Category Archives: Tanzania

Hearing is Believing at Kabanga with the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Asante Mariamu’s mission is to serve children with albinism in Tanzania.  But sometimes, in order to do the right thing, you need to swerve from your path a bit.  When one of my best friends heard that there were over 45 deaf or hearing impaired students at the Kabanga School, she knew that she’d found a way to help.  Beth Connors is an audiologist, and she is traveling with me to Kabanga this summer.  But, like me, she was unsure of how her skills would translate on the ground.  She decided to see if there was a way to use her expertise at the school, and started making inquiries about getting hearing aids for the children.

Beth contacted the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and learned that they were organizing a mission trip to Tanzania in March.  It took a lot of emails, texts and coordination; but Beth managed to facilitate a mission trip where the students traveled 8 hours by bus to the clinic under the supervision of former-teacher-turned-audiology-student Issa Kambi (pictured above adjusting hearing aids).  Not only has Beth changed the lives of these students in a profound manner, but she has become a guardian angel/mentor to Issa.  This is all before even stepping foot in Tanzania.  For that, Beth, you are my hero!

Fingers in the dust

There are a bunch of little kids at the Kabanga School who run around just like all 3-5 year olds — getting in trouble, being sassy — and exploring and creating their world.  These kids have a wall around their world to keep them safe, with a big black gate.  On the gate is the phrase “Huruhu siw kungia ndani bila kibali” which translates roughly into “No admittance without approval.”

I don’t think the little ones can read this yet, and I am not sure they would care, even if they could.  Because in typical kid-fashion, they are using the gate to suit their own needs: as a chalkboard.  After the older kids leave the compound to go to class, the little ones write letters, numbers and figures in the dust that coats the gate (and just about everything else, too).  I can’t wait to get back to Kabanga and see them – and bring them some chalk!