Eight days to go!

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Since my trip is so close, I thought I’d write a little update. I’m feeling pretty much the entire spectrum of possible emotions about leaving home for two months, although excited is the most prominent one :). I didn’t raise as much money as I’d hoped, but that’s entirely my fault and I’ll make it through regardless. I could have planned more fundraisers, could have tried to reach out to more people, but the decision to do a final community theatre production probably hurt my opportunities since it took up a lot of my time, and it being summer various other things were constantly taking place. That said, I’ll be just fine. Hopefully I can get a more stable financial situation when I get back (that’s the plan, anyway!) and everything will get taken are of.

I still have a bit of shopping to do. This is straight out of the manual the volunteers are told to download from the Volunteer Africa site.

Kit list

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shirts with long sleeves

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candle and matches1

Long trousers/pants or skirts/dresses

headtorch with halogen bulb, extra bulbs and spare batteries

Sunglasses, warm hat and sunhat

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spare shoe/boot laces

underwear

1 set of smart clothes for special occasions e.g polo shirt, skirt

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2 warm sweatshirt/pullover/fleeces

t-shirts with sleeves (NO vests or skimpy tops)

air ticket

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personal cash and travellers‟ cheques (in US$)

waterproof jacket (light weight)

travellers‟ cheques receipts

sandals/flip flops1

passport and passport holder/pouch/money belt

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socks

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spare passport photos and a couple of photos of family/home

trainers/comfortable shoes

paperwork; vaccination certificates, insurance policy

2 pairs of strong work gloves

Sleeping bag; 3 season for the cold nights with hand-washable cotton liner (goes inside sleeping bag keeping bag cleaner)

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small towel

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small „day‟ bag (for essential hand-luggage like medication)

swim wear

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rucksack (preferable) or large bag – max 75 litres capacity

Writing pens/paper/envelopes etc. 1

Sleeping bag & cotton liner (goes inside sleeping bag keeping bag cleaner)

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personal first aid kit (see page 25)

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address book/diary/plenty of books/MP3 player etc

2 disposable dust masks for use if needed (from a DIY or hardware shops) on site

steel toe-capped boots for site (optional but recommended for safety)

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mobile phone (preferably old one)

personal wash kit (inc. flannel/sponge and nail brush) sanitary towels/tampons

water bottles (two x 1 litre)1 buy in Dar

tin opener/bottle opener1

spare glasses/optical prescription

stock cubes, herbs, marmite, instant mashed potato,

needles and thread

toilet roll x 1 1

camera, film, batteries plus bag

small alarm clock or use alarm on mobile phone

Plastic plate, bowl, mug, knife, fork and spoon (named) 1 plenty spare in Singida

string & clothes pegs1 plenty spare in Singida

sunblock and after-sun cream

Swahili English dictionary

Power sockets are the British 3-pin square-pronged variety, so volunteers from other countries will need to bring adapters.

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1 readily available in Tanzania

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I was also thinking I could probably use a sports watch. Nothing fancy, but maybe something waterproof so I can keep time while I’m there since I won’t be able to use my phone. And it would be nice to have a decent camping backpack, something that’s got a lot of pockets and can hold a decent amount of stuff without falling apart. Hopefully I can find a lot of this stuff at a decent price! I’m not worried about clothing, that’s something I’ll easily take care of. And there are plenty of sporting goods stores around that I’m sure have the equipment I need. Just got to get to it.

So that’s where I stand! Just 8 more days stateside until my journey begins! If anyone has any good advice on where I can get affordable stuff, or if anyone happens to have some things on the list they’d like to donate, I would be ever so grateful. Huge thank you to everyone who has supported me through this, not just with donations but also with comments and other general kind words. I’m so lucky I have such loving people in my life, and I can’t wait to share my experience with everyone when I return!

A bit of an introduction

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Hi! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kirsten. I’m a 24-year-old living in Northern Virginia and I’m currently signed up for a 7 week volunteer program through Volunteer Africa (working with the Health Action Promotion Association) in Tanzania. The program goes from July 23 – September 8 and I’m unbelievably excited. There are two main projects going on this year in the village of Kinapundu, one being the building of staff houses for a newly built health dispensary, and the other being a rain water harvesting tank.

A little information about Tanzania, via the Volunteer Africa website:

  • Around 38 million people live in Tanzania, including 1 million on the islands of Zanzibar. Population growth is about 3% a year. (Source = Tanzania National Projections, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) , 2006).
  • In 2001, 36% of people lived below the national poverty line. (Source = Household Budget Survey report, NBS , 2002)
  • The average national income (GNI) per person is US$340 (compared to US$34,000 in the UK). (Source = World Development Indicators, World Bank 2006 ).
  • Economic growth has been strong since 2000 with annual GDP increases of between 5% and 7% each year. (Source = Poverty and Human Development Report, Government of Tanzania, 2005 )
  • Tanzania had its last elections in December 2005 and they were declared ‘free and fair’.
  • Primary school enrolment is high with 96% of children enrolled. (Source = Basic Statistics in Education, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, 2006)
  • More than 1 in 10 children dies before their fifth birthday, although this rate has fallen by a quarter in the last five years. (Source = Demographic and Health Survey, NBS, 2005)
  • For every 1,000 births almost 6 women die in child birth. Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Africa. (Source = Demographic and Health Survey, NBS, 2005)
  • Just over 1 million adults aged 15 to 59 (7%) are infected with HIV. (Source = HIV/AIDS survey, NBS, 2005)
  • Only half the rural population has access to an improved water source. (Source = Poverty and Human Development Report, Government of Tanzania, 2005 )

I’ve created this blog to help people get to know me, as well as to help get the word out about my fundraising efforts. Traveling to Tanzania costs a lot of money, and as a volunteer I am 100% responsible for the financial burden. The program cost is $2,600 and the flights will easily come to over $2,000…so you can see it adds up quickly! If you have any questions, concerns, advice (oo especially if you have advice!) feel free to comment, I’d be more than happy to communicate with anyone who wishes to talk about my endeavors :).

I’ve created a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter, both operating under the same “Tanzania Kiki” name. I also have a FundRazr app on Facebook for donations. Please help me get the word out! I’m SO looking forward to this adventure, it’s going to be a life-changing experience and I can’t wait to get started, but I need everyone’s support!

Going to try this blogging thing…

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Hello all, it’s been forever since I’ve regularly written in any sort of online blog so bear with me :P. I figured this was the best way to set up a donations page, and also to update people on my progress. I’m going to need all the help I can get with this, so if you have any suggestions PLEASE feel free to shoot them my way. This is going to be a painstaking process but it is so worth the effort. Anyways, that’s all for now, more to come. Love you, mean it <3

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