Friday, August 3, 2012


I’m not sure if my silly pun translates in writing, but it’s what came to mind as I was thinking of how to begin this blog entry. 
To elucidate, the “501c3” part is in reference to the tax-exempt status needed by charitable organizations to fundraise and operate freely as dictated by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States.  And the “PO” part plays on the “c3” as in C-3PO (or See-Threepio), the protocol droid from the Star Wars trilogy.  Lame?  Maybe so, but it’s how my mind works.  And it’s actually mildly apropos as the skinny golden guy was essentially a cultural liaison in the movies, a robot-man who attempted to facilitate relations between the humans and the space creatures so that meetings amongst the different cultures would run smoothly.
So if you can stretch your imaginations for a moment and bear with me, imagine that the 501c3 status I am currently trying to obtain for The Toa Nafasi Project will enable me to be a cultural liaison or C-3PO of sorts here in Tanzania, bringing new teaching methodologies and practices into Tanzanian classrooms in order to better provide services to the most vulnerable learners.  Still lame?  Yeah, it’s been a slow week….
At any rate, all of this is to say that the application for 501c3 status is a fait accomli as of two days ago.  All 29 pages of the nearly incomprehensible and hugely daunting 1023 form have been filled out, Exhibits A, B, C, and D have been attached as have the Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws as well as my own CV.  Now, we just wait on the suits at the IRS to make their decision, yay or nay, hopefully the former so I can get cracking on implementation.
In the meantime, I am still hard at work taking meetings, making contacts, doing program research, and preparing for the future of Toa Nafasi.  The Tanzanian registration process continues on at lightning speed (forgive me a soupcon of sarcasm) and I am plagued by a whole other set of issues there that I can’t even talk about for fear I’ll go apoplectic.  Suffice it to say, it has been a challenge.
But that is what life is all about, si ndiyo?  Challenges arise, you face them, hopefully you overcome them.  I was at a seminar last week at Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha as part of the Special Interest Group in Mental Health and the topic was “mindfulness.”  Now, I’m still not altogether sure I understand the concept completely as a psychological modality, but one thing the speaker did say that resonated with me was this: When we find ourselves in trouble, we each do one of the following three things, fight, freeze, or flee.  I’m a fighter, how about you?

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