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: http://www.english.umd.edu/news/18831
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!