Behind the Scenes: President Bush in Arusha, Tanzania

Posted by Nancy Brinker
February 18, 2008
President Bush in Arusha, Tanzania

This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.Arusha, Tanzania

On Monday we arrived in Arusha, Tanzania and went directly to Meru District Hospital. The streets were lined with many supporters who are very appreciative of what President Bush has done for their people.

The Meru District Hospital was founded in 1968 as a rural health center and upgraded to a hospital in 1986. The hospital is a President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) partner that participates in all related health facility-based programs. The Reproductive and Child Health Clinic provides prenatal and postnatal services, vaccinations, and an outpatient department for women and children. The clinic treats approximately 1,300 malaria cases per month and provides prenatal care to approximately 550 women per month. The facility issues approximately 225 bed net vouchers to pregnant women per month. The clinic also provides voluntary HIV counseling and testing, Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission services (PMTCT), and HIV/AIDS care and treatment services.

To date, more than 3 million bed net vouchers have been distributed in Tanzania, roughly 1.9 million from PMI. The vouchers allow recipients to purchase bed nets from private retailers at a 75 percent discount. This hospital has almost 40,000 patients come through yearly. USAID senior project manager, fifty-three-year-old Patrick Swai, said mothers and children are given vaccinations, checked for Malaria and AIDS, and has been told that cancer screening is to be added soon. We brought bed nets with us today and President and Mrs. Bush passed them out.

We then visited the A to Z textile mill where we were briefed on the creation of the bed nets. The new nets last longer – up to five to seven years and this program has been very successful here. The President announced new steps in the bed net campaign. Within the next six months, the United States and Tanzania, in partnership with the World Bank and the Global Fund, will begin distributing 5.2 million free bed nets. This ambitious nationwide program will provide enough nets to protect every child between the ages of one and five in Tanzania.

We could see Mount Kilimanjaro from where we were. It is called Killy by the young people. The farms are small and carefully tended and one can only imagine the hopes and dreams of the farmers as their survival is based on this years crops. The weather because of the altitude is cooler than Dar se Salaam and along the road new hotels seem to be opening as well as tourist sites.

We then traveled to the Maasai Girls School where President and Mrs. Bush gave books to the students. Once again the roads are lined with children, mothers and many young boys.

When we arrived at the school we were entertained by the Maasai Tribe. The girls sang to us and thanked President Bush for the support to learn and be educated. They sang their praise and said education is the opportunity they need not to have to marry at this age.

Sister Mary Vertucci started this school 1998. She challenged us to make sure the school remains culturally acceptable and the men become supportive. Being educated and being a wife are not mutually exclusive.

Check out this article from Reuters about the school:



New York, USA
February 24, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Really sad ...a mad and futile dash for positive imagery and legacy in the final months of 2 terms.

Even the Bush Global AIDS program was self-sabotaged by religiosity, moralizing and puritantical caveats.

Way too little, woefully, too late

United States
February 21, 2008

Zharkov writes:

While the fluff and pomp are befitting a king, Americans want to know what kind of promises Mr. Bush is making while he is touring Africa.

How much is it going to cost us this time?

How can the federal government continue to borrow money from China and Saudi Arabia at U.S. taxpayer expense in order to make gifts of this money to Africa?

Why are American taxpayers being fleeced to pay for grandiose gestures by our now-bankrupt government?

Texas, USA
February 22, 2008

Rachel in Texas writes:

Africa is such a beautiful land with a people who care fiercely for one another when their own political divisiveness does not get in the way. It is admirable and just that America maintain her stance of aid for development and education in Africa.

Sometimes, I think we forget that we still have a relatively short history compared to the continents across the Atlantic. During our time as a nation, Africa has been through much, as a whole, and individual countries have been through more civil wars and governing institutions than can be counted on two hands.

Despite its travails, the countries of Africa have managed to maintain a place in world economics that has earned them the respect and aid of stronger nations.

America realizes that stability and growth only occur when the people are educated and happy and I hope that America will remain a staunch supporter as long as the countries of Africa work toward this end and desire our aid.

New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Here's your answer Zarkov,

( excerpt from a recent interview )

Yes, Rog.

Q I want to go back to Africa -- you talked about Americans and their generosity --

THE PRESIDENT: What's that?

Q Americans and their generosity. What do you think that Americans think of your trip?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't have any idea. What are you writing about it? I don't know what they think of it. Ask another question. I really don't know. I'm focused on the trip.

When I get home, I pick up a book and start reading it, and I'm sound asleep shortly thereafter. So I'm not -- I don't know. I really don't know.

MRS. BUSH: -- depends on what you all are showing.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. I hope they think -- here's what I hope they think: It's worthwhile to be supportive of a robust policy on the continent of Africa. It's worth our national security interest and it's worth our interest to help people learn to read and write and save babies' lives from mosquito bites. That's what I hope they realize, and that's one of the main -- that's a critical reason to go on the trip. I would hope that the country never says, well, it's not worth it over there, what happens over there -- or it says, well, we've got to take care of our own first, exclusively.

And my answer is, we can do both. We're a generous country. And we do, do both.

-end excerpt-

Well then Zarkov, since you seem to think that saving a buck is more important than saving a life, that being the case you simply have no concept of what being American is all about.

United States
February 24, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Poor Eric. He doesn't understand that the federal government went bankrupt from giving away money. It has to borrow in order to spend because it can't print paper dollars fast enough to keep up with the spending, and Eric pays interest on the borrowed money out of taxes which are rising.

There is currently no American money left for gifts to Africa, Eric; Mr. Bush is exchanging the future income of your children, and their children for the illusory goal of "helping Africa." And what of the billions of dollars already given away to Africa? When you see pictures of poor African villages, do you see any paved roads, sewer systems, running water, or modern infrastructure? Of course not - most of the U.S. aid money previously handed over to African governments went into private Swiss bank accounts and French shopping sprees, and some might even have been spent in the larger cities for a few improvements necessary to keep the illusion alive that it is all somehow useful "to save the people".

The concept of "being an American" means respecting the American constitutional limit on federal power by not making illegal gifts of taxpayer revenue or going into bankruptcy to make us feel better about ourselves.

America's first colonies were as poor as Africa. America didn't prosper because of donations from liberals. It prospered from trade - today we call it "economic freedom".

This new idea of the federal government promoting the general welfare of the world is not one of those powers given to it by the constitution and if you want to consider the constitution "just a damn piece of paper," you are not being a real American.

A real American doesn't spit on our founding documents, bankrupt our country, devalue our dollar, send our jobs to China, hold hands with our enemies, destroy our liberty, and then borrow against our credit to make foreign government officials and their followers wealthy, and then brainwash our citizens into believing that any of this is helping the poor. World socialism is truly a mental disorder.


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