Sunday, May 29, 2016

Like a Rolling Stone(-MacDonald)

Apologies for the lack of communique in recent days.  I am just coming off a 2+-week work-visit from my friend and colleague, Dr. Angela Stone-MacDonald.  I feel fairly certain that most of my readers are familiar with Angi, her scholarship, and role with Toa Nafasi, but you can read a bit more about her here:, and here:

Basically, Angi is our consultant in all things education, and some things research and development.  She has worked with us since 2013 though I have known her since 2009; fatefully, we first met here in Tanzania while I was working for another NGO and she was doing her dissertation research.

More recently, Angi developed the assessment kit we use for Toa Nafasi, and has also created alternative methods of teaching slow learners in Tanzania, which she is then able to pass on to our teaching staff.

While she was here this time around, she observed Toa Nafasi in action at all four sites, conducted a 2-day seminar for the current Toa teachers, studied them as they taught her new lessons, and then provided evaluations and answered questions.

It was a very successful visit and the teachers really enjoyed Angi's tutorial as well as just her general presence in the classroom.  They are always drawn to Westerners and curious to know more about why they are visiting Tanzania, so they had fun chatting with Angi in Swahili and learning more about her background.

In addition to work at school and with the teachers, Angi also got to meet Gasto, who helped during the seminar days; Jackie, an extremely capable and bright 17-year-old Tanzanian girl who is helping us with data entry; the pastor at the Lutheran Church and his staff at the nearby BCC (Building Caring Communities) Center, with whom we may partner on a couple of kids' cases; Brenda at Gabriella, and our three students who board there; the wazee with whom I had my second board meeting of 2016; Dr. Robin Peterson in Arusha to whom I go for advice, support, solace, and sanity; Marytza Leiva, a brilliant photographer and videographer, who is working on some product for Toa; and my landlady, Susana Selle, who is a retired teacher herself and very interested in the Project.  Plus, of course, all my crazy friends in Moshi.

We even had time to take Drogo to the vet, watch the final season of Downton Abbey, conduct a taste test of Moshi pizza offerings, and have all four tires on my car replaced - I had thought the traffic police were trending a new bribe but, in fact, my tires were indeed bald(ing), so I had to shell out the big bucks to get them changed.

Yes, it has definitely been a busy time!  However, just like a rolling stone, Dr. Angela Stone(-MacDonald)(!!) gathers no moss....

After her short stint here with us in Kilimanjaro, she has just returned to her "real" job as a professor of Early Education and Care at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.  In addition to her busy teaching schedule, she is responsible for various administrative duties within her department and also attends a number of academic conferences both nationally and internationally each year.

Come September, Angi will take a sabbatical from all that and spend the academic year at SUZA, the State University of Zanzibar, courtesy of Fulbright.  Check her out here:

Hongera sana, Angi!

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