Friday, September 4, 2009

Introducing Caroline ...

This is Caroline Epe (with Addie and Coleton), the new FAME Volunteer Coordinator!

We are thrilled to have her here, she is already fitting in so well!

If anyone has inquiries about FAME and their volunteer program, Caroline is now the one to ask -

Karibu Caroline!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Under Construction!

FAME has broken ground! Take a look at the newest construction projects:

House for the generator!

Volunteer House #1

Volunteer House #2

Both Volunteer Houses

Garage and workshop!


Exciting new projects underway!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend at Rift Valley

With September 10th fast approaching, I took this weekend off and went up to Rift Valley for some quality time with India and the kids. Everyone is doing so well, but boy is it different now with 60 kids at the Village. Having started at Rift Valley back in 2005, at first with only 11 kids, it is amazing how things have grown in the past four years!

A couple of new pictures ...

India with the kids!

Danielle, the Volunteer Coordinator, and Baby Ema

Nice big group shot!

Little Gabriella

Nada, making the transition to life at RVCV like a pro!

Kids playing ball in front of one of the new houses

Baby January -super cold up there, and he was dressed accordingly!

Such a Success Story!

Here is the update I just received about our AOEF Scholarship Recipient Josephat, from Andy Trotter, the Education Director at RVCV:
This kid's a star! First time I met Josephat was in May when he was up at Gyetighi helping to lead a community health seminar with village leaders. He wrapped up Form 6 earlier this year and got Division 1 (the highest possible) on the Form 6 exam. He hung out here at RVCV for a few weeks while he was looking for part-time work and applying to universities. Helped so much!
Was the lead teacher in setting up a tuition program (review course) for 4 weeks at Gyetighi for all our sponsored secondary schools and expanded it to most of the kids in the area who were home on vacation (more than 50 students). Taught classes five days per week from 8:00-4:30 for a small stipend and laid the groundwork to continue the program to keep these kids engaged in learning and away from negative influences during long school vacations. He even included counseling with the students to give them advice about staying out of trouble and handling peer pressure.
He's a pro-active leader, studious, respectful, and a great critical thinker. Now he's helping out with maize harvesting, etc at home until he starts university on Oct 17. He got accepted to multiple universities but decided on Dar University for a BA in Education. His dream is to start up a school of his own! I have no doubt we'll be sending kids to his school in the not so distant future. Dynamite and driven student! Worth every penny of investment. Asante sana for giving him a chance to shine!"
Thanks Andy for the update. And CONGRATS to Josephat on getting into COLLEGE!!!
We are so proud!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Winding Down

Dear All,

I apologize for not posting a blog in a while but things have been crazy here. I finalized my daughter's adoption at the beginning of July and it has been a whirlwind since then to get all of the paper work completed.

The babies and I (and our friend Ashley, without whom we would be lost!) then traveled to Dar to the American Embassy to file all of the paperwork so that we can come home! On September 8th I will have been here for a full year - one whole year abroad - without my family - so the time has come to go home! And luckily, the process in Dar went well and we have passports and visas for Addie and Coleton! One month and they will be American citizens!

My replacement here at FAME Medical will be arriving in a few weeks, a lovely girl named Caroline. I will get her settled and then head HOME!

My year here in Karatu has been an amazing one - filled with highs and lows - but the time has come to return to my family and friends!

One more month of work - hopefully some additional blogs - but I just wanted to share the good news with everyone!

Lots of Love, Meredith

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Whats New

First of all, it is SO good to have Frank and Susan back in Tanzania and back at work here at FAME! It was a long seven weeks without them!
A couple of weeks ago I met a man in town, who approached me - knowing that I work at a clinic - because he is in need of a prosthetic foot. His leg/ankle/foot were cut off by a neighbor during a dispute of some kind. And although the injury is healed, he can't work because he can't walk.

I took my friend Amiri to see him. Amiri works for an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities. With my very limited Swahili I wasn't much help, but this gentleman and Amiri had a good talk about what was required - cost, travel, etc. And the plans are in the works to get this man to a rehab center where he will be fitted for a prosthetic foot. Hopefully, he will then be able to work and help support his family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The next four additions to Rift Valley came down to the clinic today for check-ups!





