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Graduation Day Preview

Some highlights from Saturday’s graduation ceremony…stay tuned for more updates and photos this week!!


Teacher Appreciation
My view of the ceremony, just moments before addressing the crowd in Kiswahili!


Was it something I said?!
Just kidding! No, I didn’t clear the grounds of the celebrations…guests and students departed after lunch!

NYU Flashback // Community Service

Photo credit: the fabulous Betty Cremmins

Ten years ago, as I sat in the back of my parents’ car driving through Chinatown, hundreds of thoughts raced through my head; we were headed for my first dorm room at New York University. The sights and smells, some more distinct than others, invaded my senses.

Once moved in several hours later, cinder block walls stared back at me as I heard the hustle and bustle of New York City outside my freshman dorm room window. I had been selected to take part in Project Outreach, a weeklong program which brought students face to face with service project opportunities in/around “campus”, i.e the streets of NYC. Many life changing experiences were had during my years with Outreach, first as a participant then a team leader and site coordinator.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with the newest Outreachers, members of NYU’s class of 2017, telling them how my Outreach experience shaped my life’s path–and continues to do so in fact! I was ecstatic to share the podium with two great friends and past Outreachers, Rishi and Betty. As we spoke with the students, we couldn’t help remembering sitting in their seats ten years ago. Little did we know the journeys that lay ahead. In addition to attending ALL of our classes …

Rishi is now an ER doc at a top NYC hospital and plans to do Doctors Without Boarders. During his tenure at NYU he remained heavily involved with community service, often as President or Chair of various clubs/initiatives. He implemented countless wonderful projects around NYC and even spent time abroad doing medical missions! I now know where I’m going should I need any ER help, whether in NYC or beyond!

Whilst still at NYU Betty biked across America through Bike and Build, stopping along the way to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. She spent time doing Americorps before heading to Antarctica to work as a carpenter (does she really need a reason?!). A Masters from Columbia’s SIPA Program followed and now she works for Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), dealing with top corporations around the world and helping them to make more environmentally responsible decisions. Walmart is one such recipient of her expertise! It should also be said that Betty still volunteers at the Go Project, a tutoring program on Saturday mornings she first visited as an Outreacher. For a place as transient as NYC, Betty certainly maintains her roots!

I believe most of you know my story, so just for fun: I remained heavily involved with various organizations whilst at NYU and helped to create a chapter of LiNK, a Human Rights club focused on educating people about the human rights violations North Koreans suffer. I volunteered, interned and eventually worked at the American Cancer Society which brought me to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in 2008 as an extreme fundraiser. Before leaving Tz, I visited and fell in love with Shalom Orphanage Centre in Karatu. Then, I applied for and was rejected from a great grad school program due to my inexperience with international development. Rather than bask in my failure (which I did for several days!), I moved back to Tanzania in 2009 where I created a Child Sponsorship Program through Journeys of Solutions so Shalom children could attend an English school, Tumaini. All the while I worked as an event planner/project manager for a fabulous company, i.e. Design Events Inc. My bosses’ generosity allowed me to travel to Tz for months at a time so long as I returned each January to work! Now, four years later, I work for TEC at Tumaini, and continue to see to it that children have access to education. Cannot believe five of the initial JOS kids we enrolled in 2009 are graduating in two weeks! Five from TEC’s program will also graduate! They’ll be high schoolers come January! Needless to say, I’m hoping all these adventures might actually qualify me for grad school…eventually…

Other Outreachers have gone around the world serving people–from Teach for America to Peace Corps, and beyond! Can’t wait to see where these students will go!!

Dream big, kids!! Go Outreach!!

LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES?! Check out or email me and I’d be happy to give you other suggestions, including contact info for Rishi/Betty!

Outreach shirts through the years!

TEC’s Summer Newsletter and Water Well Dedication photos


Check out TEC’s most recent newsletter! Note: If you’d like to receive TEC’s e-newsletter, please email me! (





More photos of the Water Well Dedication on February 21,2013


Planting Trees



Switch is On20130706-102430.jpg

Celebrate Good Times C’mon!


Mom with Mr Bayo and Lightness, who are sporting newly-printed Tumaini Junior School hats20130706-102624.jpg

Second Term Fun!

Well I am most happy to report I am mosquito-bite free thanks to Para’Kito!! Definitely recommend this to my fellow friends adored by Mosquitos!! See my previous post for more details on the product!

