Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Event-fully Yours

Well, kiddos, it's been a week since my big "Friend-Raiser" and though I'm late to write a blog post, chalk it up to basking in the post-event glow!!  To put it mildly, I killed it.  Sure, there were jitters and nerves and snafus and flubs but, by and large, it was an amazing first experience in hosting a fundraiser and I can only see it getting better from here.

I am running off to be interviewed for the NFL website (yes, it's true), so I can't expand much now, but I'll post a longer entry and more photos this weekend.  Until then, check out the images below!

  Guests entranced by my fascinating spiel.
Me rockin' the mic.
A beautiful event display produced by my design guru,
Scott Livingston.
Me with Mindi Kasiga, 
Communications Officer from the Tanzanian Embassy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Postscript from the Front Line

Mwalimu Vumi continues to rock my world this week, which is fantastic since I am truly about to lose my mind in the final planning stages for the inaugural Toa Nafasi "friend-raiser" which will take place in Washington DC this coming Wednesday.  Food has been ordered, a screen and projector have been rented, and RSVPs have been counted.  So far, 61 lucky souls are scheduled to be in attendance at the party with me acting as the emcee/ringmaster.  I seriously don't think I have been this excited/anxious/terrified of having to perform in front of so many people since my Bat Mitzvah.  Oy vey.

Anyhoo, back to Vumi.  Her latest email to me reads thus: 

Pole na kazi mwalimu, naamini sherehe itaenda vizuri, usijali rafiki.  Sasa tumeanza mitihani tangu Jumatatu, nimefanya hojaji na Baba Emmanuel Jumanne, hakuna tatizo kubwa labda ukirudi apelekwe kwenye speech therapy.  Jumamosi kuna semina Gabriella nimepewa mwaliko inahusu special needs.  Nimefurahi sana kuona blog yako, ni nzuri.  Walimu wengi wa Msaranga wanakuulizia sana, ina maana wanakupenda na ninakupenda kwa sababu unaipenda kazi yako. 


Sorry for work, teacher, I believe the event will go well, don't worry, friend.  Now we have started exams since Monday, I did the questionnaire with Baba Emmanuel on Tuesday, no big problems, maybe when you return he should be taken for speech therapy.  Saturday, there is a seminar at Gabriella for which I was given an invitation, it concerns special needs.  I am really happy to see your blog, it is good.  Many teachers in Msaranga are asking for you, meaning they love you and I love you because you love your work.

I mean, seriously?  Could she be any more adorable and amazing?  I am so lucky to have her as a friend and colleague.  To quote Jerry Maguire (sort of): She had me at "habari."
Okay, gotta run and practice my PowerPoint presentation for the event....I'm considering it the 2013 version of my Haftorah portion....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Notes from the Front Line

Sorry for the delay in posting this past week.  I've been swamped with work, and slightly under the weather as winter has rolled up in a hurry - sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough.
At any rate, after another industrious and fulfilling work week, this entry is going to be devoted to the fruit of someone else's labor as opposed to me blabbing about all my affairs.  I received an email from Vumi the other day that just made my heart sing, so I thought I would share it with everyone.  See both the Swahili original and English translation below* - Boo!
Mambo poa mwl.  Kuhusu Emmanuel ameingia kwenye mradi ameanza kujifunza na anaendelea vizuri labda atasoma kwa muda mchache na ataendelea na tuition na Temba na mzazi ametumiwa barua na akifika atajaza hojaji.  Kuhusu Joseph na Hussein bado nawatafuta wazazi pia nawasiliana na Brenda aweze kunipa wiki nyingine kwa wao.  Naamini nitafanikisha hilo.  Sina wasiwasi nao kwa sababu wanaendelea vizuri na kipindi changu.  Kuhusu Abedi  alienda Gabriella na anaendelea vizuri sana na Brenda amesema anaweza kubaki Msaranga hata mimi nakubali.  Ukweli ni kwamba watoto wanaendelea vizuri ukirudi TZ utawaona wamebadilika sana karibu wanafunzi wote wa mradi wanajua kusoma shida kubwa ni Willbard, Agatha, na Erasto ndio bado wana matatizo makubwa.  Matokeo ya Adam, asome kidogo na mradi badaae aendelee na Mshiu kwa tuition, tayari nimeanza kumfundisha na anaendelea vizuri.  Nakutakia kazi njema.  Erasto amevunjika mkono tangu ijumaa hivyo hawezi kufika shule.
Things are good, teacher.  About Emmanuel, he has entered the program, he has begun to learn and continues well, maybe he will read after a little while and will continue to tuition with Temba.  His parents have been sent a letter and upon arrival will fill out a questionnaire.  Regarding Joseph and Hussein, I am still looking for their parents, also communicating with Brenda if she can give me another week of therapy for them.  I promise to achieve this.  I am not worried about them because they continue well with my lessons.  Regarding Abedi, he went to the Gabriella Center and continues very well and Brenda has said he may remain in Msaranga and even I agree.  The truth is that the children continue well and when you return to Tanzania, you will see they have changed a lot.  Almost all the students in the program know how to read, the only big problems are Willbard, Agatha, and Erasto and it's true that they still have big struggles.  The results of Adam's assessment are that he should study a little in the program and later he can continue to tuition with Mshiu.  Already I have started to teach him and he is doing well.  I wish you good work.  Erasto has broken his arm and since Friday, he cannot come to school.
*Names of students have been changed to protect their privacy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

For Your Information....

As usual, work with The Toa Nafasi Project continues apace and I am racing to keep up with own speed!  But it's fun and rewarding and I can't believe that in only six short weeks, I'll be back in Tanzania, doing the on-the-ground work that I love so much.

Until then, several projects have me occupied: the planning of the Toa Nafasi inaugural "friend-raiser" to be held later this month at the home of a dear family friend in Washington DC; the fine-tuning of the webpage and other branding materials; discussions with and expansion of the U.S. board of directors; and, of course, the bane of my existence: budgeting, business banking, and fundraising.  What they say about money is true: it really does make the world go 'round, but it also is the root of all evil!  Well, maybe not all evil, but I'll say it is a necessary evil and, at least for me, managing it is a bloody headache!!  Be nice to get enough funds in the bank in order to hire an accountant....

Anyhoo, I leave you for this week with images of the just-printed Toa Nafasi brochure which I totally adore.  My design guy, a Mississippian with a bent for "African time," might be a tad slow to deliver but he is a genius!!  Kudos to Mr. Scott Livingston for all his hard work!!