Jerry Thames, now 74, lives in Johns Creek and can’t forget the hopelessness he saw in the eyes of the children when he first visited Karansi, Tanzania. The tiny village near the base of Kilimanjaro had been nearly devastated by disease and drought. The children and widows were impacted the most. Jerry, a high-level business executive known for developing solutions to complex problems, knew the situation was dire and that an immediate intervention was required. “I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, but I knew that something had to be done,” says Jerry. “We couldn’t just abandon these people.”
That “something” transpired into a 20-year partnership between the people of Karansi and a group of people from Johns Creek, mostly from Perimeter Church, where Jerry and other stakeholders of the ministry attend. The Tanzanian Ministry was launched and nurtured out of Perimeter Church and Perimeter Christian School, before organizing as a separate 501(c)3, now called Ubora. Ubora means “excellence” in Swahili.
Throughout the years, the impact of the ministry has been felt both in Johns Creek and in Tanzania as the two communities have bonded as a family.
What began as a humanitarian rescue mission, evolved to become a comprehensive effort to lift the village of Karansi and its people toward sustainability through five areas of impact—education, health, business and agriculture, community and child sponsorship.
“It hasn’t been an easy go because the problems we are dealing with are cultural and systemic,” said Jerry. “We continue to figure it out along the way."
“Karansi sits in the valley of Kilimanjaro, yet the people there don’t aspire to climb one of the most magnificent mountains in the world, even though it’s right in their back yards,” explained Dave Burgess, President of Ubora. “Life is about survival for many of our friends in Tanzania. Our work there is to give a hand up to enable healthy and holistic community transformation.”
July Climb of Kilimanjaro
To help raise awareness and generate funding for Ubora’s work in Tanzania, friends and supporters will travel to Tanzania for a real climb of 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro July 1-11. The climb is through Zara Tours, a leading expedition company in Tanzania. Spaces are still open for interested parties wishing to join the climb. Ubora also has a number of sponsorship opportunities available for those wishing to support the climb.