Thank you Erin Meade from Anchorage, AK, for your generous donation to Tanzania Education Corporation. Through your amazing gift, we now have ELEVEN new globes at Tumaini Junior School!
I unpacked the globes yesterday with the help of school Principal, Allan. They’re a lovely addition to the library and will first be enjoyed by the Standard VII students who return to school today!!!
ALSO, A BIG thank you to Barb, Sadie, Bridget and Laura, our rock star volunteers, whose 12 days of help proved invaluable. They organized the library with school librarian Jimmy, led a special health education talk/seminar one evening with the Standard VII female students, joined me in taking groups of sponsored kids to nearby FAME for medical check-ups, enjoyed several cultural tours in/around Karatu, and Bridget (An English teacher with 7 years experience) even worked on professional development with the Tumaini teachers one afternoon. Without their help, the library would not have been so utilized AND appreciated! Each day the students literally raced to the second floor library! Asanteni SANA!!
These amazing women also spent time at nearby Shalom Orphanage, where they enjoyed time with the 62 children and the dedicated staff. Their generosity extended to a market visit where we bought a two week supply of beans, oranges, and some needed household items for Shalom!
Special Note: We are continually accepting donations of subject books for each grade level at Tumaini. These books are only available in Tanzania and range from $4-6/book. If you would like to help us expand this collection, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. –Charles William Eliot
Last week, as posted on Facebook, The Melrose School of Brewster, NY, donated its entire library to Tumaini Junior School! We received this fantastic connection through our friends at UNITE The World With Africa, Anne Wells, Page Bowler, and the Warren Family (UNITE TOUR Clients). Carol Hall of the Tanzania Education Corporation and Gould Academy’s Sara Shifrin packed up 80 boxes of books with the help of some volunteers, and we will begin bringing the books over in the next few months with volunteers traveling to Tanzania! Already UNITE has a number of second suitcases accounted for! If you are traveling to Tanzania and interested in carrying second suitcases on our behalf, please let me know.
In order to make room for these new books in our library, we have enlisted the help of four volunteers* from NY who are currently visiting Karatu, as well as some very eager-to-help students and our trusted librarian, Jimmy. Over the last few days, we have transformed the library and now utilize the space daily for reading lessons, craft projects such as making bookmarks and creating colorful pictures to decorate the walls, music lessons (we found a xylophone amidst the books!), singing, and for a brief time, a hair salon! The girls braided Bridget and Sadie’s hair! Needless to say, the children, teachers, and volunteers are loving it!
Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to thank the Warren family in person during their visit to Tumaini! Tracy and Andy, and their three children, Caroline, Drew and Lily, spent several hours with us as we toured the school and of course, visited the library. After a brief overview of Tumaini’s history, the children met their partners for the visit: Modesta (Class VI), Deonice (Class V), and Mary (Class IV). For the duration of the afternoon each child was glued to their partners’ side as they exchanged questions and stories about their respective homes, school experiences and hobbies. As the Warrens prepared to depart, promises of being pen pals were made so that the rich cultural exchange they experienced at Tumaini, can continue! A BIG THANK YOUto UNITEand Anne Wells for coordinating such a special visit! (Check out UNITE on Facebook)
*Our volunteers, Barb, Sadie, Bridget and Laura have all been to Tanzania before. Barb and Laura actually volunteered through Journeys of Solutions in 2010, spending time at Tumaini Junior School and Shalom Orphanage. Sadie and Bridget climbed Kili and have previously enjoyed the beautiful landscape and game parks and are thrilled to spend precious time with the children. Our girls at Tumaini are especially enjoying the volunteers’ visit!
Class parties today were fantastic…
(pictures above is a very amusing Class IV)
Classroom blackboards were colorfully decorated. Then the fun continued with cookies, candies and juice, in celebration of the last day of the second term. Shortly before the children were dismissed, an assembly was called and there the top 3 students of each grade were announced! Two of our sponsored pupils finished #1 and #3 in their Standard VI class of 45 students!
