Guest bloggers, Sharon and Rick Slettehaugh, who are currently volunteering for WellShare in Tanzania, continue to share about our work and their experience in Tanzania.
During our time here on the western side of the Serengeti, we have had the opportunity to visit many villages. Some groups have been with WellShare the entire five years WellShare has been based in Nkololo. Others began later as villagers heard about their life-changing programs. Two more villages recently asked WellShare to come in because they had witnessed first hand the successes in other villages.
One of the early villages in the program is Nyakabindi. Here are just two of the stories they shared with us.
Minza had five children and was one of four wives when her husband died several years ago. She talked about the changes in approaches to health in the village since WellShare arrived.
For example, when Minza first received Mosquito bed nets she was not told what they were for, so she used them for fishing and controlling chickens. Through WellShare she now utilizes the bed nets for protecting her children and
herself from malaria mosquitoes. In the evening when her child is tired and she is still working, she puts her child to sleep under the net.
Her family isn’t just better protected from malaria, but healthier in many other ways. Prevention is far superior to treatments that sometimes come too late or are too expensive.
Minza and others have learned about the warning signs and dangers of pneumonia, and when to seek treatment. (It kills more children under five than malaria and diarrheal diseases combined.) They have learned through WellShare about proper hand washing and sanitation that is key to several preventable diseases, such as cholera. They have built latrines and no longer use the fields.
Pendo is also a widow, left with two children who struggled for years until WellShare came into her village. Though WellShare’s very successful Village Community Banking program (VICOBA), she was able to get a loan to start a sewing business. With loans and profits from her business and expansion of her farming activities, Pendo is now able to put her older son through university and the other in a quality secondary school. WellShare’s VICOBA program has helped transform her life and that of her children. And, when health needs arise she has the means to pay for treatments.
These villagers trust WellShare and continue in the programs because of health gains and the dramatic improvements in their financial wellbeing.
-Sharon & Rick
Read other posts from Rick and Sharon: