For the past two weeks I have been volunteering at an orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania called Aston Vision. It's roughly 40-45 kids who come daily (some stay with extended family, some stay at the orphanage). This orphanage and these kids need many things that your average westerner couldn't imagine living with out. I'm fundraising to fulfill one of the most primary human needs that these kids fear they will not have everyday, food. When I first arrived I noticed there were kids constantly fighting over erasers. I went to the market and came in with a ton of erasers the next day. When I collected them at the end of class, 7 of them were missing. Eventually I found out the reason these kids desperately hide and want these erasers so badly. They eat them. Apparently, an eraser is the closest thing that has the consistency of food. When kids this small are hungry, they will chew on anything that makes them feel better. I cannot control what the kids get to eat at home, but I can control the one reliable meal they receive at school, even after I leave Africa. My goal is to buy the orphanage a 6 month supply of rice and beans, as well as a 6 month supply of powdered milk. The powdered milk is something new I'm trying with them when they first get to school to suppress the hunger pangs until lunch, but to also supplement a much needed and neglected healthy diet. The powdered milk has vitamins and calcium which we all know are the corner stones of developing child's diet. Unfortunately, these kids never receive those elements in their current diet, especially those who need it most. There is one little girl in my class with HIV. The type of HIV in Tanzania is a disease one can cope with as long as they receive treatment and proper nutrition. This little girl has been sick a lot lately. Her life depends on having access to more food and better nutrition. These kids are in a really desperate situation. I started buying them bananas in the morning for breakfast, but I can't financially swing this on my own. The smallest amount of money goes so so far in this country. $1500 buys 45 kids lunch every day for 6 months. If this is the kind of cause that interests you, please think about donating. I know these kids personally. They are incredible little people and they don't deserve to feel weak and hungry every day. After all the money comes directly to me, I will go to the market myself and buy the food which I will then bring to the orphanage. Every cent donated goes directly on to their plate.
- Bianca Zullo
- Beatriz Burgos