Friday, November 28, 2008

Sports Day at LouLou's!!!

Lou Course is the newest volunteer addition to TFFT Tanzania, she initially became involved to help me with our tutoring program at Fikiria Kwanza but that was just the beginning! In just the past couple weeks, she has started tutoring, hosted a Sports Day at her home in Usa River, and is organizing a Christmas Carol Fundraiser to benefit TFFT. The kids adore her, completely adopting her as their own, LouLou as they call her. Needless to say, she has been a delight, bringing excitement and enthusiasm to every activity!

This past Tuesday, Lou hosted our Fikiria Kwanza scholarship children at her home for a fun filled afternoon of sports. Lou had her house decked out for sports day - including a chalk track for all the races! It was a huge success and the kids has an amazing time. I sorted the children into teams, having the five older children (Amani, Eliupendo, Joyce Mbise, Jesca, & Joackim) as our awesome team captains. They did a phenomenal job helping to keep the little ones on track and leading their teams to success!

Lou and I planned to have several different games, we started out with a relay race first to get everyone's blood flowing...

Rosemary is in the lead with Odemary giving her a run for her money...

Then we had several games of Tug-of-War, in which Blue Team were the champions. They managed to beat every other team and were so happy to be able to say they were they "weeeennas!"

It was a scorching day, so we had to have at least one water activity. Lou set up a water and cup race, in which each team starts with a bucket of water then has to fill one cup at a time and race down to the finish line where an empty is waiting to be filled. The first team to fill their bucket (with the most water) are the winners. The kids all loved this game, some deciding the water was better used on themselves rather than the buckets, but in the end the Pink Team was number one.

After everyone had exhausted themselves, Lou and her fabulous team of cooks and helpers provided us with a delicious feast of beef stew, rice, chapati, cabbage, and bananas! She even had vanilla and chocolate ice cream cones for dessert, the kids were in heaven!

A very, very special thanks to Lou and her awesome team for making Sport Day possible!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I have been spending more time at FK recently, it has been magic! I really like the new tutor, Raphael, who is doing a phenomenal job with the kids. Yusuf finally knows the alphabet! R is a massive, gentle giant and I think the kids have a lot of respect for him! I took the kids old tennis balls this week to play with, and it was amazing watching them, we had balls flying every where. We need to work on hand eye co-ordination! So with the help of our new volunteer-Lou, we are planning a little sports day at her house next week, where we will do slip n’ slide, tug of war, egg and spoon races and ball games! I can’t wait, it will be such a nice break for them to get out of the school and have a fun afternoon running around! I don’t think Lou quite knows what she is in for!
I also finally feel like TFFT is “coming out” in Arusha, I now have people calling me wanting to introduce me to people, and come and see what we are doing, it is really exciting to finally feel like I have more local support and people recognize us and what we are doing here. We will be having a little Christmas Carol evening fundraiser mid December which will be a good opportunity to get to know more people in the Usa River Area.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fikiria Kwanza Library

Fikiria Kwanza students have been enjoying their new library donated by TFFT for almost a month and a half now! It was a slow beginning to the library due to delays in furniture construction and internet installation but it's all coming together quite nicely now. After the furniture was completed in September, I had a goal of opening the library to the children on October 1st. There was a lot to be done: unpack and alphabetize the books so generously donated by Scholastic, create a coding system for all the books, label all 8,500 books!, shelve them, and also train the new librarian. It was a lot of tedious work and long days but I managed to have it up and running by October 1st! The library looks great - we have 6 large bookshelves and one small one filled with books, a reading corner with a low table surrounded with pillows, and an area that will serve as the computer center. SatCom will be doing our internet installation which we hope is on track to be completed by the end of the year.

View of the library from the reading corner

Eliupendo enjoying the reading corner

I have never seen kids so excited to be visiting a library and reading! Fikiria Kwanza sends every class at least once a week to visit the library and you will see them racing to be the first ones in and with a book in their hands. It's been amazing to see their enthusiasm and excitement for the library, making all the hard work very worthwhile. I am currently working with the librarian to setup a reading club where there will be a book of the week for the children to read and discuss together. The library has been an enormous addition to Fikiria Kwanza's educational resources and will immensely benefit the children's learning progress - we're all very excited to have it up and running!!!

Mandu and Yusufu

In the photo above, you see Mandu sporting the 3-D shades to be worn while reading Polar Bears 3-D Adventure. However, the kids love to wear them no matter what book they happen to be reading, its hysterical.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Usa River Academy Parent's Visiting Day

Last Saturday, Usa River Academy hosted a day full of singing and dancing preformances, speeches, food, and christmas carols for the families of student's attending the school. Parent's Visiting Day is really special because Usa River administration does not allow for any parental visits throughout the course of the term except on this day. So all of the children have been anxiously awaiting this day. Luckily, since The Foundation For Tomorrow has 32 children attending Usa River I get some special treatment and am permitted to visit more than just this one day. Although I frequently visit the schools and TFFT students there, this did not decrease their excitment for the celebration. I was getting reminders every week from them since the beginning of term not to miss November 1st!

My Mom was in Arusha visiting, so we spent the day with the children listening to stories of teachers, school, friends, and families after the performances were complete. It was great to spend some down time with all the kids, as I am normally there giving out school supplies or tutoring in a more formal setting. I was able to get a little bit more insight into some of their personalities - for example, Zacharia wants to be a photographer. He had my Mom's camera for two hours just snapping every possible scene and got some amazing shots! Ombeni Elia wants to be a teacher or the President, I also learned that he is an excellent tour guide as he took my Mom around campus telling her all about it.

Parent's Visiting Day brought other visitors for the children as well. Aunts and Uncles, Mama's and Aunties, and friends for Violethi, Simon, Isack, Zacharia, Richard, Aminelly, Happy, Glory, and Irene also joined in on the festivities. Most of the visitors were new faces for me, so I was really happy to meet everyone and so appreciative that they made the long journey to visit the children - the endess smiles were enough for me to know that it made their weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Working to Get Greater Support

This past week has been busy. I started off the week in Dar es Salaam, following a forum last Friday in Dar, run by the East African Association of Grant Makers (EAAG), on mobilizing philanthropic resources in Tanzania. Whilst everyone acknowledges the help Tanzania needs, it seems few local companies are willing to support local NGO’s like The Foundation For Tomorrow. It was exciting to meet with some of the movers and shakers in the region. I was definitely the youngest person in the room! I then spent a few days in Dar meeting with various companies, such as DTB, Knight Frank, KLM finding out about their CSR programs and presenting proposals.
Back in Arusha, we have had huge dust storms, rain storms and all weather in between, making our internet connection erratic to say the least! Change is in the air! It looks like our rainy season has started. I am headed to Matonyok this afternoon to check on the progress of the sanitation block which is going up at lightening speed, the roof is already being put on and it looks like it will be done and ready by the end of the month, which is so exciting!