Congrats Eliya and Elizabeth!!!
End of Term
The excitement is palpable here at Tumaini Junior School.
The teachers began preparing the end of term exams several weeks ago, which another volunteer, Andrew*, and I helped to type. As we copied the Mathematics questions, I sighed audibly, grateful I did not have to calculate the division and subtraction equations dealing with fractions! I’m positive the Standard VII students scored higher than I could have!
Most of last week the children worked tirelessly to complete these exams and now are enjoying the finals days of the term before class parties this Friday! The teachers have been pouring over the exams with red pen in hand and seem equally as excited that the end of another successful term is upon us. By Thursday, the test results should be out!
For now, the afternoons are filled with echoes of laughter, interspersed with whistles, drums, recorders, singing and dancing as every grade perfects its presentations for the big September graduation once the Standard VII children complete the National Exam (more below).
*Stay tuned for more details about Andrew’s work in Tanzania
Tumaini will be closed for classes most of August so I’ve have been busy meeting with students who receive sponsorship, writing letters with them as well as looking over their report books and grades. They continue to do well and excel in their classes!
Beginning next Monday, several of the sponsored children as well as ALL Standard VII pupils will remain at Tumaini for two weeks of extra tutoring. Standard VII pupils have especially been working hard for the past three months, preparing for the big National Examination. Students must pass this exam in order to continue onto secondary school. Last year, every pupil from Tumaini passed the examination!
The past few weeks we’ve been working tirelessly to get the temporary library up and running at Tumaini. Thanks to Tumaini’s librarian Jimmy, as well as Sara, a visiting Librarian from the US (and countless others) there are now reference books, chapter books, and plenty of encyclopedias for the children and teachers.
Through a kind donation from a school visitor, we had several book shelves built. The library is set to be moved to the 4th story once construction is complete and the necessary funds are raised!
Note, if you’d like to donate books, Karibu sana 🙂
In the meantime, Happy reading!!
A haiku for you, my friends:
Sunshine so long gone
Lights shining brightly tonight
A new friend we made!
I’ve safely arrived in Tanzania, yay!, though unfortunately my bags decided to take their time. Actually British Airways and Precision Air decided they should. The connection/layover in Nairobi was quite short so I nearly missed the plane myself! Worry you not I ran to the waiting plane on the Tarmac and demanded they open the doors for me. Politely of course and with lots of smiles and “samahani’s” (“sorry” in Kiswahili). Delicate, yes. Fierce, oh yeah!
After landing at Kilimanjaro airport around 1030PM, having traveled for nearly a whole day, I stayed the night at a local lodge . Walking upon the Tarmac to the airport I noticed a large amount of birds and silently thanked God they had remained on the ground as we flew in.
After reporting my missing bags, I headed to Kia Lodge and promptly enjoyed a nice warm shower. I relished being clean for a night before putting my travel clothes back on for the third day in a row…at least my body and hair were clean at some point!
I enjoyed the journey from Moshi to Arusha, where I caught a taxi for Karatu. Along the way I snapped a shot of the sunflowers filling the Tanzanian countryside!
I arrived safely in Karatu Friday afternoon and to my delight there is now a fire pit and wireless Internet at Happy Days, the local pub and oftentimes my office when needing shelter from the dust. It is quite chilly in the mornings and evenings so the past few evenings we have enjoyed fireside discussions, laughter, and recently roasted goat!
Tomorrow I will be surprising the children at the morning assembly…at 730am! Talk about a good morning!
Stay tuned for updates and more photos!! Thanks for reading!
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Anne Wells, founder and CEO of UNITE. UNITE gives people the opportunity to travel to East Africa (currently Tanzania, but soon to be Rwanda too) for safaris. The unique and awesome part of UNITE is that travelers can also have “field visits,” where they meet local people and organizations…and guess what?! Tumaini Junior School is one of UNITE’s partner organizations! What does this mean?! Well, Anne and her team help to ensure that safari-goers not only see the amazing plains and animals of Tanzania but also they can meet the people and see the good work…and hopefully become part of the good work, too!
