To the ends of the earth…and back!

2012 Adventures

‘Tis the Season to be Generous Part 1: Students Helping Students, Bed Nets

Over the next few days as we gear up for 2013, I look forward to sharing some stellar examples of generosity with you!

My first example:


A special thank you to high school rock stars Sara and Rebecca who are currently fundraising for bed nets for Tumaini Junior School and Shalom Orphanage Centre!

I had the privilege of meeting these dedicated students and chatting with them about their fundraising efforts several weeks ago. They are amazing!

For more information and/or to be a part of this very important project, visit here. Each bed net is just $5USD so I invite you to skip a latte or two this week and donate to help protect a child from malaria!

Asanteni sana Sara and Rebecca, and their Ecology teacher Mr. French, for welcoming me to your class and for your dedication and generosity!



Made it back to the US

After some very busy final days in Tanzania before the holidays, I’ve made it back to the US for a few weeks.

I can never seem to remember what a shock my system goes through when returning to the chilly northeast after several months in equatorial Africa. A heavy coat, scarf, hat and two layers later: Noted!

I’ll be updating with more details and photos soon….in the meantime I invite you to meet seven adorable children, the newest enrolled in TEC’s sponsorship program. Note, of the first five, only Lowassa and Denis know some Kiswahili. These five children come from Ngorongoro Crater and are Maasai. Having had little to no schooling prior to their arrival at Tumaini, and in turn little to no knowledge of Kiswahili, we’ve enlisted the help of Tumaini teachers, Mr Robert and Mr Jimmy to assist in the adjustment period. Robert is Maasai so he has been working tirelessly to help translate for the children. Thank you Robert and Jimmy!!

Happy and Nashipai


Denis and Sangau




Elihuruma and Fausta


Changing into boarding uniforms


Showered and ready to visit FAME for check ups


All finished at FAME! A huge thank you to Doctor Gabriel for his thorough explanations and patience with the little ones, Veronica for helping to translate for the five Maasai children and FAME’s volunteer coordinator Pamela for the gifts of pencils and laughter during our visit!


Lego fun after morning lessons!!


Final push!

Well friends, the 2012 school year is almost complete! In the coming weeks, please check back (or subscribe for automatic updates to be sent directly to you!) as I invite you to look back on this past school year’s highlights!

In the meantime, here is some recent news:

Rain rain (don’t) go away!
We had a few brief days of needed rain. As much as the mud proves a bit hard to navigate and cakes to shoes/boots, I did always want to be 5’8″!!



Standard IV Students sat for the National Examination last week–a test they must pass in order to continue to Standard V next year!

Cleaning and Preparing the classrooms for testing20121112-212725.jpg

Relaxing after Day 1 of tests!


Welcoming Visitors
In the past two weeks we have welcomed old and new friends to Tumaini!

Nurse to nurse–here is Rachael and Tumaini’s school nurse, Victoria, and Ms. Christine.


Victoria testing the glasses’ prescription–was a perfect match!



Rachael and I also visited nearby Shalom Orphanage Centre and FAME



More donated supplies–thank you Rachael!


Mama Susan and Krista visiting our young students and presenting puppets


Waiting for afternoon assembly!

A lovely treat whilst driving back to Karatu after several meetings in Arusha…



Stay tuned for more!!!

Happy October!!

Hello friends!

So sorry for the delay since my last update: the combination of our Internet being a bit spotty and a parasite finding my body to be most hospitable has inhibited me from telling you about all the exciting things happening at Tumaini until now. (Yes, even the parasites have caught on to how much fun I always have!)

More seriously I’m luckily feeling better though do suppose my constant claims of being a “delicate flower” are indeed irrefutable! Nevertheless, despite this recent “adventure” life has certainly continued to be busy at Tumaini Junior School! Here are some recent highlights:

First Installment of Books from the Melrose School on the Shelves of Tumaini!!

A special thanks to Liz and Ray Canning and our friends at UNITE (I’m sure you remember them…in case you don’t check out my August 17 post!) for working with TEC’s Carol Hall to facilitate the safe arrival of our first set of books from The Melrose School! The Science books and chapter books are fantastic additions to Tumaini’s shelves! We anxiously await the arrival of the other 78 boxes worth of books! SPECIAL NOTE: IF YOU WILL BE TRAVELING TO TANZANIA IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS AND WOULD LIKE TO USE AN EXTRA BAG TO TRANSPORT BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME!!!!



More letter writing!
pictured here is one of our newest sponsored students!


Water Well Updates!!

Shortly before my June 29 return to Tanzania, the water was accessed for the first time! In one afternoon of pumping, Tumaini’s 45,000+ Gallon cistern was nearly filled to the brim! On September 14, we pumped for water in preparation for Tumaini’s Graduation Ceremony on September 15, and again, we filled the cistern at a rate of approximately 15,000 liters (or 3,000 Gallons) an hour. We are now in the dry season [rains will arrive in November] so the well has proved especially invaluable for the 541 students and 40+ staff members!

