A few weeks ago, I discovered something about Darren Rowse, the Australian guy (guru) behind ProBlogger I didn’t know. Apart from his expert advice on blogging, he wanted to share another facet of himself by conducting a bold experiment called: the Tanzania Blog Project. He decided to take us into the lives of ordinary Tanzanians, especially women and children with medical issues, and share the wonderful work conducted by CBM: an Australian non-profit..
Darren wanted us to see and feel like we’re with him, without leaving our comfortable armchair. Through his daily interviews on video, we’re able to follow the lives of Tanzanian kids like Athman, the ten-year-old boy who is constantly picked on because of his disability. Darren’s video shows us what CBM in conjunction with CCBRT (a Tanzanian non-governmental organization) are doing to help at their disability hospital in Dar es Salaam. Darren states that Athman’s biggest problem isn’t his physical disability, but his “social isolation.” He managed to capture Athman getting mobile on this video.
We get to hear about another common problem in Tanzania, women with fistulas. This is a problem that can be treated, but many women live in “shame” and are also “socially isolated” or badly treated by others. Darren interviews two women, Hadija, who is older, and who has suffered 30 years with her fistula problem. She did not realize it could be treated until a younger woman, Niguala (who’s had a fistula for two months) heard about the hospital from a neighbor.
Some of the harsh realities of Tanzanian life are:
- 35 women die a day from maternal health issues.
- 120 babies die within 24 hours of being born every day.
- Fistulas are a common problem in women in Tanzania, many caused by child birth.
Darren says in his final video, “Instead of thinking about the depressing aspects, we need to focus on the fact that there are people out there helping.” Disability is more about not being able to participate, because kids and adults are secluded by others. “It’s our attitudes that stop disabled people from reaching their potential.”
I agree with Darren that getting involved with project like the Tanzania Project, reminds us of some of the things happening in other parts of the world. I think it’s uplifting to see volunteers helping. I know I benefited tremendously from my ten days of volunteering with a group of U.S. nurses in a Mayan school in Belize.
It’s difficult for many to travel to far away places like Tanzania, however, I appreciate the way Darren captured the “stories” of many women and children, and opened our eyes to what’s being done, and how we can help.