficult tradition. She did get to school thanks to us The Art Show…our Fund raiser over the past 7 years. Through The Art Show we managed to send 16 girls through 4 levels of Secondary School and now are funding 13 girls through secondary school, 1 girl through high school and Winifreda who is studying Education at university in Dar-a-salam.

Matilda had taught preschool for 2 years before getting married, she was excited to tell us that she would be starting to teach nursery school in May 2014. As she got excited her English got lost, Charles jumped in speaking in Swahili and translated for Lynn and I. She wanted to tell us that her life had changed after going to school, that she understood now that she has options and her own choices to make. She explained that she wanted to have a family of her own and still beable to pursue her own career. How exciting.

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We say goodbye to Matilda hop into the truck…plazire (the style name of the truck) and head out of Arusha onto The Highway on our way to Mto Wa Mbu, which will be my home town for 2 ½ weeks. What could possibly be in store?

STAY TUNED for part 3 of Peg’s adventures!!

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Part 1 Of Peg’s Arrival In Africa – Excitement Builds In Meeting The Masai Girls

599Its almost a month since my return from Africa….Seems a lifetime and yet if I get talking it’s like it was yesterday.

We arrived Kilimangaro Airport at 11:30 pm. Charles was there to greet us – wonderful Charles- We drove for an hour into Arusha. We stayed in The Charity (I think) anyway quite elaborate had a shower and after 2 days of travel it felt like heaven.

We got up and wandered across to the breakfast area the Acacia Room through the most beautiful Gardens.

Omelettes-no scrambled no boiled no fried- potatoes and lots of meat. Hmmm.

We were meant to meet Matilda for lunch at some hotel downtown at 1pm so we drove around town to check things out. There’s an obelisk type thing, with a clock, in a square…apparently that’s the centre of Africa north to south, no noticeable street signs, really have to know where you’re going in Arusha. Needed to get a sim card for the funny little phone I’d be using and load it up with Time. 10,000 tshillings = $6. I got 20,000 worth of time. 177

We went to the lunch hotel early and met with Mr. Speer. Fellow with a huge toothy smile…always smiling. Mr.Speer drilled wells. He showed us pictures on his laptop of the last drill that he had done in Kenya, just north of us. Majengo the orphanage needs a well, Mr Speer had found water on a close neighbours land at 60 meters depth. That cost $4,000 US. To dig manually with 5’ sections of 6” pipe the bottom section holding a bit. Five guys..their lodgings would be extra.

To get a company to come in with machinery it could cost 15K to 25K.

Could Majengo Canadas’ budget afford the drilling of the well, of course there’s always could Majengo Canada afford not to. We struck a deal with Mr Speer. He’d come by Majengo Monday morning and start the job.

Wow I’d only been in Africa for 11 hours and we were on the move.

How amazing is it going to be to meet Matilda, Wonderful Matilda, she is one of our graduates and the first one to write us a letter…..

STAY TUNED for MORE and what happens NEXT!!

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A Visit To The Secondary School For Masai Girls Through Arusha

Thank you SO MUCH for following these incredible women on their journey of a lifetime!! Peg’s settled into her new surroundings and is breathing in every single moment.

Here are a few photo highlights of the trip so far, graduate and current students. More to come so PLEASE check our page often!!

The art show toronto Peg Graham & Marion Burnett

The art show toronto Peg Graham & Marion Burnett

the art show toronto Peg Graham & Marion Burnett

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Peg Graham Leaves For Tanzania Very Soon!!

Peg leaves for Tanzania very soon! The excitement has been building and she’s ready to go!!

Here she is describing the motivation behind her trip to Africa and how it ties into The Art Show Toronto. Enjoy!!

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The Art Show Co-Organizer Peg Graham To Visit Tanzania.

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It’s been a while since we’ve actually posted anything and things have been moving and shaking!!  Peg’s plane ticket to Tanzania is booked and she’s ready to go Feb. 7th!!  We’re excited and can’t wait to talk about all the adventures ahead.

We’re planning on making this year’s Art Show Toronto the BIGGEST and BEST one ever!!

1fb2More to come, check back often for updates.

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The Art Show Toronto Hosts Another Successful Event.

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Peg Graham & Marion Burnett, fundraising organizers extraordinaire hosted another exceptional art show at St-Paul’s Trinity Church here in Toronto. The two masterminds showcased a group of extremely skilled local artists. Partial proceeds raised at the event are forwarded to the Masai girls in Tanzania.

When asked what the motivation is behind this incredible venture,“ well being painters ourselves and seeing an opportunity to get the works of local artists out there, we thought we would put together an art show of sorts ” explains Graham. “When a girl is educated, not only is she educated but so is her family and her entire community,” Graham adds.  1blog 1blog2

20+ artists took part in total and the creation and running of the show itself is performed by a generous and dedicated team of volunteers passionate about making a difference and changing the world one step at a time.

 

As for Graham and Burnett, they know about community building given their business partnership as real estate agents for 30+ years.

In February 2014, Peg Graham will be visiting the women of Masai in Tanzania.

Check back often because we’ll be posting her adventures for everyone to see AND feel part of!!

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