"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."
Mambo! Its great being back in Arusha again, I’ve really missed it! After arriving in Dar on Tuesday arvo, and catching the usual 12hr bus (still just as entertaining as I remember) to Arusha on Wednesday, Blandina picked me up from the station and dropped me to the guest house next to Haradali School where I am staying with Lachie Miller (YES ARUSHA LTD is his programme, check it out!). Of course the usual power and water issues were to be expected, it’s been bucket showers and candles since I got here. Asante Sana Mt Meru hotel for letting me use your internet all day to finally catch up on work! Thursday morning Blandina and I met with one of the teachers at Shepherds Junior Kimondolu Campus to talk about one of our boys and get an update on entrance grades for next year. After a long lunch meeting (my first chipsmayai in 2 and half years!) to catch up on all our notes, it was off to see the Nichodemu Family to assess their food situation and see what they need for the holidays. Their new house is looking good; they have their own little backyard area and a few baby chicks running around. Yolanda’s cousin Rose is now living with them also – she is a lovely girl. All the kids are looking really great and healthy. Michael has moved back
home, and uses the money he earns from transporting goods to buy things for his family – they now have a new bed and small TV, Asante Michael! Then it was off to Blandina’s house in Sakina to finally meet little Kemmy – she is GORGEOUS. And very entertaining! Blandina and I planned our schedule for the next few days, and I made my way home at about 5pm. Friday was an early start, meeting Blandina at Phillips petrol station at 7.30am. Goodluck David also met us there, looking very smart in his black pants and jacket, and we carried on to collect Lilian and Selus Nichodemu for their Dr visit. We are now taking the kids to St Elizabeth Hospital in town, it is a nice place. Blandina really knows what she is doing – first in line right after the morning service finished to make sure we didn’t have to spend the entire day in waiting rooms! All 3 kids had eye examinations; Selus has new spectacles which make him look very smart! Goodluck and Lily both have 20/20 vision, and were given 2 weeks of eye drops to help with tearing in the morning. This only took us about 4 hours (!!!). Midway through there was a torrential downpour for about 2 hours, and the generator for the hospital stopped working (slightly worried about any patients using oxygen!). This put an abrupt halt to any processes, so after dropping Lily and Selus to Blandina’s house for lunch with Eliza, Rose and Kemmy, we carried on to another private Laboratory where Goodluck could get a proper full medical. We left him with the Dr, (a lovely man who is Blandina’s brother in law) and carried on to Mawalla out past the cultural Heritage centre to meet with Freda, our lawyer to discuss registration. Freda and Immanuel are really great, and are giving us an amazing discount because of the work we do. The government is raising the price significantly next week for the registration process, so after dotting our I’s and crossing our t’s and digging out what US I had with me to pay immediately, the registration process is now under way! Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can proudly say we are an official Registered NGO in Tanzania! Not only will this be extremely helpful for any sponsor visits, work visas for Vinnie and myself, and the availability of some government support (hopefully) but it will also provide enormous security for Blandina as an official member of the programme. Still raining (and with very soggy shoes), we continued back to collect Goodluck (tonsillitis – thankfully easily treatable with antibiotics!), take him for lunch (again, chipsmayai), collect the medicine for him and eye drops for Lily then arrived back at Blandina’s house around 3.30pm. Blandina’s sister in law, Abela, has so lovingly packaged up all the ACE kids Christmas gifts into little brown bags, which really helps when it comes to distributing them. Blandina has all of the items in a storage hut in the back of her property. (See Photo). We made up 5 bags each for the Nichodemu kids and carried on to take them all home. Goodluck lives in Sekei with his mother, a lovely woman. She was very appreciative of the Christmas package. We left him first with plans to meet again the next day. After dropping half the food to the Nichodemus, (I am keeping the rest in storage at my place) along with 5kg of flour, and having a chat with Michael, Victor and the other kids, Blandina finally dropped me home at about 6pm. Saturday – TENGERU TIME! Blandina came around for a morning meeting at my house at 9am, and we went over everything from the past few days, talking about a supplement programme, boarding supplies needed for next year, some individual children’s home situations, when to begin shopping for next year’s supplies…the list goes on! So much to do…I can’t believe Blandina has been doing all of this by herself, the amazing woman! Once done we heading across the road to Haradali to meet with Mr Severua and talk about getting a discount for the Haradali Uniforms for next year, as all of our kids need new ones and it’s fairly pricey! It looks like we may have worked out a deal which is great – more info on this soon. The new uniforms are fantastic, really good material that will last the children the next 2 years at least. No more buying until 2016! (See Photos). Goodluck met us at Haradali, and we carried on to collect Immanuel Isaya and Flora for our first goal setting lunch. Flora wasn’t home, but now that I know she lives so close to me I can visit anytime and catch up with her. We ran into Andrea on the way and his babu gave us his current results. Imma lives just past Shangarai in an area called Kusini. His mother had another son 8 months ago – 4 teeth already and very cute! It was great to say hello to her and also to Imma’s younger brother. The 4 of us then went to Tengeru for our goal setting lunch, and to buy the boys some gifts courtesy of their amazing sponsors – thank you Pat & Louise! The market was, of course, just as mental as I remember. We discovered that the Rotary Club of Mt Manganui in NZ is one of the market donors, along with 5 other Kiwi organisations, a Canadian programme and a few more miscellaneous sponsors. The boys had a great time, coming away with some fancy new jeans and a few other items – they were very pleased! I managed to find myself some new shoes for $2, my only pair had disintegrated in the rain the previous day. We sat down at Tengeru and had lunch with the boys (chipsmayai AGAIN – I’ve really got to watch out) and talked together for about an hour about their goals for next year. Imma wants to be a pilot, likes soccer and likes to teach Joeli, a young neighbour, how to read after school. Goodluck wants to be a judge or a politician, likes tennis and enjoys when his uncle teaches him computer skills on a laptop after school. We encouraged the boys to aim for the top ten in their class next year, and spoke about the subjects and social skills they need to pursue to achieve their dreams. Goodluck is going to start reading newspapers every day to expand his knowledge of world issues, and Imma is going to try harder at Math and science in order to help himself with his goal. We narrowly avoided another downpour, and dropped the boys home around 4pm. After a small visit to town to get some stationery supplies for the kids to write their goals on, I walked to Phillips and caught (a very, VERY full) dala dala home. The rest of the evening was spent organising photos, writing Vinnie a huge update on everything ACE, a few emails to sponsors and expenditure reports. Sunday morning (today) has seen Lachie and me working on our computers all morning catching up on everything we’ve done in the week, updates, child portfolios, emails etc. I am about to walk to meet Imma at Shangarai and take his Christmas package to his house, along with a letter from his sponsors. Then it’s off to send all of this and make a plan for the coming week. Blandina has tomorrow off, and I will be taking a Canadian couple who are visiting her around town for the day, as well as a quick Haradali visit. Sunday looks like it’ll be the day that I can spend catching up on all the paperwork, so until next week!