My husband Mike and I were among the first group of volunteers to go to Tanzania with the Williams in 1988. I am a Physician Assistant and worked in the office with Dr. Irving Williams. I heard that he took all his vacation in July every year and went to Tanzania to work and I was bowled over. I continue to this day to be bowled over by the Williams and their organization.
In the 1970's they took their 4 children and moved to Tanzania, he, a pediatrician and his wife, Elvira, an educator. He said they "wanted to give back". When they returned and settled in the Washington, DC area, they continued their work by founding this organization. AHEAD is their life. They give everything to their life's work. Their home is outfitted to be a meeting place, classroom, storage facility and headquarters of their organization. They are the most unassuming, altruistic, giving and truly "good" people I know.
THE ORGANIZATION IS ENTIRELY RUN BY VOLUNTEERS. Every year they take volunteers who work WITH the African people, who have the energy and willingness, but lack the supplies and information. AHEAD started not by going into the village and telling the people what they were going to do for them, but by asking them what they needed done. The first thing this pediatrician and his teacher wife did at the Kishapu clinic was build a water catchment/containment facility. Dr. Williams said the medical people spent the first two hours every day walking five miles to get water for the clinic, and that is what they wanted done.
In 1988, I spent the months before we left getting donations from the drug company representatives of medicines that we could take with us. I personally packed them in my car, drove them to the Williams' house, packed them, flew with them to Tanzania, loaded them into the truck, unpacked them in Kishapu, and then saw the woman with terrible arthritis who had walked 2 hours to get to the clinic and waited 4 hours to see me, and I gave her 10 Advil. She kissed my hand. I cried. It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
Mike and I also helped the villagers to put screens on all the windows to prevent malaria carrying mosquitos from getting into the clinic and OB delivery room. We did a survey in the village at the market place to see what fruits and vegetables were available and what they cost, to give AHEAD an idea of what would grow in the area and was affordable to the people. Subsequent groups helped plant gardens, and establish solar energy so the clinic could have a refrigerator to keep vaccines and light for night time emergencies and deliveries. They took a Toyota to replace the bicycle pulling the cart that served as the "ambulance" taking emergencies to the hospital 2 hours away.
Mike and I have retired and moved away. The Williams carry on. We help them financially with what we can. If you want to give to an organization where 100 % of your donation goes to do the good work, this is the one. If you want your life changed forever, your frame of reference on life altered forever, then call them and go with them.
NINE YEARS AGO MY COLLEGE AGE DAUGHTER WAS A 5 WEEK VOLUNTEER WITH PROJECT AHEAD INCOOPERATED. SHE WAS AN ADVANTAGED CHILD WHO RETURNED SEEKING OUT WAYS TO HELP OTHERS. SHE HAS BEEN A BIG SISTER TO A TEEN IN ATLANTA AND WORKS IN THRIFT SHOPS FOR HOMELESS SHELTERS AND MODELS FOR NONPROFIT FASHONING SHOWS. SHE SITS ON THE BOARD OF A NON PROFIT THINK TANK AND WORKS 40 HOURS A WEEK AS A TV REPORTER.
SHE HAS HOSTED A JAZZ FESTIVAL FOR AHEAD INC. TO GIVE BACK. SHE WAS IN 5 WEEKS A GIVING PERSON JUST FROM TEACHING AFRICAN STUDENTS , PAINTING A SCHOOL HOUSE AND TEACHERS QUARTERS AND MENTORING STUDENTS. WITH PROJECT AHEAD SHE SLEPT IN TENTS AND USED THE HOLE IN THE GROUND TOILET. SOMEDAYS, SHE SAID THAT SHE HAD NOTHING TO EAT BUT IT BROUGHT HER IN TOUCH THE STUDENTS AND HOW WASTEFUL AND NEEDLESSLY DISSATISFIED WE ARE IN AMERICA.
