Pommern Water Project

Our Friendship With Pommern

In March 2008, we (Eric Noyes and Mimi Gendreau) traveled to Tanzania for a community service mission with Global Volunteers.  We fell in love with the people and the area.  Most of our activities revolved around the secondary school.  We helped team-teach English and Geography classes with the local teachers and taught computer skills.  It was clear that students really want and appreciate their education despite having to live in very meager circumstances.  We also found that the students are very polite and amiable.  We enjoyed interacting with them and hearing about their dreams.Each of us taught Kindergarten with the assistance of local teachers.  We enjoyed the energetic and enthusiastic group of three- to five-year olds.  The children are so happy and carefree; it was fun to play with them as well as teach them a little basic English.  It was a great feeling to approach the Kindergarten in the morning and to have 10-15 little children running towards us smiling, laughing and greeting us with great enthusiasm.

We also participated in work projects-installing window glass in the new school library and painting the Kindergarten.  Our work projects always included local community members so it was a good opportunity to get acquainted with each other.

One day we accompanied the Pommern village doctor to a nearby village to help at the monthly baby clinic.  For us it was a very gratifying experience, surrounded by mothers with their infants and toddlers, assisting the local staff in weighing and recording the babies’ weights, administering polio vaccines and helping prepare other basic vaccines.  Many of the babies had not put on any weight over the past few months, or had lost some weight.  Generally, food supply is not a problem in the community.  However, malnutrition becomes a problem for subsistence farming families in between harvesting their crops.  Other health problems found in the community are malaria and parasites from unclean water.

During our free time after classes and weekends, we walked throughout the village meeting villagers.  We found the villagers so warm and welcoming to us.  We all enjoyed meeting and introducing each other as best we could between their little English and our Kiswahili phrase book.  We enjoyed the chance to play with the children in the village who often came to the house to visit.  The young children really have the run of the village and are very carefree and happy.  They enjoy simple fun games like playing with a wheel and stick (a universal timeless game) and throwing ball.

We feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with the Pommern community and get to know them personally.  There is no substitution for personal interaction with people from other countries for better understanding of each other and building friendship.  Our experiences confirmed our belief that all people are the same everywhere with similar hopes and desires for their families and community.

Since we felt such a connection with the Pommern community, we decided that we wanted to continue our partnership by supporting an important project that would make a long term difference for the students and families.  After communicating with the Pommern Secondary School leaders, the local Lutheran Diocese leadership and Global Volunteers, we learned about the need for a new water system for the school and community.  We felt that we could do much in partnership with the community by raising funds for this water system.  Thus, we committed to support the Pommern Water Project and to lead the fundraising for this important project.