One of the really fun things about working in development in Africa is the unique and interesting partnerships you make along the way.
This past week, my dear friend Deus Haraja, whose wife Jenn I worked with at The School of St. Jude in Arusha back in 2008, came to Moshi with a group of clients to "climb for a cause."
This phrase is bandied around quite frequently, and I cast no shade on those who use it, myself never having climbed for any cause other than getting my damn self to the top of that blessed mountain. But for those who do it for charitable reasons, raising money for various organizations, I have nothing but the utmost admiration.
Deus's group was part of Team Fox, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and each climber is in some way affected by the disease him/herself, including Jenn and Deus.
Unfortunately, Jenn was unable to make the trip to Tanzania, but I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely group of people from the United States and Canada: Chuck, Lydia, Natasha, Kevin, Anne, Marsha, Dawn, and Josh - if I am forgetting a name here, please forgive me, it's simply a factor of an overtaxed brain and not in any way a personal slight, as meeting each and every one of you and hearing your stories was really a beautiful experience!
The day prior to their trek, Deus asked if they could come out and visit one of Toa Nafasi's participating school sites, and I happily obliged. The guests brought small gifts for the kids which were met, as you can imagine, with squeals of joy and rapture.
Then Teacher Rose A., who is subbing in for Hyasinta while she is on maternity leave, gave a nice talk about what Toa does in her own words. (I mean, why should I be the one talking when the teaching staff is doing all the heavy lifting?!)
We also got to peek into the regular Standard One classroom (aka, chaos) so the guests could see the difference between the two learning environments and how Toa is helping to support the kids who are flagging amidst all that noise.
Yesterday, the climbers began their trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho Route, and will return on the 17th of August. I can't wait to share some of the stories of their journey and also to join in their celebration. Though I am down here in Moshi town, a little part of me too is "climbing for a cause" this week.
Below, please find some photos and videos of the guests' time at Msaranga Primary School, and to learn more about Team Fox and Deus's outfit, check this link: https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/Climb-Mt-Kilimanjaro/DeusHaraja.