Cultural Exchange

Welcome Shadrack Nyaulingo, Headmaster of the Pomerini Secondary School

In May 13, 2017, Mr. Shadrack Nyaulingo, Headmaster of the Pomerini Secondary School, visited us for two weeks as part of our Africa Exchange Project. He updated us on our efforts to bring fresh water, improve education and expand health care to the rural village of Pomerini and surrounding villages. Since his return to Pomerini, Shadrack has effectively guided the use of our funds in construction at the secondary school and kept us informed on our renovations at the health care dispensary. To see an overview of recent developments there and other important developments at the school click here.

The highlight of Mr. Shadrack’s visit took place on Saturday, May 20, 2017. It was a wonderful evening, especially for fans of programs like The Moth where “stories are told live and without notes.” Hosted by Fugitive Stories, our theme was “Unexpected.” Stories came from both professional storytellers and from within the Africa Exchange Project.

During Mr. Shadrack’s visit and throughout 2017, we have focused on our ongoing three objectives: water, education, healthcare. Having drilled 42 fresh water wells, throughout the region, we are circling back to ensure the long-term health of that investment. We have begun flushing under performing wells and have begun underwriting efforts to improve water storage. With greater access to water, we have witnessed an increase in school enrollment — both in the primary and secondary schools.  More students means more teachers and administrative support. Just as here in the United States, all our gains can be undone by illness or poor health. Therefore an important part of our work is to improve the services offered at the Medical Dispensary.

To learn more about our 2017 fund-raising goals see the attached flyer.


How this Cultural Exchange Got Started

n 1998 Bob Ahearn, then one of the congregation of Plymouth Church, traveled to the Kilolo district in the Iringa region of Tanzania on a life changing journey. Bob realized that with a little help and with love, lives could be transformed. After several solo trips Bob was joined by Peter Cook, Plymouth Church’s Senior Minister for a visit in 2005. And from this our roots in cultural exchange were born. Seventeen member so Plymouth including seven youth of traveled there in 2007, where they discovered that the only source of water for the community was a contaminated river three miles away. Since 2007, the Africa Exchange Project has been committed to bringing fresh water to Pomerini and the surrounding communities by installing simple mechanical wells near the homes and schools in the community. Our work soon extended to supporting school program, and eventually to providing support to the dispensary. These efforts continue to grow.

In 2008, we brought a choir from this village to Massachusetts, to perform in dozens of concerts, raising money to support the drilling of these wells. Check out our Music section to learn more about this connection.

Over the years several individuals from that region have visited us. These have included clergy from the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the supervisor of well drilling operations in the area, and teachers from the primary school. Several church families have visited in Iringa and Pomerini and have been warmly welcomed in their homes and throughout their community.

Meet Aisha and the Compassion Program at the Kihesa Lutheran Church

We are delighted to introduce our friend, Aisha Bomba from Iringa, Tanzania. Aisha is an eleven year old orphaned child. We met Aisha through Compassion Program International. Compassion helps disadvantaged children throughout the world with safe and secure housing, food and clothing along with providing education and other things all the world's kids deserve. Aisha is connected to us through the Kihesa congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iringa. This church is led by Pastor Sagga, formerly the Pastor of the church in Pomerini. The Children's Ministry Council at Plymouth Church UCC supports Aisha though biweekly donations. We are thrilled that Aisha is living with a family now. She is very happy and doing great in school.


Our Exchange Project Trip in 2015

Travel Group

In July 2015, a group of 14 adults and young people traveled to Africa, to continue to build and deepen our relationship with the people of Pommerin. We were able to check in first hand with on-going projects and the people we support, to listen to the village leaders about ways in which we can continue to help their community thrive, and to take part in projects including installing a new well, teaching, and building maintenance. As we debrief from this trip and regather our focus and our energies, we will reinvigorate our fundraising efforts so that we can continue to offer our assistance with well drilling and education funding. We are also exploring ways in which we can assist with the medical dispensary in Pomerini to help sustain healthy families and build healthy communities.

Plans are currently underway to bring the Headmaster of the Pomerini Secondary School and one of the doctors from the dispensary over for a visit in May 2017.