Check out the write up in the Huffington Post from last week!
-Connect Americans and Tanzanian in meaningful and impactful ways
-Uplift, inspire and transform lives both at home and overseas
-Advance women’s health, education and microfinance programs
-Develop and implement powerful cross-cultural educations programs
-Combat extreme poverty and alleviate suffering
As you may recall, Journeys of Solutions partnered with Tumaini Junior School last year to collect funds to complete a water well in drought-ridden Tanzania. Since last summer, Tumaini has been in desperate need of water to serve the 500+ students and staff members so it is with great joy that I announce we have reached our goal of $23,000.00. Please stay tuned for additional updates and photos of our progress in the coming months. Here’s a photo of where the water will be accessed (just to the left of the blue tarp).
A very special THANK YOU to everyone who donated to this project! We raised $9,000.00 at a November 2011 fundraiser and within the past few weeks, we raised the additional $14,000.00. The water well will be named in honor of my father, John C. Kallop, who has given generously to Tumaini in the past. Sadly, Dad recently lost a very courageous nine-month battle with gastric cancer.
In other news: Earlier this year two JOS volunteers, Heide & Sue, traveled to Tanzania where they spent about two weeks visiting Tumaini Junior School and Shalom Orphanage Centre.
Heide & Sue pictured here in town with two of our students, both named Glory.
Heide & Sue pictured here at Tumaini with the School Director, Mr. Bayo
During their stay, the women taught a health course to the older female students at Tumaini, sat in on several classes and spent time writing letters with the sixteen children in the Child Sponsorship Program. Sue and Heide also brought along donated items, including school supplies from a New Jersey youth group, Saints by the Sea. Here is a photo of (L-R) Head Teacher Allan, School Director Mr. Bayo, JOS’ Tanzanian partner Malikcy and Teacher Jimmy with the donated goods!
Check back soon to read more about Heide’s experience!
Currently, the children are working hard in their second trimester!
Thank you for you continued support 🙂
As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to my blog, feel free to do so in order to stay updated!
A special thanks to all
2011 Supporters of Journeys of Solutions’
Child Sponsorship Program!
Through your partnership and generosity, we had a FANTASTIC year!
- ONE JOS board member visited Tumaini and Shalom in February. Small gifts were presented to our sponsored children and food was purchased for Shalom;
- On TWO separate occasions, a generous JOS donor visited Tumaini—donated jerseys from two Australian soccer clubs were presented to the Tumaini boys’ soccer team and our sixteen children were treated to a safari adventure;
- Tumaini celebrated its first STANDARD SEVEN class graduation in September. Also, the top 5 highest scorers in the Karatu District for the National Standard VII Exam came from Tumaini;
- Our TWO STANDARD IV STUDENTS, Rose and Charles, sat for the National Standard IV Exam;
- THREE YEARS IN A ROW, the children have enjoyed a visit from JOS volunteer, Barbara. During Barbara’s October 2011 visit, our sixteen children received donated school supplies from NY and worked on letter-writing;
- LIVONIA, NY MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS created educational posters for Tumaini classrooms;
- Over EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS was raised at our Photographic Celebration event in November. The monies will go towards various JOS-sponsored projects. For more information, or to purchase a photo book, please visit our website;
- In light of the East Africa drought, its worst in nearly 60 years, JOS committed to helping Tumaini build a water well. This project will help to ensure that the 10,000L water/day needed to serve the 500+ students will be a available! Stay tuned for more news in 2012 as we continue working to complete this project;
- NINE of our students completed their first year at Tumaini and have all shown remarkable progress;
- Tumaini Junior School has been ranked No.1 out of 90 schools in the Karatu District, No.13 out of 528 schools in the seven districts of Arusha region, & No.69 out of 15,051 schools in the entire nation!
Teacher Dismas, our sixteen sponsored children, and my delicate self.
An Additional and Equally Fabulous Announcement:
Journeys of Solutions now offers donor subscriptions so you can donate monthly! Of course, we also accept biweekly, weekly, daily donations…hey, a girl can dream!
