Healthcare and Education in Dar

Saturday Feb. 4, 2023

This week we have continued to explore various components of life in Dar. Thursday afternoon we met with Dr. Shreya Shah from Regency Medical Center who gave a presentation linking healthcare challenges with environmental attributes. For example, Dr. Shah indicated that 70% of medical expenses in TZ are related to health challenges related to a lack of clean water.

On Friday we traveled south of city center to the suburb of Nyantira where we were hosted by Nyantira Mennonite Academy, a primary school serving > 300 pupils run by the Tanzania Mennonite Church. It is an English medium school which means that instruction is done in English instead of Swahili as is typical for government primary schools (all schools in TZ switch to English for secondary school). The SST students generously pooled their resources to help support the school by making a contribution to buy materials to paint one of the classrooms.

What a day! The teachers and students welcomed us with open arms (literally). We played games, sang songs, and the GC students competed against the teachers in a vigorous football match – which appropriately ended in a 1-1 tie! The joy and energy overflowing from teachers and students alike will be a memory that remains with the students for some time. After our school visit, Pastor John Wambura, hosted us at his NGO, Equip for Change. He is the founder and director (in addition to serving as school director and pastor at Upanga Mennonite). Equip for Change partners with Catholic, Mennonite, and Muslim leaders to work toward ending female genital mutilation (FGM) in the several communities that still practice this procedure. It was a sobering and difficult conversation.

As we bounced home on our daladala through dusty meandering roads, many of us looked out the windows in silence as we sought to simultaneously process both the joy and the pain we experienced all in one day.