Happy Spring!

Apr 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Newsletters, Updates
1. Buiilding 485

The building on the land we purchased is small but ideal for a dispensary. It is close to the village office, so it is easily accessible for the villagers. Also, the land itself can be used for other AVPA projects, such as a coffee plant nursery, communal chicken shed, workshop for training youth in various trades, etc.

Happy Spring! Hope all is going well and that you are enjoying fine April weather.

It’s been a while since I have done a posting, but I am happy to report things are progressing in Okaseni Village, albeit slowly. Our current – and only – project for over a year has been renovating a building in the village for use as a medical dispensary/clinic.

We started our dispensary project in 2010, when we set up a very small dispensary in the spare room of a private home near the village office. However, the owner of the home eventually wanted the villagers to pay her when they visited the dispensary. So Melki, the village chairperson, moved the “dispensary” to a tiny room in the village office. As you can imagine, this jerry-built solution did not work well.

2. Building 468

The cement-block walls have not been maintained and are now in need of major repairs and/or reconstruction. Any doors, window panes, and flooring are long gone, and vegetation from surrounding banana trees now covers the dirt floors. At one time, the building might have been used to house animals. It needs a huge amount of work to make it suitable for use as a dispensary.

You may remember that Salma, our assistant, suggested in 2012 that we purchase some land in Okaseni for dedicated AVPA projects. Our own land would ensure that if Melki was ever voted out of office, the agricultural, chicken and other projects we had started would remain in our hands. By a stroke of good fortune, we discovered a 1/4-acre plot of land for sale just steps away from the village office. Even more fortuitously, it had a building on it — an excellent structure for a dispensary. We were thrilled!

And so we began the purchase of the land. This took over a year. As foreigners, we (the AVPA) could not ourselves buy land in Tanzania. So we had to set up a sister organization called the Africa Village Project Trust (Tanzania), which was allowed to make the purchase. Setting up this trust was a very slow process by email, and then the sale itself took several months. Finally, in August 2013, the land was ours.

3. Building 476

The building has internal walls that create three separate rooms – ideal for a dispensary. The largest room can be used as a reception/waiting area, the mid-sized room as a consultation room, and the smallest room as a storage area.

The building on the land was structurally sound, although in some disrepair. The walls were made of cement block but have deteriorated and crumbled. The building may have been used to house animals, and there were no window panes, doors, electricity, or water – and no latrine. Melki submitted a detailed list of materials and costs to us, and the renovations began.

This project – buying the land and renovating the building – has been very expensive, especially for such a small grassroots organization like the AVPA. But we are slowly raising the funds we need, and then sending them to Melki as we are able.

We are very excited about this dispensary — it is a great boon for the village. It will provide accessible medical care and help improve the health of the villagers. The land itself can be also be used for other AVPA projects. As well, because the dispensary is so close to the village office, it will help create a stronger community centre and encourage the villagers to think of it as their own.

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