Friday, September 19, 2008
A few important milestones have been reached since my last post on the Mwalimu Nyerere Charity Climb 2008. First, I successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro between 19 – 26 August 2008 and reached Uhuru Peak just after 3:00 on a sunny afternoon. I will post details of the climb in the next few days.
More important, however, is the amount that has been raised so from the climb:
Pound Sterling £
Tanzanian Shilling TZS
US Dollars $
Total Raised So Far:
Sponsors' List: Village Education Project Kilimanjaro (VEPK) :
Vicki Boman £20
Vince Robbins £25
Kathleen Bolger £25
Brent and Darlene Bolger £100
Nancy Fairbarn £50
Torin Macpherson £50
Karen Versluys £20
Joan Sarazin £50
Global Resource Alliance £100
Sponsors' List (Tanzanian Shillings): Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School (CEWGSS) :
Milton J. Nyerere TZS 100,000
Mama Maria Nyerere TZS 200,000
Exactline Engineering (Group) Ltd / Eng. E.K.E. Lima TZS 2,000,000
Sponsors' List (US Dollars): Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls' Secondary School (CEWGSS) :
Resurrection High School graduates and their families $12,155
A big 'Thank You':
During the toughest moments of the climb, I pushed myself to my limits to reach the peak because I felt that those who had donated and those who will donate after the climb had to get the maximum value for their donations. For all those who inspired me to the top, I say thank you.
I must also thank Mrs. Zainab Ansell who, through her company, Zara Tanzania Adventures, offered a fully-paid package worth $US1,500 (mountain guide, porters, tents, food, etc) during my eight-day climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I would also like to thank Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) who, on my request, gave me a complimentary ticket, Mwanza – Kilimanjaro - Mwanza worth TZS 441,500/-.
I also thank my friend, Jordan Rugimbana, who donated TZS 200,000/- to cover part of my climbing expenses and who shares my idea that the Mwalimu Nyerere Charity Climb should be an annual event.
A message from the Headmistress of Chief Edward Wanzagi Girls’ Secondary:
I should have posted this appeal from Sr. Stephanie Blaszczynski before the climb but I was overwhelmed by tasks before and after the climb. The message is still relevant because donations are still accepted.
I am grateful to Mr. Godfrey Madaraka Nyerere for his initiative in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as a fundraising event for building dormitories for Chief Wanzagi Secondary School in Buturu. We currently have 110 wonderful girls at Chief Edward Wanzagi Secondary School. We could easily have had over 300 girls in Form 1 of the almost 600 who applied to our school if only we had dormitories for them. Our students study very hard and have been most gracious about 28 sleeping on double decker beds in one of the four classrooms used as dormitories. They are in good spirits as they line up for food at the temporary outdoor kitchen in which their food is cooked on huge rocks and sitting outside on the ground while eating all their meals.
The people of Tanzania are so good, the countryside is awe-inspiring and we teachers are privileged to work with the girls. The most difficult part of my job as Headmistress of the school is refusing admission to so many, many girls whose parents or guardians come begging us to take “just one more girl”. During our break between terms, there were over 50 students desperately asking for admission for the second term of school. It is so hard to hear the parents’ agonizing stories of why they want their daughter needs to be in our school. Just this morning, I had this fine young man who is ready to go to the University, but is desperately trying to find a place for his younger sister now that their mother has just died and there is no one to care for his sister. Without dormitories, there is just no way that we can begin to even think of responding to these very real needs.
Already people are coming asking for applications for Form 1 for the next school year. The only way that we can begin to respond to the very real needs of people who come to us and the only way we can accept the next class of students is to have dormitories ready by the beginning of the next school year in January, 2009. I beg you to consider supporting Mr. Godfrey Madaraka Nyerere’s The Mwalimu Nyerere Charity Climb 2008 for the benefit of dormitories at Chief Wanzagi Secondary School. You are certainly in the daily prayers of the Sisters of the Resurrection who staff the school.
--Sr. Stephanie Blaszczynski, C.R.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In June 2007 I was invited to London for the re-launch of the Arusha Declaration and stayed with my hosts, Selma James and Nina Lopez, both of whom are vegetarians. Coming from an ethnic group where “food” is synonymous with “meat” and vegetables are fed mostly to livestock, my ten day stay in London on a vegetarian diet was one of the most testing periods I had endured. Tougher than climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I survived and returned to Tanzania where people commented that I looked much younger than I deserved. I put one and two together and decided it was the overdose of vegetables I unwillingly consumed in London that was the cause of my apparent youthful appearance.
Having become increasingly convinced that ten days of a vegetarian diet seemed to slow down my ageing, I decided to drop the beef from my diet and embarked on a quest to become a complete vegetarian.
Over a year later, I was privileged during a recent meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, to meet a famous vegetarian, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia. Pictured in top photo (left) and the bottom photo (on the right), he told me he became a vegetarian in 1952 in protest against the British colonial government’s racist policy directing meat vendors in Zambia to sell meat through separate windows for Africans and Europeans. He is a teetotaller and drinks neither tea nor coffee, but drinks a considerable amount of fruit juices daily.
The greatest dilemma I am facing, even more difficult than the decision to drop the meat from my diet, is which of the following two I should give up next: fish or chicken.