FARAJA, GOODLUCK AND 600 WHEEL CHAIRS

When Save the Rain came to Nkoansiyo, Goodluck was hired to cook for the builders constructing rainwater harvesting tanks for his community. After a few days, he did an unusual thing: he invited the Save the Rain team to his home to meet his six year old daughter, Faraja. At first glance, that might not seem unusual in the least – but in this community, it...

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JEHOVENESS AND THE WOMEN’S WATER INITIATIVE

Jehoveness lived in the buzzing city of Dar es Salaam, and her husband owned a business buying and selling cars. They had four beautiful young children, property, a life, a future. But then, her husband died of cancer in 2014. She and the children moved to his home village. Suddenly, everything fell away. Jehoveness’s in-laws lay claim to everything her husband owned. She was left brokenhearted...

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MDEE AND THE SEEDS HE PLANTS FOR THE FUTURE

Mwalimu means teacher in Swahili. With a fantastic smile, Mwalimu Mdee speaks confidently to sharing the gifts he’s received. He’s head of Usa River Primary School, with 1,265 children under his care. In 2011, Save the Rain built a rainwater harvesting tank at his school. A system was also built in 2008 at the school he was head of previously. He has long inspired the team...

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WARIANKIRA

Her name is hard to pronounce. But her laughter is even harder to forget. We first met Wariankira at a village meeting. She had a really dignified manner but when you looked closely, she also had a quiet sadness.   Regardless of her elected position on the school board committee, Wariankira was also selected as one of the families most in need of assistance in her community. She...

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VIOLETH

She won’t be intimidated. She doesn’t even flinch as the room fills with men in leadership positions, years her senior. Some wearing traditional Maasai warrior attire, some in suits. They take their seat in front of us. They are not accustomed to learning from a young Tanzanian woman. Their melodic languages echo in the failing classroom where we gather. Violeth is ready and here to teach...

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Aminaeli

Nothing steals Aminaeli’s laughter. Most Tanzanians are taught to cover their mouths when they laugh. Some have severe Fluorosis – a dental discoloration that occurs from drinking water with high levels of natural fluoride. It leaves brown striations on the teeth.   Aminaeli made laughter a life raft. It eases her pain. It rides her through trying times. It allows her to empty out and fill back up...

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Growing a Defense Against Covid-19

Across the planet, we are all doing our daily examination of how to manage this new COVID-19 reality and its limitations. Though this Global pandemic treats us all the same, we aren’t all equipped to deal with it equally.   Tanzania is a place with weak and sometimes non-existent social services. Abject poverty and hunger are accepted norms. We refuse to comply with that belief and work daily...

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CLIFF AND ANN

The following story is written by Cliff, a Rotarian, investor, father, and volunteer who had the privilege of building a rainwater harvesting system for Anna and her 7 kids.  They are worlds apart and a bonded family forever.    My first trip with Save the Rain left an indelible mark. You get to this magical place, with Mt Kilimanjaro as its backdrop, after spending 30 hours on planes. You...

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JEHOVENESS

There were two planks of wood bridging a stream to enter the property. There was a newly dug grave to the right. There was grief everywhere else. It was a tragic love story. Jehoveness was the one still living, but she was dying from a broken heart. Her husband passed away 5 months before. Now her and their 4 children were alone. His mother lived across the...

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HILLARY TESHA

I remember the day I met Hilary Tesha. He came to work wearing a t-shirt that said Mount Shasta Cheerleading Squad. He didn’t know Mount Shasta was on the other side of the world or that I lived there. It felt synchronistic and magical. It made me feel like we both belonged to this mission.   Joseph, our Tanzanian director suggested Hilary could cook for the 51 men...

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HAPPY ALLEN

There is always a moment that feels like you are in a vacuum and all the air around you is being sucked away. It happens seconds before panic sinks in. The fear sings a story of how alone you are in the world and how you don’t have what you need to make it out of where you are. If we listen to those lyrics, we...

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MILGRID

It takes a little while for MILGRID to smile. She has learned to keep herself relatively invisible, to express her joy quietly and to tiptoe through her own life. When she finally allows herself to smile, she creates a warmth that is palpable. It feels like a hug. But she doesn’t know it. Her shame predates it.   Milgrid like so many other women and girls has learned to...

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ELIESH

Her eyes are like a map of hardship. You can feel her struggle engraved in them. When ELIESH laughs, the pain is replaced by joyful abandon. But it is her quiet smile that communicates that you are with someone who can overcome anything. She is remarkably thin and yet she emanates a comforting warmth and a mighty strength.   Eliesh has 6 children. Saying she raised them on her...

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LEMNA

In September 2000, LEMNA was 30 and pregnant with her 4th child. She was married to a man whose family thrived on abusive power. They loved to leave Lemna feeling powerless and afraid. On this particular night, their cruelty was deafening. They all stood in the home she helped build and demanded that she leave. She was not worthy of their name nor of this home. They were driving her...

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IRENE

IRENE’S smile is as big as it gets and her stature is the polar opposite. She is no more than 5’ tall and spaghetti strand thin. She is child-like in appearance and ancient in wisdom. She sees solutions that are broad to create opportunity for as many people as possible.   Irene is married to a man who was broken by his choices and found his solutions in bottles...

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NIPAELI

Even in a crowd of people, Nipaeli stood out. Her beauty is indescribable. The problem was she was living a life she did not ask for. She left her family to be with her husband. Her husband moved them to a village that was foreign to her. They had four children back to back. When Jonathan was born, Nipaeli had been pregnant for 11 months. Though...

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HAPPY

She stood before she spoke. Straightened her dress and composed herself. Happy John had something to say. She wasn’t going to wait.   This was the first meeting Save the Rain organized in her village. Save the Rain wanted to hear the stories of Lositeti and Happy had many to tell.   “My dream is to be able to give my children breakfast before they go to school,” she said.   This...

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SINGING FOR THE RAIN

Three years ago, we gathered in Lositeti, a village in the far reaches of the Makiba Ward in the Arumeru district of Tanzania. As we finish the tour of the school, Gilbert, a local Rotarian, becomes emotional. He says he is not certain how this kind of poverty exists in Northern Tanzania. Truthfully, it takes only one story to fully understand the depth of their struggle...

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Polarized Views

Dickson’s grandmother won the lottery. She was the recipient of a residential rainwater harvesting system on her home. She lives in Maji Ya Chai, a village riddled with fluoride issues in the groundwater. Rainwater harvesting is the only way to get safe drinking water. Her life had been filled with hardship. She buried two of her children, most of her family and her husband abandoned her....

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Happy 13th Birthday Save the Rain

Gratitude is at the forefront of our minds lately. Not just because of the holiday season but because it’s felt like a year filled with crisis. Hurricanes, fire, violence – so much loss demands that we take stock. Crisis is an interesting word. It is derived from the Greek word meaning decision. Its definition “a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.” At...

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