Saturday, September 29, 2012

About the waterpumps in Tema and Sunga

The Fairwater pump in Tema  September 2012
location S4 31 58.2 E38 12 44.9
 <interviews by  Alisha Forbes, student Doane college USA>

Tema is a small, remote village in the Usambara mountains in Tanzania. It has around 1500 people, living in 650 households. In 2009, when MamboViewPoint started, there was no decent water supply available.

Local villager Fatuma Alfani: “I had to walk to Mambo Village three times a day to gather water for five grandchildren. Each trip took three hours”. Also Sadikingoma  gathered water once a day in Mambo for six children. “Health problems prevented me from making more trips and any additional water was taken from a dirty water hole nearby, my family was often sick with typhoid”.

The Fairwater pump in TemaFatuma and Sadikingoma were happy when the Fairwater Pump in Tema was made. It safed them a full day task and the family of Sadikingoma hasn’t been sick since the pump water was available.

Project manager Herman: “Since The pump in Tema was the first Fairwater pump from the MamboViewPoint water project it took a long time to make it. The pump is funded by the tour company FairTravel in Tanzania. After waiting for another three sponsors to make the shipping of the pumps affordable it took a long time to get the pumps in Tanzania. They even got stuck at the Kenyan border, we had to pay VAT for importing and had to send a pickup to rescue them.” A volunteer from the Netherlands assisted to get the drill, sponsored by het Groeneland from the factory in Morogoro and right after that the new established local company Jamiwater started to get the techniques learned. Ali from Jamiwater: “It appeared that a lot can go wrong. The drill can stuck below the casing, the gravel, used for filtering can damage the pipe, the casing parts to prevent the whole from collapsing can rust together, the bolds which hold the bailer can go loose. We did almost everything wrong but in the end we are experienced water technicians and the new pumps can be placed in far less time”

Right now the pump in Tema has to provide all 1500 people which is far too many. Normally one pump for every 150 people is needed. It makes Fatuma and Sadikingoma say that they are happy but more is needed since they have to line up every day.
A third pump, planned on the border of Tema and Mambo will fill in a part of this demand.

Herman: “In the four years we are here we did a lot of projects already, but I think the Fairwater pumps is one of the major projects. If you look at how much effort we have to put it in and the effect it has, the balance and impact is tremendous positive.”

For details and the idea behind the Mambo Fairwater project have a look at  and

                  The Fairwater pump in Sunga  September 2012
Location: S4 31 58.3 E38 12 44.8
 <interviews by  Alisha Forbes, student Doane college USA>

Sunga is a busy place in a remote area in the Usambara mountains. The main activities are the sawmill and trading, there is a regional market every Monday. Sunga is also the capital of the 8 villages around, grouped in the Ward Sunga. For the 1200 villagers there is one private owned pump available but this one is situated far outside the village.

The Fairwater pump in Subga

Yahaya Selemani, water pump manager and chairman from Sunga: “A water hole was available in Sunga Village before the pump, but community members waited in line for 1 ½ hours to get one bucket of water.” Alfani, another villager of Sunga: “life is easier now since I can get water without long walks up and down the mountains.” Selemani: “Without long lines, people have more time for their jobs. Each house is paying 300 shillings per month to maintain the pump.” Brad Elder, physicist and guest of MamboViewPoint: People take much more pride in it (work and final product) because it’s theirs, as opposed to something that’s given to them.”

Drilling in SungaAli, director of Jamiwater: “After placing the pump it appeared that the filter down below in the pipe was not good enough and sand was blocking the bailer. It made a new borehole necessary where we put jute around the pipe to filter better. Also we used smaller gravel which had to come all the way from Tanga”

Brad: “Clean water is the number one determinant of whether or not you’ll live to die of old age. Everything else is icing on the cake. I went to the pump sites with Herman many times and was impressed to see hands-on how the pump project worked.”

The pump is sponsored by Charm and Ralph Tuijn who biked from Cairo to Cape town to raise money for the Fairwater pumps.

For details and the idea behind the Mambo Fariwater project have a look at or

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sustainable hand water pumps in the Usmabara Mountains, Tanzania

A project of MamboSteunPunt in cooperation with FairWater

Clear drinking water is still not obtainable to all citizens in many African countries. When MamboViewPoint opened in 2008, for the 22,000 inhabitants in the area, only one pump was available. Most people fetched water from open streams or holes which reached the ground water. Many negative problems occur for people using these as a source of drinking water.