ALSO! Hurry and donate before Dec. 31 so that your contribution can be credited to the 2011 year!!
I am always so inspired by students helping other students.
Over the course of my two years expanding the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP), I have come across quite a few students who have shown great interest and enthusiasm in joining us!
Here are three incredible stories:
1. Livonia Middle School students created beautiful posters for the Tumaini classrooms. From animal and plant cells to the human body, numbers and colors (to name but a few!), the posters were amazing. And, mind you, quite a few were in English, Kiswahili and French–the three languages the children learn at Tumaini! Here is a photo of some posters and Head Teacher Allan quizzing some of the younger children!
2. Several months ago I was asked to speak to a youth group near to my hometown. The teens were thrilled to learn more about our work being done in Tanzania. They were motivated to become involved. I’m so excited to see how they decide to partner with us! Here’s a photo of my delicate self with the student liaison, Kelsey.
3. Last year, I was contacted by a high school Key Club group near my hometown with the exciting news they wished to sponsor a child’s education! Since that day last December, the students’ commitment and energy has blown me away! Through several Spaghetti Dinners among other smaller fundraising initiatives, the students have raised more than $3,000.00! Additionally, many of them wrote wonderful notes to the child they support–which I delivered during my November visit to Tanzania. Glory was all smiles and more than ecstatic to respond to several of the students’ questions!
Earlier this week I had the privilege to return to MAST and hand deliver Glory’s responses to the students. As I thanked the students for their inspiring commitment, I reminded them that I too had been a Key Club member and president during my time high school. Dream big, kids!! Also, Key Club President Elizabeth and a Keyport Kiwanis member presented me with a check from their latest fundraiser!
Stay tuned for 2011 Highlights coming in the next few days!!
Last Friday, two celebrations were held: one for the Standard IV graduates and another for the pre-primary level students.
Two of our children, Charles and Rose, completed Standard IV, having sat for the national examination earlier this year. Both were quite excited and were congratulated by their fellow graduates and pupils.
See below for photos of the graduates, along with one of the teachers Madam Christine, and well as Mr. Bayo welcoming the parents to the Standard IV event. Note: initially the festivities were to be held outside but due to the heavy rains(which were still pouring at 9am), the certificate ceremonies were held separately.
I was asked to be a special guest at the Pre-Primary graduation so was lucky enough to hand the little peanuts their completion certificates and shake their hands. It was adorable.
Yesterday was the last official day of school for the 2011 school term.
The children were ecstatic for a holiday and brief break at Shalom. We walked there this morning, lost in conversation and sharing laughs. The children will have just about a day at Shalom before returning to Tumaini for two weeks of extra tutoring. Then back to Shalom for Christmas.
The children took turns with the camera, snapping photos along the way!
Over the past several days, Karatu and other neighboring areas received much rain. Unfortunately there were several fatalities due to the heavy rains.
Some vehicles, one of which was a large truck, was swept away by the flash floods, which picked up as the truck attempted crossing. Crews have been hard at work to fix the bridge which was destroyed by the rains.
As we head to Arusha for the night, Caroline and I passed several of the badly hot areas, some of which still carried remnants of the copious amount of water. Likewise, we drove through mid-covered Tarmac where the water had carried the ground.
In addition to the waters, we had some visits from roadside companions!
Never a dull moment!!
I learned last year that to be told you look “strong” is really just a euphemism for “Baby got back”, “Home girl, you like your food, don’t you?!” or perhaps you’ll even be told you look fat. Forget euphemistic!
Contrary to the NYC life to which I’ve grown accustomed [though haven’t quite embraced, thank you hips] one that is obsessed with thin, thinner and way thin, to have some meat on you here is often considered more beautiful.
Well, yesterday I wore a floor length striped dress that I suppose did the trick, for throughout the day, I received compliments. These comments though, were different from those I’d heard in years past. For example, one friend approached saying, “Where’s your tumbo (“stomach”)? When you were in the US you got thin. In Tanzania you were fat before.”