Since the pump is 132 meters down, Tumaini’s current electrical capabilities are not enough. Thus, the next step of the project is the installation of the proper electricity needed for the pump and the installation of a control box. I am delighted to tell you that we have enough funds in the Water Well Project budget at Journeys of Solutions to complete this next step and anticipate its completion in the next several weeks. As a final step, once we have installed the electricity needed and the pump has a structure around it, we will do a formal naming of the water pump in my father’s honor in the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

CHECK OUT THE WATER WELL PROJECT’S GREAT PROGRESS (and the Construction progress in the background of many shots!!)

May 2011–Water Survey



June 2012–Water First Pumped




September 2012–Water Pump Safely in Place!



-Along with Tumaini’s Principal and Librarian, I led weekly tours of the school to American tourists visiting the Karatu area on safari. Within the last few weeks, scholarships for seven Tumaini students have been secured through TEC as a direct result of said tours!

-I managed a team of four volunteers from NY who divided their time between Tumaini Junior School and the nearby Shalom Orphanage Centre. On one memorable afternoon, the five of us women, with the assistance of Ms. Christine met with the Standard VII girls for a “Girl Talk.” We actually did a good deal of myth-busting! It was great fun and everyone enjoyed it!
-Tumaini received an entire library worth of book donations from The Melrose School in Brewster, NY. As you read above, we have received the first 2 of the 80 boxes which were packed up!

-Tumaini celebrated it’s 2nd Annual Graduation on 15 September. The 36 Standard VII and 74 Pre-Unit (nursery school) students were recognized for their efforts and the day was a blast!
-The Standard VII Pupils also sat for the National Examination on 19 and 20 September–a test they must pass in order to continue to secondary school in January. Last year ALL of Tumaini’s Standard VII pupils passed so we are confident the same will happen this year! School is a lot quieter now that the Standard VII pupils have left school. They will remain home until December at which time the National Exam results are published. Come January, they’ll begin Secondary school!

Check back in a few more days for October highlights and more news about some new friends at Red Sweater Project!!!

Thanks for reading!!

Uko nyumbani (“You’re home”)



I love the changing of seasons, especially Summer into Autumn. In 2009, 2010 and presently, I have and do sorely miss seeing the changing of the leaves and feeling the crispness in the air as I find myself in Tanzania.

Last Autumn I was able to stay home and spend quality time with my family. I snapped the above and below photos during an apple picking adventure with my father and brother.


That’s right friends, you’re never too old! We did manage to take some photos in which my loving older brother pretended to drop a pumpkin on my head. (note the disdain on his face at the photo opp!) Ah, sibling love!!


Another memorable moment was when this same strapping young man disappeared for a few minutes (we all are prone to wandering sometimes after all) and then reappeared only to present about a dozen apples from the various pockets in his coat! Dad and I especially loved that! Truly what a beautiful afternoon I’ll cherish always.

Presently, I find myself in Tanzania walking around under the equatorial sun and in the dust (the rains will come soon!), which only exacerbate this longing. That said I cannot deny how I love being here too. As I think about that crisp afternoon which ended with some skiball at the boardwalk…


(scary how alike they are!!)

…and how I miss so much about home, I cannot deny how here too feels like home.

I just arrived at the school office and after greeting the secretaries and nurse, I sat down to get to work. The nurse came in moments later with tea and with a smile said, “Uko nyumbani Eliza,” (“You’re home.”) Indeed.

The nurse and me at graduation


Thanks for the love!

A day well spent!

Well my friends, today’s entry brings us to the end of the (nearly) weeklong graduation exposé…I hope you’ve enjoyed!

Below are some photos of students and teachers celebrating, laughing (check out the boys and the flowers!!) and finally, clean up! It was such a special day–truly memorable! Thank you for visiting and stay tuned for more updates on the National Exam and the Water Well project!!






Sibling love-Gabriel and Yasinta!

They couldn’t get enough of the flowers!!!






Graduate Eliza, Rose, Rose and Beatrice–such lovely girls!


Two of my faves: Madame Fatmah and Madame Christine–these women are fantastic teachers and wonderful role models! Like all the Tumaini teachers, their dedication to the success of the students is awe-inspiring!

Cleaning up and bidding farewell!



More Singing and Dancing, Congratulating Graduates and recognizing the amazing work of teachers!

Given the absence of Friday’s post, today is a double entry which will bring us up to the end of the graduation ceremony! We’ll see the Standard II students singing and dancing, the school choir and graduates being recognized and receiving certificates! Finally, we’ll see glimpses of the hardworking and dedicated teachers being recognized and appreciated by everyone in attendance!

Here are the Standard II students performing to Shakira’s Waka Waka song. They also did an amazing skit on the importance of school and education as they highlighted the dangers of smoking!



The Choir, along with their teacher, Madame Christine. Mme Christine is also the Pre-Unit class teacher!




Standard VII coming back in and then dancing to their seats!



Pre-Unit Grads, along with teacher Christine, marching back in–a perfect photo opp for family and friends!!



After congratulating the graduates, the guest of honor (and educational officer), encouraged all in attendance to show their appreciation to the teachers. Within just a few minutes, nearly $600 was raised to be split amongst the teachers!








Mr. and Mrs. Bayo and the educational officer shaking the hands of those giving:


Here are some additional photos of our graduates after the ceremony:



Some future Standard VII Grads, borrowing a cap and stars from Standard VII Graduates. So cute!



Check back tomorrow for some other photos of students from all grades!