African Roots Foundation partners with SWCEA

  African Roots Foundation (ARF) decided to partner with Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa (SWCEA) after meeting at the annual 2012 KARIBU trade fair in Arusha. ARF is very excited about the SWCEA  water filters that are currently making their way into homes and rural areas of East Africa. ARF feels that these water filters will be a great benefit to the local community where their main efforts are concentrated in assisting with sustainable daily living improvements. ARF even designed new stands to hold the buckets firmly and safely when located at a Masai boma. The SWCEA filters can be donated through Bush2Beach or other visiting clients that come to spend a night at the eco friendly Isoitok Camp set in the heart of Maasai lands overlooking Lake Manyara and The Great Rift Valley – further more if you are a client who visited the Maasai of Esilalei in the past and want to donate from afar then please touch base with us though ARF or B2B email.

2011 was very successful for ARF after the launch of a “Gift of Light” program where clients had a chance to further help the Esilalei community with an inexpensive donation of a simple solar lamp to a Maasai boma (traditional dwelling). All 20 lights which were purchased by ARF have been distributed to the Esilalei community with the intention to secure more solar units and now add the water filters to bring a “Gift of Water” to Maasai both young and old. Last week, a Maasai elder simply could not express what a difference these simple lights have made to life inside one of the traditional bomas and they are extremely excited with the news that the water filters will soon be coming to camp to further back up Bush2Beach Safaris and Isoitok Camps responsible tourism efforts.

As ARF partners with SWCEA we feel the future is getting brighter (not only through A Gift of Light) but also because water will be safe to drink straight from a tap on location at various bomas. This will go a long way in reducing many water borne bacteria that are a common contributing factor to a whole series of medical problems that are faced by the Maasai people simply from taking in dirty water that is shared by cattle, washing of clothes and people. If you are planning a trip to Tanzania whether it be through Bush2Beach or your chosen operator then if you are interested in grass roots cultural experiences then be sure to request a night or two at Isoitok Camp and the Maasai community of Esilalei.

May 2012 update

Greetings from Tanzania Operations -

Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa has grown a lot in the past several months. We have increased sales and made product improvements, repairs at the factory and some safety adjustments.   We have increased business in our shop due to internet advertisement and word of mouth. Sales to teachers have increased significantly due to a concentrated effort from Stella and use of our vehicle.  We have received quality results on our testing at St Lukes Foundation/KCMC laboratory. We are training a new sales person who will focus his efforts on new customer segments such as hospitals, churches, and safari companies. We have Rotary interest from two clubs in the US and are in dialogue with the Arusha Rotary.

There is huge potential here, and it saddens me that I will be leaving at the end of June. There are many avenues for my replacement to follow and I feel that this work can be accomplished.  We have a quality product being fabricated in a quality control setting. This ongoing process will still require maintenance and oversight, but we are on a good path.

There are still many challenges to work out. Planning ahead in this part of the world has its own challenges and it is up to SWCEA to put its best efforts forward to continue the business. This planning includes the ongoing management of banking, bookkeeping, raw materials, filter kit materials, salaries, and factory expenses (expected or unexpected). SWCEA has a great opportunity and our hopes are high!!

Thank you SWAN for your leadership and financial support during the growing process. SWCEA is ready to meet the challenge of self sufficiency.

November 2011

We arrived in Tanzania to a wonderful welcome from the Kimieri family which left me speechless. My husband Mike, my son Izac and I were all given hugs of welcome, and a huge bouquet of flowers each. The welcoming committee was so large as to make us wonder how we were all going to fit into the rented van to get back to Arusha. We managed to squeeze in and make the hour trip back to Ngulelo, Arusha and the start our life here in Tanzania.

Upon entering the village of Ngulelo we were immediately aware of how the local people live. We drove through a market on our way to our house. Women everywhere sit behind piles of vegetables, clothes, shoes, charcoal, and household goods. Men sit behind similar piles, or are fabricating metal gates, minding stores, or generally hanging around. Huge numbers of children are everywhere and the twenty-something crowd is highly represented. After settling into our house and overcoming jet lag, we jumped at the chance to really explore our neighborhood.

Right away, it was easy to see the need for safe water. The methods of acquiring water locally are from city tap water (unreliable because of breaks in the water line allowing contamination), streams, ditches, and gutters. Gutters are filled with garbage including, coincidentally, an inordinate amount of crushed and flattened disposable plastic water bottles. Many people here suffer from diarrhea disease on a regular basis, not to mention typhoid and malaria. Scores of school and work days are lost due to stomach problems and diarrhea and the aches, pains and fever caused by malaria.  Most people boil their water to clean it as they have done historically for a long time. However, boiling uses a lot of charcoal and requires a lot of time. If boiling is not done properly, the results can be less than adequate for safe drinking water.

Some people of the middle-class buy their water in large containers. The debris of plastic bottles is part of the landscape here. Empty bottles are seen on every roadside, every gutter, and every footpath. Most of these bottles are half-liter or full-liter size. The water bought for home use comes in 15 liter bottles. These bottles can be recycled if the effort is made, but mostly they are wasted. There is very little evidence of recycling although I have heard of some efforts.

At Safe Water Ceramics of East Africawe are producing silver infused ceramic water filters for safe water. We are working hard to market the filters locally, to non-government organizations (NGO’s) and other groups. The water filter is a new technology for the people of Tanzania and it takes time to get this method of water purification accepted by the local population. The cost of the filter is high for the local population, considering their yearly income. But with the proper education on filter benefits and use, I believe many individuals will come to understand that the long-lasting and very effective ceramic water filter will be extremely cost effective and will be the method of choice for obtaining safe water.

My job at Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa is exciting and challenging every day. Mesiaki (Kim) is a wonderful partner to work with as we try to break down the barriers of production and marketing. I have learned huge amounts from the short time I have been here and feel very positive about SWCEA growing its business over the years. My family and I have been completely accepted into the Kimieri clan, as members of the family. This experience is invaluable and a joy to be a part of every day.