In other recent news, days have continued to be busy at Tumaini! For starters, the school now bakes bread…delicious bread!! Here’s the wonderful Julius with a fresh loaf!! Stay tuned for updates as preparations are made to sell the bread in the coming weeks! 20130623-234804.jpg

Six Tumaini students were recently selected to represent Karatu at the district level sports competition. Here are several students–four of whom are sponsored–at a volleyball practice with other Karatu district-level representatives!

Shortly following this practice, the six students traveled to Arusha for additional competitions! Here is one medal-laden student, Margaret, after her return from Arusha!

Most recently, two students have advanced to Dar es Salaam where they are competing as Arusha region representatives! Tumaini staff and students excitedly await their (we hope, victorious) return!

Finally, the sports court is coming closer to being user friendly! Games of netball, volleyball and basketball are on the horizon!


Mosquitos Be Gone

Mosquitos Be Gone!!

It seems keeping mosquitos at bay has been a theme for the past few posts…first it was the amazing students in Geneseo, NY who provided mosquito nets for all beds at Tumaini Junior School and Shalom Orphanage Centre. Now, it’s PARA’KITO! Given the rains we’ve had, I suppose it’s only natural to be especially concerned with staying malaria and itch free!

This weekend, Arusha saw its annual Karibu Fair, which brings tour companies, lodges and the like together for a weekend-long networking event. Having never been in Tanzania during this time of year, it was my first time attending.

I enjoyed perusing around the grounds and was delighted to happen upon the Para’Kito tent. What initially drew my eye was the evident environment-friendly marketing tools. The packaging screams “I AM GREEN” as did the brochures and other printed materials.


Anyway, the two gents manning this tent were displaying mosquito repellent wristbands/anklets as well as clips. The bands’ repellent pellet is made up of 7 oils and DEET free. They each last for 15 days and create somewhat of a force field (my word, not theirs!) which repels the mosquitos. There are a variety of colors for each band/clip though sadly, due to our afternoon visit, most of the fun colors (read BRIGHT and FABULOUS) were sold out. I settled on a black one, reminding myself of the Karatu dust. Speaking of which, good thing they’re 100% waterproof, made of neoprene.

While Para’Kito has a big presence in various Europeans countries and Australia, they’re not too well known in Tanzania…yet! As I sit at my desk after just being bitten by several mosquitos, I’ve now placed my bracelet on and haven’t received any more bites. You can read more about the product details here.

Enjoy friends and stay tuned for updates over the next 15 days…malaria no more, I hope 🙂

Mosquito nets, laptops and more!!

The second term is in full swing! We are busy with joint-school examinations, sports practices and preparing the computer lab for the arrival of recently donated laptop computers!

Speaking of laptops: if you find yourself in or near Canandaigua, NY this weekend, join volunteer Tom Stevens at his house for a TECHNOLOGY FOR TUMAINI night. You’ll hear stories of Tom’s time at Tumaini earlier this year, have the opportunity to donate a laptop or funds for educational DVDs and even sample some Tanzanian dishes!

Anyway, the holiday month of April also proved busy! Thanks to two Geneseo Central High School students, every bed at Tumaini and nearby Shalom Orphanage Centre was given a brand new mosquito net! The two students, Rebecca and Sara, fundraised for this project as part of an ecology class project. Given that we are in the rainy season, the nets are especially vital! Read more about their project here.

20130516-115552.jpgStore owners, Lucy and Willie, where we purchased the nets!

Mosquito nets being hung!20130516-122017.jpg


In other news:
Tumaini now has a new walkway…

The computer lab has a brand new window! Thank you Sara and Brett Shifrin and Gould Academy!

And we now have new (and very much needed) music equipment! Thank you David and Marta Hall for your donation!

Finally, kudos to Tumaini’s Standard VII students (and their hard-working teachers) : in the most recent joint exams with a neighboring primary school, 9 of the top 10 students came from Tumaini and 18 of the top 20!

Proving Hemingway right

First of all friends, my apologies for the posting delay–I’ve been experiencing some more than special Internet issues! Anyway! On to better things…

The last day of tuition (tutoring) is tomorrow and school will be closed for the final two weeks of April. Where did the first trimester to? . . .

Well, rather than sitting by and wondering, we’ve been hard at work with a fun and exciting task: organizing our library so that students can easily find the books of their choice! To do this, we elected three FANTASTIC children to be Tumaini’s very first Library Prefects! Friends, meet Agusto, Vivian and Yusufu!


Over the last two weeks these three rock stars have helped to inventory our books and assist in re-shelving them, alphabetically of course! Their excitement is contagious and their initial shyness has subsided in the wake of their curiosity about everything from “Are fairies really real?!” to “What happened to the Titanic?” Indeed what fun it has been for all of us!!

There is no friend as loyal as a book-Ernest Hemingway