Water Projects
Tanzania is a beloved country for donors, a peaceful society, but still within the top 10 of the poorest countries. Vast sums over the years have been spent on water projects. But still the situation is far from satisfactory. Presently only 62% of the population has access to clean drinking water.

What has been achieved?
Pumps have been installed by donors, but the result was they were not to be sustainable and the pumps broke soon after installation as no maintenance program had been put in place. According to a RWSN report, May 4th 2010 in Africa roughly 50% of the 350.000 donated pumps are abandoned; this is also true in Tanzania. In and around Mambo you can find many boreholes which are no longer covered or in use.

In all cases the pumps were supplied free to the user, who took no responsibility for the maintenance. After a while the pumps broke and the bore hole was abandoned. Often the inexpensive rope pumps were placed in areas of high demand, and expensive mechanical pumps installed in areas of low demand!

In the eighties the Afridev hand pump was developed in Kenya and Malawi. This should be an example of a VLOM pump (Village Level Operation and Maintenance) suitable for use in Africa.  Unfortunately this pump appeared to have many shortcomings, especially the availability of spare parts. Many pumps broke down soon after being installed, the result was that these pumps were no different from the cheap pumps that are still favoured by governments and NGO’s alike.
The sustainable Fairwater X-factor
Fairwater has finally developed a durable pump that should be more sustainable compared to other pumps and should last for many years with a little maintenance.

A distinction should also be made and taken into account if the ground water is found near the surface or if it is deeper underground. This factor will determine the amount of use the pump will get during its life time and the amount of maintenance it will require.

If an organizational model is developed in which the stakeholders feel responsible for the maintenance of the pump, abandoned bore holes and pumps will hopefully become a thing of the past.

Fairwater projects are found in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoir, Ethiopia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, The Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Swaziland

How it now works in Mambo

The prime consideration for locating a pump are 300 people who are together prepared to pay an equivalent of 30 US dollars monthly for access to clean drinking water available all year round.

Then a contract is agreed with the community, the MamboSteunPunt foundation and a local company. The company; Jamii water, drills the bore hole and installs the pump. The company also collects the money for the pump manager’s wages and the maintenance. In cases of financial hardship support is offered by MamboSteunPunt. The workers from Jamii water are trained and assisted by MamboSteunPunt to ensure that the project will succeed and meet the needs of the local community.

Next the Blue pump is delivered by Fairwater. This pump costs US $3,250 and can be funded by a company or private individual. The ownership of this pump stays with MamboSeunPunt and the pump is removed if the community does not take care or does not pay the manager as agreed. The donor is then  encouraged to use the pictures for advertisement and visit the people who are benefitting. This can be combined with a nice holiday in the Usambara Mountains.

The borehole is then drilled and the pump is put in place by Jamii water. They are assisted by local volunteers in the local community who will have access to the clean drinking water. The hand drill was funded by a Dutch insurance company and is used each time a suitable site meets the set criteria.

Every pump has a manager who is paid from the revenues of the pump. He is responsible for the proper use of the pump and collection of the money from the users for the maintenance. The manager is also responsible to make sure that the pump is clean and serviceable. The manager employed is always somebody who lives close to the pump and is appointed by the community. After the manager’s wages have been paid the remaining money is used for maintenance and payment for the cement to build the platform.

As the project has a strong involvement among the users, the control of the money and responsibilities are now in place to ensure the pump is properly used and maintained. This should now result in a sustainable supply of clean drinking water made possible by BleuPumps being brought to Mambo.

Donate a water pump in Mambo

Around Mambo we still need 80 (eighty!) pumps to supply average 300 people of clean drinking water.

The sustainable concept is in place the community don’t have enough means to buy the pump. Your contribution would make the difference to find additional information and help directly please contact us via:

Download this post as pdf file

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Teacher training

By Sally Christensen’s

I came to Mambo View Point at the suggestion of my daughter, Alice, who was working with nurse training Tanzania in 2010/11.  She stayed at MVP and helped compile a list and purchase some sorely needed medical equipment at Mambo Dispensary.  erHer
When I initially contacted Herman he wanted me to help out on a tree nursery project but on arrival I discovered that the land had not yet been purchased so I threw myself into other projects.  We both raised funds by doing a half marathon in Baltimore, USA in October 2012.

