Shirati – Annalise, Annika, and Tyson

Tuesday – Wednesday March 14-15, 2023

After a short drive Tuesday morning from Nyayero to Shirati, we met the three students studying in Shirati, Annalise, Annika, and Tyson. The rains have begun which meant the drive was a bit slippery and our meetings with some of the supervisors were a bit delayed.

Tanzanian Education Aid (TEA) – Annalise

Our first stop was to visit Annalise’s work at the Tanzania Education Aid (TEA). This organization is committed to enhancing educational access for primary and secondary students in the region through: scholarships to attend school; construction of a local library that provides books for students, teachers, and community members; construction of a dormitory, cafeteria, and classroom spaces to enable TEA to open a girls school in the future.

Annalise’s work involves assisting the librarian (Madam Victoria) in cataloguing the books in the library, provision of some training in Microsoft and Excel, and brainstorming strategies about how to further leverage the TEA library as a resource for the community. We were also hosted by several TEA board members, Mr. Dedan Akama Abuya (board chair) and Mr. Jacob Mathube (secretary). We left impressed with the resolve and commitment of TEA to address educational challenges in the region – the challenges to increase educational resources is a long-term need in the region.

Shirati Hospital – Tyson

In the afternoon on Tuesday, after a lunch at the hospital canteen, we received a tour of the Shirati hospital by Tyson. He has been asked to help the Hospital Director, Mr. Agutu, to assess the newly implemented computer record-keeping system. This system was installed about a year ago and helps log patient records, doctor notes, and pharmacy data. Tyson helped create a survey to administer to the various departments aimed at improving the use and understanding of the database.

In addition, Tyson is working to help streamline data management in the pharmacy. This is in preparation for moving the existing pharmacy to a new building where there will be increased storage space. We learned about Tyson’s interest in using “lean” design practices to help create a new and efficient means of record keeping, medicine storage, and inventory analysis. It was evident from both Tyson and Mr. Agutu, that the fit between Tyson’s skills/interests and the hospitals needs has been a fruitful one!

SHED (Shirati Health, Education, and Development Foundation) – Annika

After a meal together in downtown Shirati, we enjoyed a good night of sleep in the cool evening air. First thing in the morning we met at Annilka’s house and drove to the SHED offices. The office is located on the shoreline of Lake Victoria, affording a spectacular view. Here we met the Director of SHED, Mr. Nyamusi Magatti. Nyamusi is a graduate of Goshen College and grew up in Shirati. The SHED organization runs a variety of development programs in healthcare, nutrition, water access, and education.

Annika’s work is to assess the effectiveness of a  supplemental nutrition program (via “uji” – a cornmeal, sugar porridge) for school children. She has been going to the field to visit with local leaders and stakeholders and during these visits hosts focal groups that provide feedback in oral and written form. Her project will be to develop a report highlighting the successes and challenges related to program implementation and outcomes.

The Shirati team is doing great things, are beloved by their host families, and are thriving in Shirati! It was energizing to see them in action!