Life in Africa, much like the rest of the world, is beginning to return to “normal” post pandemic. Tourism is on the rise and hotels in Karatu are filling up. This is great news for the local economy, but it means MGRC has to move out of the hotel we have been leasing sooner than expected.
In addition, we learned that the girls cannot change schools mid-year (the Tanzanian school year starts in January) due to the national exams 10 of our girls will be taking at the end of 2023. While at the hotel, the girls are attending the local school. However, our permanent home is in a different, and significantly better, school district.
For these reasons, moving the girls to their permanent home by the end of this year has become urgent. In fact, the girls need to be enrolled in their new school by November 2022 and living on the property before school starts in January.
Consequently, we need to build at least two of the ten planned homes now. Though not ideal, we will temporarily use the common areas of these homes for dormitory-style sleeping, in addition to putting more girls in each bedroom. The two homes will be used primarily for sleeping, while most other activities take place in the multi-purpose complex. Construction of the two houses will take about 4 months.
It’s hard to imagine fitting 34 into a space designed for 14, but it is a temporary solution until we are able to raise the funds to build the rest of the homes. The long-term plan is still to build 10 houses, which will double the number of girls we are able to rescue. Each 5-bedroom house is designed for 12 girls and two house-mothers to live in a family environment. There are three bedrooms and a large community bathroom for the girls, and a bedroom and bathroom for each house mother. There is a large living room, a kitchen and eating area, and a room for studying.
The last year and a half brought many positive changes for MGRC. When we purchased land in the Karatu region on which to build our ecoVillage and farm, it was a blessing to find a hotel and restaurant space to lease that were unused due to the pandemic. The time we spent here allowed us to focus on building the security wall and getting the farm fully operational. The multi-purpose complex, which includes the kitchen needed to feed 60 girls, is close to being finished. We can now move our attention to the girls’ permanent homes.
Each house will cost $127,000. This is a lot of money but, for a 4,069 square foot house, it comes out to only $31 a square foot.