- Jun 21, 2007
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Wachovia Corp. (WB:NYSE)
Charlotte man helps villagers get fresh water: 2 pumps he raised money for installed at orphanage in Tanzania [The Charlotte Observer, N.C.]
Dec. 16--During John Mashaka's most recent trip to Tanzania, one of two water pumps he purchased had been installed at an orphanage there. Many of the villagers had to walk several miles for fresh water, he said.
When the pump was turned on, the children in the orphanage began jumping up and down, screaming, "U.S.A. U.S.A.," said Mashaka, who lives in Charlotte and emigrated from Tanzania in 1997.
It's been more than a year since he returned to Tanzania and began raising money for residents. He began his efforts after hearing from his cousin, then a student at a university there, about the conditions of a local orphanage. Many children didn't have enough food, and their living quarters were poor.
Mashaka collected donations from his colleagues at Wachovia, and he fasted to raise money and awareness. While in Africa last year, he vowed help the people get fresh water in their village.
He raised money and emptied his savings to return to Tanzania again, at the end of August, to deliver a water pump from the United States and buy one there. He received about half the money for the pumps from co-worker Catherine McKinney.
"They were extremely grateful," Mashaka said of the villagers. "They didn't know what it was at first until it was being tested. When they realized what it was, they couldn't figure out how people who had never seen them would help send them water."
He also delivered supplies to several hospitals, including a health care center for children with HIV. At Shirati Hospital, he met a woman whose son had meningitis. She could not afford the $75 treatment that could save his life. Mashaka conferred with doctors and paid for treatment, not only for the boy, but for nearly 90 other children.
Mashaka said he tries to encourage others, especially young people, to give of themselves. It is a humbling experience when you see such conditions, he added. "We have so much privilege (in America)," he said. "... If we contribute all we have, no one would be suffering."You can't do this work to get anything in return. The satisfaction is knowing that you gave someone hope. Money is insignificant, but the knowledge of hope, honesty and determination is what you are really giving people."
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