First Impressions
Mambo is just a Shangri La.  The elevation gives a gorgeous climate of hot, sunny days and cool, at this time of year, sometimes windy, evenings.  MamboViewPoint stands on the edge of a cliff and some mornings the vast plain below is covered with a soft, white blanket which slowly creeps up the mountain side. Star gazing is a must at night.  In  the day one can explore the lush valleys where all kinds of fruit and  and vegetables are grown with great success.  The hills are often terraced and MVP has done some brilliant work on bringing water to the populace.  I visited these bore holds and wells at the beginning of my stay and was well impressed.

Early on in my stay I visited the school down the hill, Mambo and Mambo B Primary School,  I felt the most useful thing I could do would be to work with the English and Science teachers to give them ideas on teaching methods, using teaching aids, songs, games and activities:  to  help them assess students’ comprehension and  to evaluate their lessons.  To allow  the children to learn through experimentation, through looking at real objects, through touching and feeling things.  To learn and  have some fun at the same time!

There are 2000 children attending Mambo and Mambo B Schools which are located on the same property.  There are about 22 teachers.  Most of the classes have over 100 children and some 120.  There are sometimes 4 or even 5 children on a three seater bench with one fixed desk.  The floors are reddish earth, the walls are crumbling, in some classrooms the windows do not open.  There  is nothing on the walls just a huge blackboard at one end of the room.  There is often not even a table for the teacher to use..  There is no electricity in Mambo town nor is there a generator.  The teachers do have text books but the students’ text books are never given out as there are only about 10 per 100 children.  The teachers do have lesson plan books some use them some do not.  The children are extremely well behaved because discipline is very strict.  Most teachers have a stick.  One day I saw a female teacher beating a young girl’s hands very hard.  The girl was crying.  I asked why she was being beaten and the reply was that she was late.  The head master intervened and sent the line of children waiting to be beaten to their classrooms.  I heard two days later that at a teachers’ meeting the Heads told the teachers not to hit children.  Let us hope that is the end of beating at Mambo.

A huge factor in the poor results of education in rural areas of Tanzania and other sub Saharan countries is the absenteeism of teachers.  It runs at about 45%.    The reasons for this are many.  Sickness, they have to go so far for medical treatment;  deaths in the extended family.  In my second week there were virtually no teachers at school for three days.  There was a death in the village and every teachers were absent all day paying respects to the deceased.  I took the opportunity to visit another primary and secondary school at  Chambogho a very nice motor bike ride away.  Another reason is very low morale,  teachers are poorly paid and have to travel 4 hours to receive their pay, Heads
On a more positive note I was welcomed into every classroom, teachers responded really well to the new ideas.  16 teachers and 2 heads came to my teacher training seminar at the end of the second weeks  and the following week 2 teachers had made their own teaching aids, 2 teachers brought in seeds and flowers for a science project  and 2 teachers had started assessing students understanding  by asking individuals instead of the constant chanting, repetition, copying from the board.  The children loved the songs and games and learned them very quickly.

Scholarship Students
Mambo View Point has been sponsoring students and I helped Herman on this by meeting with this years’ scholarship students, their families and the  Heads, we had to fill out lots of forms.  Most of the scholarship students  come to MVP every Sunday and Marion and  I would encourage them to express opinions having watched excerpts from films.

Part Time Teaching Assistants
When you have a class of 100 it is a huge benefit to have a teaching assistant.  There was funding for two assistants  so I helped on discussions with all parties present of how this would work, setting a timetable and finally writing a contract .  I am no lawyer and the questions and problems that arose before the deed was done was quite an interesting experience and took a long time.  I then tried to monitor how the assistants were being used.  There is work to be done here if anyone would like to come to this paradise and help out.

