Monday, December 1, 2008


12/1 – Hello everyone and happy December. I must apologize for my delayed blogging… I’ve been through about three computers this month as well as two power bricks and all of this technological difficulty has taken its toll on my ability to write for an extended period of time. So here it is.

As always, Matonyok is proceeding nicely. Aside from the workers’ wages and some incidental materials that seem to always pop up at the end of a construction project, it looks like the sanitation facility will be completed under budget and close to two months in advance of schedule. I say this as the short rainy season begins, but the roof has been up for about three weeks and has already weathered some heavy storms (most notably last Friday night where it rained torrentially for close to three hours. The local authorities advised people with goats and sheep in their yards to take them all inside, as the rain might be too much for them to handle).

But the structure held up and should be good to go. The electrician has already come and gone, and the plumber is back this week to connect the bio-gas tanker to the sanitation facility. After this, there should be only minimal work to be done – though the electrician has left wires available for the installation of a solar panel system (more on that later).

As this project comes to a close, I can’t help but look back at the expediency with which the workers executed their responsibilities. Everyone, from the timber man to the hardware store to the electrician to Emmy and Ndemno have been completely dependable and have worked diligently to see this project to its conclusion. I now know that since I’ve put it in writing that something will come up. But we’ll deal with as best we can, as always.

It’s actually been a busy month for teachers’ training. Beginning with meeting with the US consulate staff in Dar in early November, the wheels have really got going – and I think that going back to the drawing board and reinventing the program is a great idea. I’ve been able to meet with some leading educators in Arusha, and they all agree that working on a smaller scale closer to home is a much better idea (and much more marketable since it undercuts the need for six $3,000+ flights to America) and some have even advocated keeping it within Arusha, while working with the international schools. But I’ve been able to get some contact and have gone back to revise the proposal time and again. It’s currently known (rather aptly) as ‘Work in Progress’.

However, I’ve gotten some good feedback and will have something tangible to offer by mid-December. Even if we start the program in early February, there’s still much time to work out the kinks and select motivated teachers from our affiliate schools. Most recently, I met up an ex-pat who operates a teacher’s college in Magugu (yes, that’s a real place) and has been a great help on this project. She thinks that it’s a much better idea to streamline the program to include only one academic field per year – starting with maths, then science, then English and so on for an extended period of time.

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of editing and re-editing which I believe is for the best, since I’d like the program to be implemented as effectively as possible. Though, there’s still the question of quantifiability – something that I’m currently working on this month. So, that’s all I have for now. If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! I’ll try to be more diligent in writing.

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