Sunday, February 26, 2012

“We Care” Shipments to Tanzania

“We Care” Shipments to Tanzania - August 2011 to January 2012

It all began in August when I made a phone call to Richard Mufuko a Tanzanian engineer who works for Andale Ready Mix (my brother, Jim’s family owned company) in Wichita.  I met Richard about a year ago and knew he traveled back to visit his family in Tanzania about once a year.  I phoned Richard to see if I could send along with him an extra piece of luggage on his next trip to Tanzania.  I promised I would send to the porters who assisted me on the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb clothes for their mountain climbing work if at possible.  Richard said he wouldn’t be traveling home in 2011 but maybe I could send the materials with a container shipment leaving Wichita destined for Dar es Salaam, a large port city in Tanzania.  Well the angels must have been listening on this telephone conversation, in a matter of days Richard called and told me; I could send large boxes/suitcases with this shipment.  The cost would be about $50 a box/suitcase compared to the $49.95 cost of a box about a boot shoe size with the US Postal Service.

When I received this good news I immediately not only thought of the porters (Arusha, Tanzania) who lack adequate clothing but of the mission schools run by the Adorers of the Blood Christ sisters in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam, Dodoma and Manyoni) and the St. Joseph Girls Hostel run by the St. Joseph Sisters in Songea, Tanzania,

I sent out an email and made phone calls seeking educational materials, books, dvd/vhs, puzzles, pens/pencils, games etc, for children ages from nursery school through secondary (high school). And clothing for the porters and mission schools.

I bought (3) 42 “ Flat screen TV’s for the 3 schools so they could use them with DVD/VHS educational tapes, dvd/vhs combo players, surge protectors and heavy duty extension cords. I also sent my laptop computer with a new projector that could be used in the Amani Secondary School for Girls in Manyoni for the teacher’s instruction in the classroom and in the dining room/assembly hall.    In this 260 girls school the teachers have no lap tops, power point, projector or TV for educational purposes.  Now the teachers have educational DVD/VHS tapes in math, science and other subjects donated by Newman University (Wichita,KS).   Newman also donated many items from their lab they were no longer using but could be used by the Amani Girls School.  When I visited the Amani Girls School last February, the science teacher sent with me his want list of lab supplies/equipment.  Sr. Jo Ann Mark at Newman took the list and was able to secure many items that we wrapped carefully in bubble wrap and packed into a big metal trunk.

As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words.  In the slide show you can see the many kind and generous friends who came to help pack the boxes/suit cases full of educational items and clothing.  In all we sent 14 large/boxes/suitcases to the Adorers for the Blood Christ;  one of those designated for the St. Joseph Girls Hostel and 5 large/boxes/suitcases for Emanuel Moshi head guide for the porters in Arusha, Tanzania.

There are so many good people to thank.  My cousin, Leroy Kimminau who drove from Kansas City with a trunk full of books, educational games, computer software,  my sisters, Kathryn and June for boxes of picture books for the nursery/kindergarten children, my sister, Joan for her generous donation of money to pay for the TV’s, projector, DVD/VHS players, electric cords, power surgers etc.   Steve Jensby who brought a closet full of clothing for the porters.

Thanks to Joan/ Dan Bruski, Dennis/ Tami Gates, Doris/Gary Unruh, Tricia Fox, Ingrid Drake, Sophie Lyday for additional books, tapes and clothing.

I called on girlfriends to help me pack all the donated materials.  The ladies came with a big smile, helping hands and hearts.  Nancy Toben, Joann Ryan and Virginia Stump took charge of the project to build heavy duty card board boxes to go around the 42” TV’s that had been packaged in a thin cardboard box.   With measuring tape, cutters and lots of tape the boxes got built.  Packers included; Sr. JoAnn Mark, Sue Dresher, Sophie Lyday, Mary Tomlinson, Phyllis Davis, Doris Unruh, Lorrie LeBauve and Maggie Osterman.  During this process I experienced again the kindness and generosity of my friends and family and the profound lesson of the attitude of gratitude.  Without all the kind and generous people this project of “care shipments” would never have gotten off the ground, it would have been good intentions only.  I’m grateful to each of them.