Reinforcement and Monitoring of Maxine Lemay and Joelle Lepage’s 2009 project MAMBO GAMES

I read their excellent report and it sounded like such a great project that I enquired if it was still up and running.  Sadly, the volunteers who had been taught all the games had left the area and not much was happening.  We invited children from Mambo to come to Friday Games at the football pitch and a lot of fun was had playing things like duck, duck goose, tag, dodge ball.  I decided to invite the same teachers who came to the seminar to come to the play ground.

Food Preservation
On one of my wonderful guided walks  I came across an unusual fruit which looked a bit like a green tomato.  It was called tomasi so with the lovely cook, Saidi, we made a chutney.  It was a learning curve on the sterilization of jars and we will never know if it worked as the 6 jars of chutney were  finished within two days.  We even sold some.  The next project was jam.  Plums and cape gooseberries were in season and they set nicely and again were very popular.  Today, if I can ever get this finished we are going to make plum chutney.  Marion hopes to find some ladies in Mambo who can be taught how to preserve fruit and vegetables and sell them to visitors or indeed anyone who likes good preserves.  Yes, another project for Mambo View which would not cost much to set up.  Always looking for donors or volunteers who could come out and do something like this.

What will I take away from here?

On my daily walk to school the echoing sounds of the little children calling out Jambo Mama Sally, the cow bells and the bleating of goats,  the smells of the wat tree in blossom,  that African smell of dried earth and dust, the sight of the woman  carrying huge loads of wood on their heads and really small kids with  full buckets of water  lurching along the dusty roads, the amazing views where you really can see forever, the incredible friendliness of everyone including the lovely staff at Mambo View Eco Lodge.  And the chameleons who kept us amused with their daily Tai Chee exercises.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

School inventory

At the time of writing, we (Jan & Sylvia) have already been in Tanzania five months. We have spent a long time at Mambo in the Western Usambara Mountains. Before that we were travelling for more than six months and this place just came at the right moment. At that time, we wanted to do some creative projects and heard about some possibilities at the Mambo Primary School. Therefore, we decided to visit the Mambo & Mambo “B” Primary Schools with nearly 1,700 children. We saw some challenges, like renovating and painting some of the walls of the school and we started fund-raising for this project via our travel blog (

It was a fantastic experience to work at this school, together with local people and 'fundis' who made walls really flat before we could work on it and make our own creations. We also worked together with Moddy, a local artist. He helped us a lot. Besides painting, he helped with translating and working with the children. We made a slide show about the project which you can see the result.

We still had some money left from the fund-raising, so we spoke with Herman and Marion about what else we could do. Two days later we visited another village, Tema. The school at this village was even worse than Mambo. For example, there where a couple of classrooms without any desks. The children just sat on the floor or even outside as in the case of the kindergarten. Overall, it was very dirty, many roofs were leaking, and the walls and floors were full of holes. It was very depressing to see this environment. At that time, we concluded  that just making an other wall painting should be like a  'flag on a mud barge'.

In order to help us decide which project would be most beneficial to the school, Herman asked us to make an inventory of all primary schools from the Sunga ward (a sort or region). With the results, we and other volunteers can support specific needs of the various schools.

We made a list of all the schools of the ward, arranged the MamboViewPoint car and a guide who could help us with translating and visited the schools. Some days we even had two or three schools to visit. The Sunga Ward is in the mountains and the roads are not always in very good condition due to the rain. So some school visits were real adventures through very small, difficult, rocky, and muddy roads with a lot of potholes. But we managed.

Before we started our visit we made a sort of questionnaire for the schools and a so-called “walking list”. With the walking list, we went through all classrooms to check the status of the walls, the windows, the number of desks that are in a room etc. If possible, we asked questions, such as what is the most important thing (they need) in their school.

Here, we put a list of some of the most notable things of each school together with some pictures.

  • Remarkable and even shocking for us was that children sat on the floor in one classroom.
  • Toilets in bad stage.
  • Not enough classrooms
  • Not enough teachers
  • Not enough school books
  • Leaking roofs
  • Not enough desks 

Also we saw a surprisingly good, new school. There were even two classrooms that were finished with roofs with a ceiling. The toilet building could be an example to the rest of the schools in the ward. We even saw three water basins for cleaning and gardening. In front of the new classrooms there were a couple of buckets filled with drinking water, which is special because we had never seen this before. At the moment, this school has two teachers for four hundred children. Of course they work in shifts, but they still have one hundred children to teach. A volunteer also teaches the kindergarten.. They use one of the unfinished classrooms. We met the teachers outside as there was still no teachers office.

