COLOURFUL SHIRTS AND FRIENDSHIP TREE

This spring some people escaped the cold temperatures of Würzburg , having been invited by the City of Mwanza . As they arrived there on February 20th , 2009, they they were warmly welcomed by the Lord Mayor Leonard Bihondo. 20 persons from Würzburg had come to meet the people of Mwanza to get to know their partners better.

 

The climax of the official visit was the planting of palm-trees on Würzburg Road in Mwanza. The delegation had brought along 1200 € to finance the planting of 200 palm-trees altogether. Würzburg Road is a busy street leading to Bugando Hospital.

Interview with LM Bihondo and M. StolzTree number one was planted by Mayor Marion Schäfer and the Lord Mayor of Mwanza, Leonard Bihondo, it was named Friendship Tree. The second tree was planted by Derek Mitchell, a representative of the Irish Wicklow county, where Würzburg’s twin-town Bray is situated; so this one got the name Triangle Tree. The next tree was planted by Michael Stolz and his wife Benita, their tree was named Mwanza Association Tree. The fourth one, Africa Festival Tree, was planted by some staff of the “Africa Festival”, which takes place in Würzburg each year. The planting of the palm-trees aroused interest of the media. Michael Stolz, Marion Schäfer and Lord Mayor Leonard Bihondo were interviewed quite often. The Mwanza tree-planting was even mentioned on TV.

In the streets of Mwanza there is a big social problem with homeless children and youngsters. They are helpedT-shirts presented at Mwanza by Upendo-Daima. Its project manager is Marga van Barschot from Holland. The co-workers address the children in the streets, others are taken to Upendo-Daima by their parents being unable to care for their children. From there they go to school or finish their professional education; they do their homework there and get fed. They live in simple houses (one is called Würzburg House). Outdoors you can find a huge cooker powered by solar energy, a present of the Umweltstation (environment watch station) Würzburg. The Würzburg group absolved a considerably large program , among others they visited a school for disabled children, a centre for leprosy and the fire-brigade of Mwanza, where an old fire engine from Würzburg is being used.

A special event was the visit of Sukuma Museum at Bujora Cultural Centre, where the performances of drumming and dancers especially impressed the representatives of Africa Festival.

Finally Lord Mayor Leonard Bihondo invited everybody to a dinner, where he thanked heartily for their engagement. He thanked Michael Stolz and his wife Benita and Eva-Maria Barklind-Schwander from Würzburg International Office, who had organized the complete journey.

After crossing the Serengeti National Park, most members of the group stopped by in Moshi. There is Kilimandjaro Medical Centre where Dr. Bernd Köhler is head of an infusion project, which deeply impressed the visitors. At this plant special infusions are embottled at very affordable prices. They are used in more than 80 African hospitals.

Right now a fourth classroom is being built, but Dr. Köhler is a bit unhappy because of money being short notoriously. He, therefore, hopes for financial support.

Report by Karl Georg Rötter, translated by Hanne Bellemann-Benkert
Originally published in German in Volksblatt/Mainpost 11./12.3.2009

 

 

 

 

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