A special thanks to Richard Mufato, Dawdi and another friend for transporting the boxes from my garage to the shipper’s warehouse in Wichita.

A big thank you to Gary Wilkerson, Larry Friend, Dennis/Jeannette Vierthaler, Janet Mary Miller, Donald Weisner, Leroy Kimminau, Mary Korsak and David Macindoe for their generous donations which was used to pay for shipping of the boxes/suitcases to the mission schools.  Because the boxes/suitcases were over sized the cost of the shipment of each box came to $70 per box for 14 boxes.  However, it would have cost about 5 times as much or more through the US Post office. I am grateful that we were able to ship these materials by container.   I didn’t have a weight restriction so we packed very tightly and used space bags for the clothing.

Now the great news!!  All the boxes arrived in Dar es Salaam in January by ship freighter.  The shipment eventually went from Wichita to Kansas City then on rail to NY then on a freighter to Dar es Salaam.  Sikmund Sikanda who went to Friends University in Wichita and worked in Wichita returned to his country, Tanzania the same time the container left Wichita.   Sikmund was the over seer of the container shipment.  He made contact with the Adorers Sisters in Dar es Salaam when the ship arrived and they picked up the 14 boxes/suitcases.  Sikmund personally delivered the 4 boxes to Arusha (about an 8 hour drive from Dar es Salaam) to Emanuel Moshi for the porters.

Sr. Theresa Wetta who is from Wichita is presently in Tanzania and reported that the boxes were received by the Adorers and she will keep me posted as they are unpacked and the contents used in the mission schools.  I received an email from Emanuel my climb guide.  He expressed a big thank you for himself and the porters.  He said they were so happy and grateful for the clothes and they were wearing some of the clothes to do the next mountain climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro.   I know from being with the porters for seven days last year that they appreciate gifts of clothing.  One never knows how your kindness has touched someone else’s lives, it might seem small but when it is 20 degrees on the mountain and the porters now have warm clothes to keep warm, it makes a huge impression.

Poupouri of other happenings: 

Alexandria Country Day School

I journeyed in November to Alexandria, LA to present a placque to the Alexandria Country Day School in appreciation of their fundraising endeavors for the 5 Charities in Africa for my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.  I did a short presentation to the students and teachers.  They were excited to see some of the footage of my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb and visits to the missions. I was delighted to meet the students and teachers. 

Sr. Sue and myself standing in front of the house we helped renovate. 

 The crew of volunteers I worked with.

I had the opportunity to spend a week in New Orleans (Nov. 13th –Nov. 18th) helping rebuild homes in the areas hard hit by Katrina.  I worked with nuns and lay people from all over the US (about 100 of us) doing hands on “rebuilding”, from laying tile, painting, spackling, filling nail holes, scrubbing, etc...  It is similar to working with Habitat for Humanity.  Nun's Build Week works through a non-profit called St. Bernard Project. (  I’ve committed to “swinging a hammer” again for the 2012 Nun's Build Week from November 12th –November 16th.  The Nuns graciously arrange for local accommodations and many of your meals are provided.  I stayed with the Dominican Sisters. Your only requirement is to pay for your transportation to New Orleans, be healthy, able and willing to take instructions.  Please let me know if you are interested in joining me.  I’d be glad to answer any questions you have and share my experience with you.  I found the Nun’s Build Week to be like a “working retreat”; fun and inspiring.

My next adventure: Trek the 26 mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
80 - Machu Picchu - Juin 2009 - edit.2.jpg

Many of you asked, “What is your next adventure?”  My next adventure will begin on May 20th to Peru to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu  I’ll be trekking with another adventurer, David Macindoe.  David lives in Dallas and is friends with several of my church friends in Wichita.  After Machu Picchu, I’ll head to Lima for a week then to Quito, Ecuador, (plan to volunteer for a week at the BVM’s, mission in Quito and then cruise the Galapagos Islands.  I’ll return June 23rd.  I’m seeking a cabin mate for the cruise in the Galapagos Islands.  If any of you are interested or know of a female who might be, please email or call me.  It will be a 5-8 day cruise, dates between June 8th and June 22nd.