Here the result of our work in a classroom from Mambo primary school.

After all these visits we concluded that there is very much to do. And most of these things should be done and paid for by the village and/or the government. We think it is to simple to give, for example 100 desks to one or two schools, however it would be better to set an example and inspire them. So we decided that painting is one of the best things that we could do as an “outsider”.

Therefore, we are very happy that we have already started to make a new wall painting (done by Moddy), on one of the walls of the Chambogho school. 

In the end....

During these time at Mambo, we learned so much and loved our stay. We are now going back to Holland, to visit our family and friends. But we wish everybody here all the best.

Sylvia & Jan

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making Yoghurt and fresh cheese

Are we aware of what a  privileged life we have? Probably not as much as we might be. But let me give you an idea. Our workshop took place in Mambo a village situated at an  altitude of 1900 meters in the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania, where there is no electricity, the road from the nearest town takes two hours of bone jarring four wheel driving (60Km), water trickles from communal pumps, and out of a population of 5000, there are 2000 primary aged children. Just as importantly for our aims, we learnt of no one in the village with more than one cow. In short desperately poor. 

After the 10 day workshop, sponsored by Mambo Viewpoint Lodge (, there were seven wonderful women working together and independently to produce 5 varieties of ricotta cheese and a wonderful yoghurt. For the first time in their lives they learnt to calculate a viable selling price for their own work, how to organise themselves into a team, how to work efficiently, and how to manage accounts for all their money movements. They were truly AMAZING. And they called me 'Baba' which I learnt to like!! It means as you can imagine a number of things, but the one I choose is  'teacher'!!!

By working for approximately 2 hours each day, they now each earn, after subtracting the costs of making their product,  about 1,600 Tanzanian shillings. This will make a SIGNIFICANT difference to how they can feed and educate their children. It also, very importantly, places value on women's work. And how much is that for us Westerners? Well a daily wage for unskilled labour in the Usambaras is Ts 3000, skilled labour Ts 5000. Ts 1,600 is worth approximately ONE dollar. Just one dollar makes a Hugh difference to a family's welfare. Incredible. 
My conclusion is, we all need to know that even by giving very  little, we can make a Hugh difference. The need is great, the moral imperative is even greater.  
Africa can be wonderful, vibrant and somehow peaceful and happy whilst suffering terribly from scourges such as AIDS, corruption, appalling health problems, and of course grinding poverty. But people are resourceful, courageous, determined - once given the opportunity.

It is possible to enjoy the beauty, but equally impossible to ignore what needs to be changed, what we can give.

If you get the chance, do go. You will not regret it.
PS The 'swiss cheesmaker' is meant to read swiss cheese (PAUSE)  maker! Yes, I am sensitive about my origins being misrepresented and do not disavow them!! I guess Australian swiss cheese maker was just too much for Herman the Dutch writer of the web site. By the way, have a look at particularly at the PROJECTS drop down menu. You might find something you can offer.

Hope all is well.   Best Wishes, Julian

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MamboViewPoint eco lodge, a new approach for sustainable development and tourism

MamboViewPoint is owned by social entrepreneurs Marion Neidt and Herman Erdtsieck. They travelled through many continents, cooperated with various development agencies and saw very many development projects. In the end they felt unhappy with the often very poor or even counterproductive results of many aid projects and all the money that went to expensive overhead, offices and 4x4 cars.

All previous experiences resulted in a plan for a new approach. The basic idea was to create a permanent socio-economic stable base in a poor area and to start regional development from there. In our vision development is not based on unconditional aid but should be achieved by empowering people, building capacities, giving them ideas and information, knowledge, expertise and support them in obtaining tools. As our current experience learns it sometimes only needs a little push to enable people to pull themselves out of poverty. There are some important features in our concept. First, development is not a one item issue like f.e. education because in the end everything is interlinked. For example, when children are educated but there is no work in the end, it is likely to lead only to depopulation of the area but no improvement. Second, development can best be based on practical experience people already have and try to improve quality of products and give it added value instead of selling raw materials. Third, there is always a reason why projects fail or fall apart. The fact that we wanted to have permanent base and become part of the village gives the opportunity for in-depth understanding of optional failures and make together with the population the right adjustments in time.

