Author Archives: Kurt Thurmaier

Mixer of NIU and Saint Augustine Students (24 June)

Our stay in Mwanza was short yet very satisfying. Arriving after noon, we dropped bags at St. Dominic’s hostel on the lake before finding lunch. Then we headed to St. Augustine University in Mwanza where we met with a group of students from economics, sociology, and public relations/marketing. We had a lively and engaging discussion… Continue Reading

Thursday (23 June): Grand Opening of LCRC

It is hard to capture in words the emotion of stepping into the new Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center in Nyegina at the grand opening after the ribbon was cut and the doors opened. The shelves stocked with books, the children rushing to the children’s room to look at the books, the excitement… Continue Reading

Tuesday (21 June): Connecting Teachers to the Internet and Beyond

We had a terrific 2nd day of NIU students and TDS volunteers training area high school teachers on internet access and other computer skills. Most teachers from the Thursday session were back for further lessons today, and spent time learning EXCEL skills for tracking and computing grades, and Powerpoint for making presentations.        … Continue Reading

Monday (20 June): HIV and Vulnerable Children and Environmental Education

Monday was focused on vulnerable children and those with HIV. Community Alive has been serving these children for many years, and since children are on school vacation, we were able to mix with them (Bernadette Chatman is pictured).  We also visited Global Alliance-Musoma, on which Madaraka Nyerere serves as a board member, and is acting… Continue Reading

New Levels of Poverty: Lake Victoria Islands of Irigia and Rukuba

Yesterday we toured the Lake Victoria islands of Irigia and Rukuba. The welcome we received from the core communities on both islands was very warm. They don’t receive many visitors, especially Americans, and they were eager to show their progress. In fact, there are now some permanent structures on Irigia (a few shops and a… Continue Reading

Getting Ready with Swahili Lessons

The 2016 TDS Work-Study/NIU Study Abroad to Tanzania got started this year with 2 Saturdays filled with Swahili language and culture lessons with Dr. Selena Mushi, from Northeastern Illinois University. Focus has been on gathering vocabulary and grammar so that each volunteer and student can introduce themselves in Swahili at the grand opening ceremony of… Continue Reading

Kili Climb 2016 Reflections by Baba Anna/Dr. Kurt

[These remarks were given by Dr. Thurmaier as part of the ceremony presenting the Nyegina community with the funds raised by the 2016 Kilimanjaro Climb.] There are few privileges that are above watching the sun rise from the top of the world’s highest free-standing mountain and Africa’s highest peak. This group of volunteers experienced this… Continue Reading

February 2nd: Safari through Serengeti via Old Dupai Gorge

The sunrise at the Ngorongoro Crater’s rim was beautiful, ending a peaceful night of camping in a nice campground looking into the crater. The sounds of lions “talking” in the night were far enough away, and the warm “pies” left as calling cards between tents in the campground confirmed that several animals had been through… Continue Reading

Ngorongoro Crater Safari is first reward after successful Kili Climb!

The 1st of February brought us into the Ngorongoro Crater (a World Heritage Site) for a wonderful tour of this ecosystem. The high point of  seeing 4 rhinoceros had stiff competition with lions, elephants, zebra and many other animal sightings. We camped on the crater’s rim at a nice campground, and the Trek2Kili chefs outdid… Continue Reading

Kili Volunteers Learn about Mwangaza Center Programs

TDS Kili Climb volunteers (R-L) Mark Biernacki, Natalie Hoffman, and Tricia DeBoo, listen as one of the Mwangaza Center managers, Salome, explains programming to improve teacher education. John Kavishe, also a center manager, listens (left). The Mwangaza Center in Arusha is pioneering continuing education for Tanzanian teachers. TDS and UMABU are working with Mwangaza to… Continue Reading

Days in Dar End with Delightful Dinner

The NIU students and TDS board member Cynthia Nelson spent Sunday visiting Bagamoyo, the port for the East African Slave Trade, and today (Monday) we visited Haki Elimu (Tanzania’s premier education policy NGO) and the national library. We concluded our days in Dar with a delightful dinner hosted by Judge Steven Bwana and his family.… Continue Reading

