Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Amazing Face

In a quick coda to my last entry about 2018 intake, I just wanted to share a few more of the amazing new faces I've been meeting as I traverse from school site to school site, making sure I have each student's details.

To clarify once again, these kids are just the newbies in the Standard One classrooms at Msaranga, Msandaka, Mnazi, and Kiboriloni Primary Schools.  They have not been tested yet - for the most part - although testing is underway.  So, there is nothing quantifying these students except for their undeniable cuteness and their individual personalities shining through.

Testing should be done around the end of March by which time, we will have some idea of who needs our help this year.  Then, as per usual, we'll do parent meetings and work out modified versions of an IEP for each child going forward.

Onward and upward!









Monday, March 12, 2018

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackboard

Greetings, dear readers, and many salaams from a fairly cool and cloudy Kilimanjaro.  I hope you've all been keeping well, wherever in the world you may be.

We've been awfully busy over here at The Toa Nafasi Project this month of March.  So much so that I've still not found time to post an entry about our excellent fifth anniversary celebration and now the recent International Women's Day festivities.  Bear with me as I negotiate these hectic days and do my best to prioritize all the things that need to get done!

The most pressing of all tasks at the moment is to complete the intake at our four participating schools sites in Moshi Municipal district, Kilimanjaro region: Msaranga, Msandaka, Mnazi, and Kiboriloni Primary Schools.

All four headmasters have been greeted and schmoozed.  Ditto all sixteen Standard One and Two teachers in the regular classrooms.  Nothing left to do but the job at hand: taking the names and photos of each child in the 2018 Standard One registry, and completing an observation form for each student, noting things like appearance, behavior, gross and fine motor skills, and of course, aptitude in basic literacy and numeracy.

We've done it many years before (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), and we'll do it again now, but it's an awful lot of work and takes more than a bit of time.

Still, I love this sort of ripple before the full tide of the work sweeps over.  I get to see the kids for the first time and witness little glimpses into their minds and personalities.

Here are a few new faces from 2018.  I'm guessing each one of these little people has his or her own way of looking at the world.  Starting with the blackboard....

I. Eye

II. Tree

III. Winds

IV. One

V. Beauty

VI. Mood

VII. Imagine

VIII. Noble

IX. Sight

X. Flying

XI. Shadow

XII. River

XIII. Snow

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Momager Dearest

Some people have moms, some have managers, and some are lucky enough to have a two-in-one collabo - though I will concede that most of those people are noxious child stars!

While, yes, I am her child, and yes, she is my mom, Carla is oh-so-much more than that.

At 73 years strong, she is still globe-trotting, people-meeting, and plan-making.  A retired professor emerita; author of multiple books, papers, and articles; habitual conference-goer and recurrent conference-speaker; and most recently, recipient of a coveted Guggenheim fellowship, this woman has long been my heroine.

She is also a major pain in the neck.

Toa Nafasi started in 2012, and since Carla's retirement in 2015, she's been coming 'round these parts to make sure that I am doing MY job HER way!  Check out these past entries for more on my "Momager Dearest:"




And from the University of Maryland site: 

Honestly, though, I am lucky to have her, and really both of my parents, who support me and The Toa Nafasi Project tirelessly, even when I myself am so tired, I just wanna quit.

My dad, David, is more of a behind-the-scenes player, doing our legal work pro bono, sourcing accountants and auditors, and dealing with the dreaded IRS.

Meanwhile, Carla is center-stage, coming over once or twice a year to shake things up and remind everyone of the presence of the U.S. Board and their expectations: of what our objectives are, of what goals we've met, of where we've succeeded and where we've failed, and of course, of what in the heck we are doing with all our hard-raised donor money.  She is the representation of Toa's accountability to the folks back home, and she helps me to right the ship when the winds pick up.

She is also my best friend.

Here are some captioned photos from her most recent trip to Moshi, having just left last week.

With her original boyfriend, ma lumiere,
Headmaster Mlinga at Msandaka Primary School.

With her brand-new side piece,
Headmaster Makenga at Kiboriloni Primary School.

With the happiest man alive,
Headmaster Kijo at Mnazi Primary School.

Chowing down with my friends at our fifth anniversary celebration, blog post on that shinny to come.

Leading the conga line with the Toa tutors at the same event. 

Wearing my friend Ali's daughter Sadie's Valentine's Day bow.
I have no reasonable explanation for this.

Being gifted with a kikoi by Vumi's young daughter, Grace.

Being gifted YET AGAIN by the tutors at Msaranga Primary School on behalf of all the staff of The Toa Nafasi Project.
Until 2019, Momager wangu!