Shoe project pairs Decorah, Moshi clubs

Thanks to an article in The Rotarian magazine, a relationship between the Decorah and Moshi Rotary clubs and the travels of two intrepid Decorah Rotarians, children in Moshi, Tanzania now have sandals that adjust to five sizes and help protect them from soil-transmitted diseases.

Decorah Rotarian Ward Budweg helps   
a primary school student
try on new shoes. 




When the January 2016 Rotary magazine published an article about the sturdy leather and rubber “shoes that grow” developed by Utah Rotarian Kenton Lee, it spurred the Decorah club to action. They knew through club member Jeff Tomlinson that many children in Moshi cannot afford shoes or they wear tattered, outgrown shoes.

Tomlinson had visited Moshi in 2014 as part of a volunteer project and while there attended the Moshi Rotary Club meetings and developed a friendship with club officer Mama Lucy Renju. Spring forward to 2016, when Decorah Rotarians Ward Budweg and Darrel Branhagan and their spouses were planning a biking trip to Tanzania that would include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. When the Decorah club decided to purchase 120 pairs of the sandals to distribute through the Moshi club, Tomlinson coordinated project details between the two groups. Since Moshi is the closest city to Mount Kilimanjaro, it was convenient for Budweg and Branhagan to deliver the shoes.

In September, Darrell and his wife, Betty, packed the more than 100 pounds of shoes into three bags, then lugged them through U.S. airports and loaded them into taxis in Africa until reaching Arusha, Tanzania, where they met up with Ward and his wife, Jacki.
Moshi Rotarians met the group in Arusha and provided transportation to Moshi. Branhagan and Budweg distributed the shoes at a school where the Moshi club has ongoing projects.

“The members of the Moshi club were super and had everything perfectly coordinated,” said Darrell.

Read the story that inspired the Decorah project.