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MEDLIFE is proud to announce that the plans to construct a second floor to the Union De Santa Fe Wawa Wasi were finalized in April 2017 as community members and MEDLIFE CEO Nick Ellis signed agreements.
The first floor to the Wawa wasi was completed in 2015 , and serves as a space for the governments "Cuna Más" program. The government will provide trained childcare personel and nutritional meals for kids if the community provides the space and other materials. MEDLIFE provided those things and the Cuna Más program runs the daycare.
However, Cuna Más is only available to kids age 6 months to 3 years old, and children cannot enter primary school until age 6. So kids who are between ages 3 and 6 cannot enjoy the facilities above. For this reason, MEDLIFE is providing the materials for a second floor to the wawawasi that can be used for a similar program "Pronoei", a preschool for children ages 3-6. The community will organize the construction.
The addition of a local "Pronoei" seeks to close the 3 year gap between when children age out of "Cuna Más" program and start primary school. This frees up time for parents that can be used to work a job during the day. With the second floor, kids with working parents will have a safe, constructive environment with nutritous food all the way up until primary school.
Last week, MEDLIFE staff visited Cajamarquilla in Lima, Peru to deliver water and supplies to a community affected by the huaycos. We were able to secure a water tank truck to deliver much needed water to the community of 27 de Junio.
Tempora Ventura Donato, who lives in 27 de Junio, said they had not been able to refill their water supply for 4 days. Her experience is common for those living in makeshift camp set up for the people displaced by the huaycos. Thousands are still displaced by the huaycos.
Some fled their homes do to flood damage, but many had their entire homes swept away by the overflowing Huaycoloro River. The displaced have been living in tents provided by the municipal government of Lima.
Water tank trucks are private businesses that sell potable water straight from their tank to homes not connected to the water system of Lima. We were able to cover the cost of the delivery for this visit, taking the truck back into the camp to refill plastic water tanks and residents buckets and barrels.
We also delivered, toothbrushes, basic first aid kits and clothes collected from a donation drive in Lima. There is no steady supply of aid in many of the communities we have visited affected by huaycos, relying on a sporadic mix of government aid as well as other NGOs.
MEDLIFE is funding the huayco relief efforts through our project fund. This is an emergency fund to help aid the communities we serve in a time of dire need. Please consider donating today as 100% of the funds for this project will be put to direct aid to communities around Lima.
In April of 2017 MEDLIFE completed one of our long-term projects, building a house for Soledad and her son. MEDLIFE met Soledad in 2014 (full story here), and upon see her living conditions, we knew we needed to get her a new home. The home she was in was unsafe, and appeared to be on the verge of collapse. The fundraising process and construction process was long, but we succeeded. A group of students from Cornell University, who helped fundraise for the house, got to be there to help put on the finishing touches, see the finished project and meet Soledad themselves.
Volunteers helped us add the finishing touches on their volunteer trip!
When Grant Schmidt visited this school in Kiura on a MEDLIFE volunteer trip with Miami University, he knew they could do more than just help complete the bathroom project they worked on during the week long trip. After seeing a child climb to the top of this slid and then decide not to slide down, as the wood was old, rotting, and splintery, he decided he would organize his group to fundraise for the slide. We interviewed Grant about his experience with MEDLIFE and how they fundraised for the slide.
How did the group react to the idea of buying a slide for the school in Kiura:
It was such a blessing to have gone to Tanzania with such a wonderful group of individuals. After the dinner on our third night of volunteering in the clinic, I stood and asked our group if anyone would be willing to donate to the cause of raising enough funds to buy the children a new plastic slide, which Neema worked out would be around $400. As soon as I had finished asking the question I was met with an overwhelming amount of positive support and encouragement for the idea. Every single member wanted to donate regardless of the amount, and they did; we raised over $200 within the first hour after dinner.
How is this slide project different than the project you fundraised before coming to Tanzania?
I wasn't a direct part of the fundraising project that MEDLIFE conducted before coming to Tanzania, but I think I can compare the two. The previous fundraised was calculated, planned, and carried out. However this was a spur of the moment project. It was the members of our group realizing that they had the opportunity to help just a little bit more, to brighten the lives of a few more people, and then doing everything in their power to make sure that happened.
Why did you think it was important for the children to have a slide?
We all came to Tanzania thinking about the medical illnesses we could help treat or provide medication for to help improve the lives of some people there. We wanted to help give them some of the opportunities we experience on a regular basis. But after seeing the slide we realized something almost all of us take for granted growing up isn't available here. We wanted to help give the children the same experiences, and joy we had growing up, as happiness is an integral part of health.
While volunteering in Kirua we couldn't help but notice the old wooden slide that sat on the grounds. We would see children climb to the top of the slide and then just sit there for a while before climbing back down, not wanting to slide down the two old splintery wooden planks to the bottom. We all thought "something like this would never be allowed to exist on a playground in America".
How do you hope this slide impacts this school in Kirua?
We hope the slide will give the kids another way to play and have fun, and that their happiness will translate into a better schooling experience.
How can quick, group fundraising efforts like this have an impact?
Quick fundraising efforts like this show that mission trips itineraries don't have to be set in stone, they can change based on the needs of the people you find. We hope that this slide may set a precedent to other groups that, if they find an extra need, they can fix it, whether it be the need of a new clean water system or even just another slide.
When Rosio's daughter began to panic and tell her she was certain, a huge flood was coming, she could hear it, Rosio didn't believe it at first. It was raining, sure but Rosio didn't hear anything but the normal sound of the rain. Then she saw the avalanche of water and mud cascading down the hillside.
They grabbed their valuebles and pets, and ran for higher ground.
Luckily, their house was not damaged in the flood. The community of Las Brisas De California, founded around 1997, had learned not to build in the drainage path of the surrounding hillsides when previous years floods swept homes and stores down into the river below.
However, that wasn't enough to save them from the terrible flood season of 2017. Communities lower down had flattened the drainage path, causing the floods to overflow the river banks and destroy the road that provided the only access to the community.
One particularly bad week of flooding left them without access to electricity, food, or potable water for an entire week, because the road was destroyed and the river was so high it was uncrossable.
When the rains ceased and the community became accessible, the water trucks the community had always relied on to come and sell them water, along with public transit, never came back. They now had to walk an hour to Chosica to purchase and basic supplies and then carry it back.
MEDLIFE went to visit Las Brisas de California while surveying communities to see how we could help after the flooding, and decided to get in touch with the water trucks ourselves, and to pay them to bring water up to this community. They agreed, and Las Brisas finally got water after over a week with no access.
Although tap water has been restored to the parts of the city connected to the municipal water system, many communities that rely on water trucks to bring them water, like Las Brisas and most of the commmunities MEDLIFE works in, remain thirsty and unserviced.
We be returning the following week to bring a Mobile Clinic to Las Brisas, after water and food, residents told what they needed most was medicine.