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Published: January 18th 2013
: I had dreaded disappointing the Africans with the truth about the pasteurizer- that it would not work. I hated disappointing those who had helped, those who worked on site at the schools, those involved on the fringe, those who simply hoped for clean water. But the truth is always the best way. Our team was supported by George and Vincent and by the administrators at Bweranyange. What could have been a situation made even uglier by resentment from those wronged (and who would blame them?) became a portal of mercy by those who reached out in forgiveness and affirmation. It was a loving and affirming time. Leveling With George and Vincent.
Ann led the team in telling George and Vincent that the pasteurizer did not work. They took the news well but were very serious. The team felt bad and seemed nervous. They focused on how to 'fix it' and spent some time discussing how they could do that back in the lab in the U.S. I took notes for an analysis of the problem, and provision of a data-based report from the engineers to the ELCT leadership. (I am not sure that ever happened.)
While they discussed, Vincent and I went to the dress shop to pick up Kaye's and my dresses. I am quite certain we broke some cultural norms doing that activity. The shop owner was glad to see me and so glad I appreciated my skirt and blouse. I love the brown, aqua and lime skirt. Very cool. Returned to the hotel and it seemed the engineers had a plan. We hopped into the LandRover and headed to Bweranyange. Leveling With Headmistress Sophia.
President Kikwete stayed in Kayanga last evening so roads were blocked. George, however knew Plan B and got us to Bweranyange in time for tea. Sophia joined us and then came to the pasteurizer with the team. George invited the engineers to explain to Sophia what happened with the pasteurizer. Ann, the student leader told Sophia that the pasteurizer would not work and why. The other engineers chimed in and offered that they had tried everything but it wouldn't work until they got back to the lab in the U.S. Sophia was ultra merciful, kind and cool. She said, "Do not feel bad. We appreciate your help and we have seen your hearts.
"Don't be disappointed"
Do not be disappointed." Understanding and grace.
George then invited the girls of Bweranyange out to the pasteurizer for the lesson that I had helped Ann create. The girls came out in a semi-circle, I introduced the lesson, and Ann delivered it. She talked fast but Sophia said that some of the girls understood some of it. We cleaned up, then stopped at Sophia's office to give her some vials for teaching and a cash gift for the school. Sophia was very happy And invited the whole team into her office. She gave each of the guys a shirt and each of the women fabric. Mine was the teal and brown pattern that Sophia had in a skirt and blouse. I had ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over it, and now here it is - a gift from her. (Note: This fabric became the signature fabric for our website and other signature pieces for the organization we formed to assist Tanzania.) We thanked Sophia, and said good-bye. Then we headed back to Kayanga but stopped at her home to visit. Again we said good-bye to our dear friend.
Eluid joined us in the van. He teaches
at Bweranyange but lives in Kayanga. He said he wishes there were a way to see his family more often. One of the things we noted as Jason and I conducted the Bweranyange Needs Assessment with Headmistress Sophia, was that staff want motorcycles so they can live with their families and not have to stay so far away in Bweranyange. Reasonable request.
Dinner. Rebecca was her same steady self. good to see her after our day. Sat in front of the Donado playing cards with the team when the bishop stopped by. He stopped to tell us that he met with President Kikwete, told him about the project, and that President Kikwete sent his greetings to our team
. Personally, I was honored.
What a day.
********************** Take me to the Educate Tanzania website.
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