We both shared a laugh…then I used a choice restroom with the below photo showing…hello
The children are in the their final few days of school so their teachers have been busy with revisions and final grades. The air of excitement as Friday (school closing day) approaches is evident.
In the afternoons I’ve been able to steal some time with the children and have been meeting with them in smaller groups of four. In addition to chatting with them about the school year, I presented them with photo wallets. Given their love for photos–both taking them and being in them–I thought it to be a fun idea. Also since they don’t have many (if any at all), this would be a nice keepsake. Though I only included photos dating back two years, that didn’t seem to matter as their giggles and squeals of delight echoed in the head teacher’s office.
It’s been raining during the night in Karatu. While I love listening to its rhythms on the tin roof, the walk to and from school proves more challenging. To add to the fun, just realized I didn’t pack my beloved foot brush. Karatu 1, the flower 0. Let the games begin!
While preparing for my departure, I dusted off my Kiswahili language guides and resumed listening to practice exercises on my iPod. Though I have been uttering several Kiswahili phrases since my return last year, it was time to get serious! A special thanks to the friends who have flattered me by learning the simple phrases they so often heard from me.
Well, recently, I was out to dinner with friends when we discovered the waiter had lived in France for a bit between living in West Africa and NYC. As my friend urged me to speak en francais, I began the conversation in French but then at the end, rather than saying thank you in French, ‘asante’ (‘Thanks’ in Kiswahili) fell from my lips! I’m sure this will happen a few times in Tanzania as my brain enters second language mode and both French and Kiswahili fight to be first!
As I sat on my KLM flight to Amsterdam (the first leg of the journey), I was a bit confused by watching/reading the screen with the emergency exit instructions. It was not until the second or third frame that I understood my confusion–simply, the top line was in English and the bottom line was not. Now before you judge me and remember that I am indeed a golden haired beauty, I would like to defend myself and say that there were some very similar words before all the consonants began showing next to one another.
To add more confusion, once the safety guidelines video ended, a map of the area appeared which was followed by the listing of destination time, hours traveled, miles covered etc. All of the cities/states were listed in English, except for ‘Nueva York,’ on the map. Then all the listings continued in Spanish.
I am safely now in Tanzania. Though I am hearing the occasional ‘Salut’ followed by double-cheeked kisses, Italian, English and plenty of other languages, I am not confused about my response to the greetings “Mambo!’ and “Karibu!”
Feels like coming home…
NOTE: Check back for more updates in several days once I have seen the children.
A few weeks ago, I was at Lowe’s picking up some household items when I found myself in the plant section looking for some greenery! Much to my delight, I found a Senecio jacobsenii, native to Tanzania and Kenya, as well as an Elephant bush. Because, at that time, I had not planned to be back anytime soon, I thought, “I might as well bring a bit of East Africa to me, if I cannot bring myself to East Africa.”
Well, friends, I’m happy to report that the plants seem to be thriving, despite the chillier climate of the north east. My petals, on the other hand, have been wilting a bit in the cold, so as a 27th bday present–Nov 10–I booked a flight last week to Tanzania!
This Wednesday, November 16, I’m departing for a brief two week trip to check in on the children and visit with some friends. Please check in periodically over the next few weeks, or SUBSCRIBE, by clicking the little “Follow +” button in the bottom right hand corner of this page, to stay up to date with my adventures!
Thanks friends! Tanzania, here I come!
We have just secured a very generous donor who will match 20% of ALL CONTRIBUTIONS (up to $5,000.00) received for the Journeys of Solutions fundraiser next Saturday, November 5. YAY! Hurry and PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS TODAY!
Ahsante sana and hope those of you in the north east are staying dry and warm!