The Stratifications and Competition in Microfinance

Wednesday, June 10, focused on the stratifications and competition in microfinance for small business development in the Musoma area. We visited three microfinance lenders in the morning: FINCA (a pioneering international nonprofit), Tujijenge (recent for-profit microfinance lender partnered with KIVA.org), and Musoma SACCOS (a Tanzanian credit union with offices nationwide). We were able to compare… Continue Reading

Project Day for NIU Students

Tuesday, June 9, the NIU students scattered to work on different service projects. Three students are working with Jipe Moyo to help them evaluate their programming for street children who now have shelters, 4 students are working with the Musoma Chamber of Commerce to improve its efficacy and promote economic development, 3 are working with… Continue Reading

UMABU and Nyegina Secondary School Boards meet with NIU Students and TDS Volunteers

  Monday, June 8,  NIU students and TDS Board members and volunteers engaged in conversations with the UMABU Board and Nyegina Secondary School Board, discussing issues of sustainability and mission drift. The students enjoyed having the opportunity to gain perspective and insight into development and the education system in Musoma. The day ended with the… Continue Reading

NIU Study Abroad Arrives at Musoma via Old Dupai and Serengeti…13 hours.

The 11 Tanzania Study Abroad students from Northern Illinois University landed in Arusha on Friday, May 29. They spent Saturday in Arusha at East Africa Ceramics (which is assisting TDS with a similar initiative for a women-owned business in Mugango), and at the Mwangaza Center for Teaching in Stop at Old Dupai Gorge for lunch… Continue Reading

Not an Africa story….

OK, we left Nairobi on Sunday night, headed to home. Little did we know that we were diverted to Bunjubura, Burundi to deliver a critical part for a Brussels airliner that hit an antelope either landing or taking off. So we left 2 hours late from NBO becase the incoming flight was delayed getting the… Continue Reading

Musoma Departing

It is 5:30 in the morning in Musoma, just before dawn. The Epheta center is bustling with all of us getting our last showers, last packing as we prepare for departing about 6:45. We had a wonderful Friday, with a debriefing and listening session with Bishop Michael, followed by a lunch together (and a cake).… Continue Reading

Last Work Day

Our last work day on the dorm project was Thursday, 25 June, as we have debriefing meeting and lunch with the bishop on Friday. The walls are rising from all of the concrete we poured on the floor. The outlines of the dividing walls for the rooms inside the dorm are visible in the pic… Continue Reading

Wednesday Work

We were a divided group on Wednesday. About half of us were in meetings in Musoma, while the other half worked at the dorm building site, moving more bricks to the floor so the masons can lay the walls. Tristan and Megan were pursuing interviews of microfinance loan recipients from FINCA, as well as the… Continue Reading

The Wailing Wall

We learned that Saturdays are half days for work, but not before standing around awhile waiting for the fundi to return to work with us in the afternoon! The picture shows many in the group “wailing” on a wall inside the PC Lab, breaking off the smooth surface so plaster will adhere. It was an… Continue Reading

Another long day pouring floor

We had another long day pouring floors for the PC lab. It wasn’t nearly as fun the second day. We had less help today; the Etaro congregation was to join us but could not because there was a funeral in Etaro, which they all had to attend. Attached is a video of the concrete bucket… Continue Reading

Laying the floor

This clip shows men laying the rocks for the floor. Next step is pouring the concrete around the rocks to make the floor, with a rebar reinforced concrete ring around the foundation. All work is by hand, which makes it really amazing to watch. Continue Reading

We’re in Musoma!

We finally made it to Musoma! The group got a tour of the Nyegina Secondary School this afternoon, and its first look at the new dormitory building site–it is huge! This dorm will serve 160 girls, plus have space for matrons and the shower/toilet attached building. We will be working on one section of the… Continue Reading

June 4 from Dar es Salaam

We’ve had trouble accessing internet services in Arusha. But we have some access in Dar, so hopefully students will be adding to the blog soon. Conducting a 2 hour seminar (with break) on a moving bus down Tanzanian highways was a blast. Lively discussions which continued long after I concluded the seminar. Despite several bumps,… Continue Reading

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog for Tanzania Development Support. Our first blog project is reporting from the study abroad to Musoma/Nyegina, Tanzania, where we will study the role of NGOs in Development and help the Nyegina community build a new dormitory for girls at the Nyegina Secondary School. Continue Reading