I WENT WITH AHEAD INC. THIS AUGUST, NO, I DIDN'T SLEEP IN A TENT AND I HAD ENDLESS ROLLS OF TOILET PAPER BUT THE EXPERIENCE WAS THE SAME. I WENT TO MUHAMBILI HOSPITAL THE NATIONAL TERTIARY CARE HOSPITAL TO VOLUNTEER. I AM A PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGIST AND THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHERS IN THE COUNTRY. THEY ARE BOTH AT THE TEACIHING HOSPITAL. TOGETHER WE DIAGNOSED T.B. PERICARDITIS AND RHEMATIC VALVE DISEASE IN A LITTLE GIRL WITH MARFAN'S.
I SAW LITTLE BLUE BABIES AND ONE WITH A BIG HOLE IN THE HEART BOTH WAITING TO BE FLOWN TO ANOTHER COUNTRY FOR SURGERY. ONE LITTLE BOY AND A HEART DEFECT THAT WAS NOT DIAGNOSED THEN SUFFERED AN INFECTION IN HIS HEART FROM POOR DENTAL CARE. HE DIED THE NIGHT HE WAS DIAGNOSED. IF APPROPIATE CARE IN HIS VILLAGE WERE AVAILABLE IT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. THESE ARE THE CHILDREN WHO WERE CARRIED ON A PARENT'S BACK FOR MILES TO DAR ES SAALAM. AS SUCH, THEY ARE ALSO CARRIED IN THE HOSPITAL AS THERE WERE NO PEDIATRIC WHEEL CHAIRS. WHEN THERE ARE MANY ADMISSIONS, THE CHILDREN SLEEP TWO IN A BED WITH THEIR PARENTS. RHEUMATIC FEVER, MALARIA, HIV AND DIARRHEA ARE CONSIDED COMORBID DISEASES TO BE EXPECTED WITH THE APPENDICITS, ECT. PROJECT AHEAD PURPOSELY PLACED THEMSELVES OUT IN THE RURAL AREAS TO IMPACT DISEASE PREVENTION. TAZANIA NEEDS TO DEVELOPE ITS REGIONAL MEDICAL SERVICES AND EARLY REFERRAL PROGRAM AS WELL AS LEVEL THREE MEDICAL CARE. I WILL RETURN WITH MEDICAL COLLEGES TO HELP. I LEFT A EXCELLANT TEACHING MANUSCRIPT ON FETAL ECHOCARDIOLOGY FOR DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT. I HOPE THAT WILL IMPACT DELIVERY OF TERTIARY CARE.
IN MY US CITY, I VOLUNTEER IN A MEDICAL NOT FOR PROFIT, ENCOURAGING STUDENTS INTERESTED IN MEDICAL CAREERS AND TEACHING AT SCHOOLS. WE HAV A HEALTH FAIR FOR UNINSURED. THE KEY TO A ORGANIZATION THAT USES ITS FUNDS MAXIMALLY TO HELP THE MOST PEOPLE IS PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT OF THE DIRECTORS IN PROJECTS. THE DIRECTORS OF AHEAD AE ALWAYS THERE AND THINKING OF THE BRIDGE TO THE NEXT PROJECT. I HVE READ THE PREVIOUS REVEIWERE AND PERSONALLY KNOW THAAT THE PROGRAM DESCRIBED ARE REAL AND BIGGER THAN LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE OF RURAL TANZANIA.
Since 1985, AHEAD, Inc. (Adventures in Health Education and Agricultural Development, Inc.) has been at the forefront of developing and implementing programs to eliminate poverty, diseases, illiteracy, and, improve the quality of life for individuals. Since its inception, AHEAD has relied on the generosity of volunteers to help decrease high infant and child mortality; immunize millions of children; reduce the incidence of malnutrition; and provide pre-natal care for women, as well as provide educational opportunities for orphans and other vulnerable children.
As our president would say, “We are delighted about, and grateful to volunteers who have joined us in this mission. We invite others to join us in this essential work. We know that if you do, the experiences will be a part of your pleasant memories for a long time to come. We invite you to peruse the AHEAD, Inc. Website (www.aheadinc.org) to learn more about what we do. We invite you to think about innovative ideas and ways to strengthen and extend AHEAD, Inc.’s scope and to share those ideas with us electronically (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by contacting the office 9301-530-3697).”