All four of these kiddos are about 7 years old. Emanuel is Jackson's older brother (who came yesterday).

And I also found out that Dixon, who came yesterday, is the older brother of January! (see older post) Even though they look NOTHING alike! Gotta love it!

Caren and Dr. Frank!

Emanuel getting things checked out!

And again, the good news is that all four are HIV negative!

Day of the African Child

Last Tuesday, June 16th, was the International Day of the African Child. I attended an event outside of Karatu, in a town called Changarawe. All of the local primary school children were invited - to sing and dance, make presentations. And then prizes where given out to children at the top of their classes. There had been a soccer game on Monday, in honor of The African Child, and the winning team was given a trophy! The winners happened to be the team from Rift Valley Children's Village - although, the adults, not the kids play on this team.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics:

Yohane, Jackson, Dixon and Bonaface!

I am pleased to introduce the four newest additions to Rift Valley Children's Village!
Jackson and Yohane

Dixon marched around the FAME clinic like he owned the place! Posing here with his hands on his hips - too cute! He was all smiles and laughter!

And last but not least, little Bonaface (with one of the Rift Valley Mamas).


Here is Bonaface being weighed by two of our nurses, Siana and Safi. Skinny little guy!

We don't know the ages of these kiddos (my guess is 5, 4, 2, 1 1/2) But who knows! They are all so underweight. But the good news is that they are all HIV negative!

Monday, June 8, 2009


They just keep coming!

Introducing the newest addition to RVCV ... January (aka Janu)!

Five months old and a big boy! Legs like Coleton!

Here is January with Ellie, getting his first check up at the FAME Clinic.

This is Ema (see older post) who is now seven months and doing so well!

Side by side, two months apart but you would never know it!

Ema came in (here with Elissa) to get a malaria test, wasn't feeling great - but he was negative!

Happy Boy!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Go Cavs!

Yet ANOTHER addition to RVCV!

Introducing Baby Grace! Only one month old, her mother died shortly after childbirth. Grace comes from the same region as Mika, Gabriella, Natalie and Maria - called Mong'ola. She came into the clinic on Monday with two repeat volunteers - Elissa and Ellie! Dr. Mshana thoroughly checked her out and reported that she is in great shape - a little skinny, but everyone at Rift Valley will quickly change that! More good news, she is HIV negative!
Here is Elissa and "her" new baby!
Proud mamas!

Grace getting her eyes checked.

Dr. Mshana giving her a physical.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Wanted to let everyone know that Grace and Peter's baby is not in fact named Joan.

Her name is JoAnn.

Spelling Western names is tricky here!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peter and Grace

For those of you who have volunteered with RVCV in the past, I wanted to share the good news on behalf of Peter and Grace. Last night Grace gave birth to a healthy baby girl! They have named her Joan. Congratulations to the new mom and dad!

Tumaini Health Screenings at FAME

Last week, here at FAME, Dr. Ivan and Dr. Mshana did health screenings on 80 children from Tumaini Primary School. FAME and Tumaini have worked together before, doing health screenings at the school. But now, with the FAME clinic completed, the new students who have never been screened before, were brought to the clinic for their checkup!

Here are a few pictures of the kiddos!

We love healthy kids!
ps - Frank and Susan are in the US at the moment, on their fundraising tour - we miss them here, but we hope that all is going well!

AOEF Scholar Success!

Yesterday I went up to Rift Valley Children's Village to visit one of AOEF's scholarship students. Josephat (in the blue and white striped shirt) has just finished secondary school at Makumira. At the end of secondary school, all students take an exam. Your score puts you into one of four divisions, one being the highest and four being the lowest.

Josephat received a Division One score!!! We couldn't be more proud of his accomplishments. He has always been extremely bright and very hard working.

The reward for scoring so high is that Josephat can apply to government colleges and universities and will likely be picked for a scholarship!

Here are Josephat, Julius and Edward (previous student teachers at RVCV, back from school - who also just finished secondary school and did extremely well!) working at RVCV over the summer.

All three will find out where they will be headed to college (fingers crossed!) in August.

I will keep you posted!

But a big congrats to Josephat on all of his hard work!