WEMA BLOG


Oct
06
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Nelson Mandela once said, "Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity.  It is the protection of a fundamental human right-- the right to dignity and a decent life."   The men and women in the workshop here in Arusha take tremendous pride in the products they manufacture.  The Basic Utility Vehicle is the only vehicle made in Tanzania (!) and they rightfully beamed when the Minister of Industry dropped by recently with his entourage and, after touring, left deeply impressed with all he had seen.  We lo…
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Jul
01
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Do you ever ask, "Wait, why am I doing this?"  For us it comes when challenges fill our vision, blocking our ability to see reasons and results.   This morning I stumbled onto an article by Senegalese writer and business person, Maggate Wade.  Some of her words were especially helpful.  She was speaking of African refugees attempting the dangerous journey to Europe by small boat...    "Why are so many African people willing to risk death at sea?  Because they are poor.  Why are they poor?  Because there…
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Mar
15
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  The government of the United States lists Tanzania as one of the world's poorest economies.  With the average daily wage less than $2, and a struggling education system that can't promise real future benefit, life is very tough for local people.  Compassion from wealthy countries is a beautiful thing, but a constant flow of aid leads to a crippling dependency that keeps people trapped in cycles of poverty.  It has been said, "Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative ma…
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Jan
18
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Yohana is a handsome young Tanzanian in our workshop here in Arusha.  Before he joined our crew a couple of years back, Yohana scraped by searching for unskilled pick-up work on as many days as possible.  It was intermittent at best and always low paying.  Today he is welding and wiring, smiling and providing for himself and his extended family.  Yohana’s steady employment is making a valued and incredibly needed difference in the lives of those around him.  We loved that he brought his 10 year old nephew w…
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Nov
02
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One of Gallup’s biggest recent discoveries is that what everyone wants, more than happiness or money, is, quite simply, A GOOD JOB.     “Gallup defines a good job as one with 30+ hours of work a week with a consistent paycheck from an employer.  A GREAT JOB is a job in which you believe your boss cares about your development, you can use your strengths every day at work, and you believe your work makes a contribution to something.  Your job matters and, subsequently, your life matters.” David Spickard …
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Sep
10
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Our favorite quote from Poverty Cure’s very helpful film, Poverty Inc., says this:   “Having a heart for the poor isn’t hard.  Having a MIND for the poor—THAT’S the challenge.”   Here on the ground in East Africa, we resonate deeply with the truth of this straight-shooting observation.  We are moved quickly and easily by the plight of those around us.  We see the many well-meaning volunteers and aid organizations coming to give their time in an attempt to make a difference.  It’s a simple truth that, th…
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Sep
09
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Psalm 37 says,    “Trust in the Lord and do good;   Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord;  And He will give you the desires of your heart.”   As you know, we had time in the U.S. this last summer...   Before Byron returned to Tanzania, we spent some days helping his father, Oscar, move from assisted living  toward full-time care.  Returning to the retirement community where Oscar lives, we were reminded again what it looks like to cultivate faithfulness.  Hund…
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Feb
05
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    It’s amazing how quickly the muddy muck that accompanies our rainy seasons can turn to the fragile, powdery dust of the dry months.  Overnight, it seems, our slippery, slushy roads, that tires struggle to keep us on, parch into trails that produce clouds of coarse brown plumage behind us.  The seemingly abrupt turnaround always amazes us.  While I prefer the dust because I’m less likely to slide into a ditch in the dry season, I’m aware that both seasons have their pros and their cons...   What th…
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Dec
08
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 "The Global Service Award honors an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated faithful service in furthering God’s kingdom in the international, missionary or non-profit world, and who embodies faith in a diverse, complex and quickly changing society as a citizen and servant of the world." On a sunny October weekend in Santa Barbara, three days shy of the 30 year anniversary of our arrival together in East Africa, Westmont College awarded us their 2014 Global Service Award! We were and are deeply overwhelme…
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Sep
26
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It's hard to believe September is almost gone and the house has been quiet for a full three weeks.  For the first time all year, we don't have anyone staying with us!  There are no visiting donors, no board members, advisors, volunteers, travelers, friends or family members sharing our table and dreaming with us about sustainable development here in Africa.   A highlight during this season of visitors was the great pleasure we had of journeying with a group of young friends who traveled out with …
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