Saturday, December 7, 2013

Event-fully Yours Redux

Okaaaay, finally a moment to breaaaathe!!

So, I think by now most of you have gathered that the Friend-Raiser in Washington, DC last month was a huge success.  I was pretty nervous in the days leading up to the event, knowing that 50+ guests would be in attendance from all walks of not only my life, but the lives of all my family members!  I had friends from grade school there, colleagues from the publishing world, colleagues from the development world (some of whom I had only met a few times or just spoken with via email!), friends and colleagues of both my parents, my childhood nanny (who roasted the most enormous turkey you've ever seen), and my college boyfriend!!  It guessed it....AMAZEBALLS!! 

But despite the build-up, the sensation of so much being at stake, performance anxiety, and general collywobbles, the actual day of the event, I was a veritable ocean of calm.  It was actually my parents who were snapping at each other, so much so that my mom took a vow of silence in the last couple hours prior to the evening in order to calm her own nerves.  My sister was really the only sane one in the house and together we went through my PowerPoint and speech a couple times so she could give me the pointers I so sorely needed.

Me and Julia, four years younger and four inches taller....
life's not fair!! 

Once we reached the venue (the house of a dear family friend, and now new TTNP board member, Romana Li), I was running on adrenaline alone.  Angi came early as did Scott Livingston who produced the logo, business cards, brochures, etc.  My parents and my sister ran around Romana's house sorting the comestibles while I set up the Razoo donation page on the computer, the PowerPoint slide show, projector, and screen, and the guestbook and name-tags.  Then, the first guests began to trickle in....
Believe it or not, this is the best picture of me and Angi....
Me and Scott, partners in crime!
Our hostess, Romana Li, introducing me.
Romana and my parents. 

Everyone and everything was really lovely from that point on.  I think all four of us Bloominators were beaming with pride and happy to be there together.  I spoke to many, many people individually about the Project in advance of the presentation and then gave a ten-minute or so speech with the slides.  This was followed by a Q&A session at the end of which a representative from the Ambassador's office showed up and voiced her support for Toa Nafasi.  

Mindi saying a few words....
A slide of downtown Moshi projected onto Mindi! 

I think it was really effective to have me speaking from the heart first, Angi chiming in during the Q&A from the POV of the Special Ed expert, and Mindi from the Embassy, legitimizing the Project all-around.  I can't totally remember all the details of what I said or how it all went down as it felt a bit like a dream (my Cinderella moment!), but I know it was one of the best nights of my life!!

Aside from the funds raised (and believe me, Mama made bank!), I was also feeling the love and in some ways that's even more important than the money....however....if you have not yet made a donation to The Toa Nafasi Project, take a moment to do so this holiday season either by going online to or sending a contribution to The Toa Nafasi Project, P.O. Box 20086, New York NY 10014. 

And to all those who were unable to attend the 2013 event, I hope to see you at the next event in 2014, and hopefully we'll be able to do one in DC and NYC as well!

I'll end here with some more photos and a really nice note from Ambassador Mulamula herself.  Next week will be my last missive from NYC; the following Friday, December 20th is Travel Day and you'll be hearing from me from Schiphol Airport, my midway point between here and Kili!!

And more guests!

Romana's husband, Bruce, talking with Scott.

My former Swahili teacher, very good friend,
and TTNP board member, Veronica Rovegno!!


Dear Sarah,

I wish on behalf of the Tanzanian Embassy and on my own behalf to congratulate you and your team at Toa Nafasi for a successful event.

I couldn't attend in person but I believe my colleague, Ms. Mindi represented us effectively.  She was really inspired by your work and efforts in fundraising for the good of our children.

We thank you and Veronica once again for your kind invitation and thoughtfulness.

With warmest regards and appreciation,

Amb. Liberata Mulamula
Tanzanian Embassy
Washington DC

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