SAVE THE DATE!!!!! NOVEMBER 5, 2011
Join us for a Photographic Celebration of Journeys of Solutions : )
This fundraising event will be held on Saturday, November 5, 7-10PM at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, New York. Proceeds will benefit all of Journeys of Solutions’ projects! Enjoy wine courtesy of Constellation Brands, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and live music. Celebrate with us by viewing photographs taken by adventure travelers and project volunteers. Meet volunteers to learn more about Journeys of Solutions projects. Coffee table books and prints will be available for purchase, and a silent auction will be held for framed photographs.
Hope to see you on November 5!
To purchase tickets and/or books: http://journeysofsolutions.org/?q=node/41
It seems the summer has come and gone so quickly this year!
Continuing and Finishing Studies
Several weeks ago, the children began their third and final term of 2011 at Tumaini. They have continued to work hard day in and day out. Two of our sponsored students, Rose and Charles, will be sitting for the National Standard IV Examination in a few weeks. All Standard IV students must pass this country-wide test in order to proceed to Standard V next year.
While many of the Tumaini students are working tirelessly, the Standard VII students have graduated…TODAY! Hongera! : ) (Congratulations!). The Standard VII students make the first graduating Tumaini Standard VII class. Many of these lovely children began their school career at Tumaini in the Standard I class, in just one room of what now is the admin building. Six years later, they have grown into intelligent and mature teens. Likewise, the school has grown and now offers Nursery classes through Standard VII. What a fantastic day for Tumaini!
Karatu in Brooklyn, NY and NJ?!
While at work several weeks ago, I turned on the faucet only to have brown water run over my fingertips. As you East coasters know, we’ve been experiencing a lot of rain over the past few weeks. That combined with old plumbing created the dirt-brown water that thankfully ran clear after several minutes. As the water changed, I remembered the times after heavy rains in Karatu when the water would be almost as brown as my dust-covered body. Talk about a spray tan! Unfortunately, those days of heavy rains have not returned to East Africa.*
Additionally, just last week I headed to Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck, NJ, to pick some apples and fresh veggies. Coincidentally, there were also some pumpkins which appeared to be dropped there. I digress. Anyway, as we drove to the parking lot, red dust was kicked up by people and passing cars. We rushed to close the windows before the red dust could paint a light layer on our skin. Admittedly, I was rather slow on the automatic window, feeling rather nostalgic. That’s right. Being that this is the first Autumn season I have experienced since 2008, a storm of emotions swirled, just like the red dust upon my cheeks.
New Jersey Tanzania
*I am sure you’ve heard about the drought in East Africa. Scores of people have died and are suffering from malnutrition. Karatu, too, is feeling the pangs of the rain’s absence. In an effort to further support Tumaini Junior School, Journeys of Solutions will be raising money for the Tumaini School Water Well Project.
After recently receiving an appeal from Mr. Bayo, the headmaster of the Tumaini Primary School in Karatu, we have committed to help the school get more water. They have drilled an exploratory bore hole and have reached good water, but at a great depth. Now they need the funding to construct a well. If you would like to help with a donation, please visit www.journeysofsolutions.org and designate the donation as Tumaini Water Fund. You can also email email@example.com.
Finally, in an attempt to be back in Tanzania, at least for 1 hour and 27 minutes, I went with two girlfriends to see The Lion King in 3D. FYI, it’s only playing for 2 weeks so hurry and get your tickets! Anyway, I’d like to also add, everyone in the theater was in their mid-twenties/early thirties. Clearly we weren’t the only ones trying to revive childhood memories. More than a few, myself included, sang along to some of the favorites, like I Just Can’t Wait to be King and Hakuna Matata. Likewise teared up when Rafiki lifted up baby Simba to the masses of animals at Pride Rock and then when Mufasa appeared to grown Simba in the clouds and water’s surface. Okay, maybe that was just me.
As a young fourth grader, when I first saw the film, I loved it and subsequently learned all of the lyrics/songs. Little did I know I’d experience the beauty of some African plains first hand and would come to call them home nearly sixteen years later.
Don’t stop dreaming kids!
July 9, 2011, marks an incredible day: the first official day of the newly-created South Sudan.
From the BBC to the New York Times, read about the excitement, celebration and next steps for the world’s newest nation…