After a fact-finding mission early 2008 MamboViewPoint eco lodge was established in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. It is situated on a beautiful spot near Mambo, which is an area with many opportunities but the population has an average income below the poverty line.

For the hart of the project is chosen for a lodge because in Tanzania tourism is one of the main income sources. Moreover, for the project it is very important to have an inviting place for people from abroad who can bring knowledge and assistance.

MamboViewPoint is an example for sustainable and responsible tourism. Though the owners are from abroad, there is a strong connection with the local community. Employees, building materials and food are as much as possible from local origin.
Moreover the lodge offers a meeting place for people from all over the world including the local people where they can enjoy their holiday in a family atmosphere.

What makes MamboViewPoint special is the associated foundation which is in charge of the various projects that target various development issues. Because of the stable position of the lodge and the many volunteers and guests who contribute to the project, it is possible to spend 100% of the received aid money on the projects without overhead costs. This is an essential difference compared to what we see at other places where only for example 10% of the profits are spent on community projects. With our concept we are able to do far more.

The MamboViewPoint approach

In the first place the lodge is a steady centre for all the activities. This is not for a limited amount of time but without end. The fact that the owners of the lodge are living permanently in Mambo, created a strong bond already with the local inhabitants because the lodge and its owners are facing the same problems as they do. The cooperation of the village and the lodge creates a bigger potential to solve existing and upcoming problems.
In the second place, the lodge is built with local people. Over 650 women and 350 men worked in shifts for one and a half year. This made the lodge to a kind of product of the people around and gave them the first income and skills.

In the third place the lodge is not a goal in itself but is a vehicle to create development. Experience learned that it is important that the spill of the project is a lodge. It brings many people from all over the world who can contribute with their skills, funding. knowledge and relations. They see with their own eyes existing problems discuss about optional solutions, afterwards see the result of their contribution and stay updated regarding the impact. Nevertheless to actively contribute is not an obligation, only having a nice holiday is already supporting local development because their stay brings work, sales-opportunities and money for the region.

In the fourth place the projects and professionals for the projects are only for a small part financed by the lodge. What the lodge provides is ideas, contacts, the necessary infrastructure and (most important) an eye on the projects once the volunteers who helped to achieve certain goals are gone. We can, together with the people concerned, help to make the necessary adjustments that are needed if specific problems might occur. This ensures the feasibility and effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken.

In the fifth place, the focus is to create added value to the things which are already there. Like making cheese from milk, biogas from cow dung, juice from fruits that are already growing etc. All not in big projects but by encouraging people to start their own business.

In the sixth place MamboViewPoint is an eco lodge which means that the footprint which it is leaving behind is as small as possible by using as much as possible solar power, natural building materials, local produced food and most important, being close to the local people and taking care they are benefiting and not exploited.

About the MamboViewPoint approach and the aid industry

Since Tanzania belongs to the poorest countries in the world but the political and economical climate is positive, it is a beloved target for many aid organisations. This causes  a main stream  from aid funds and many projects concerning public matters which actually should be done by the government. Combined with the present corruption this is resulting in a huge spill of aid money and a not optimal governmental system with, especially on individual level, other targets than the development of the country.

All this resulted in an “aid industry” where even volunteers have to pay a lot of money f.e. to work in an orphanage. MamboViewPoint does not want to be a part of this aid industry but chose for the approach like it is explained before.

This makes it worthwhile to  donate to the project since none or only a little money from donated amounts is lost and the results are very visible and projects keep being monitored. Many guests of MamboViewPoint realized this and are contributing to the projects.

About MamboViewPoint and the tourist industry.

A main part of the tourist in Tanzania are heading for the well known hotels and tour operators. Often those are owned by foreign companies which supply food and other needs and staff from far and even the profits go abroad again. A well known saying is “the only thing which is left for local people is the dust from the cars if tourist come or go”

MamboViewPoint is trying to optimize the profit of tourism for local benefit by involving as much as possible the local sources. Employing local staff, purchasing local products and food and being under the national tax system.

For detailed information about MamboViewPoint eco lodge:

For detailed information about MamboSteunPunt foundation: