Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Projects

First off, hopefully this post finds you enjoying the New Year. The Foundation For Tomorrow programs, as in the past, have shown considerable progress over the past month. Matonyok is nearly completed (at least, it was nearly completed when I left for Zanzibar) so I can only assume that the doors have been put on their hinges and that the window glass has been installed. Ndemno, true to form, has been overseeing the entire construction process and has been able to save some money by cutting corners and explaining the facility’s function to a few of the local contractors and hardware supply stores, who are keen to offer better prices for the construction of a sanitation facility for local orphans, while using material purchased from local merchants.

This, I think, really helped in the construction process. By visiting the shops, speaking with the owners, establishing trust, walking twice weekly through Olasiti – the people saw that TFFT wasn’t just throwing money at the project so that it was completed as quickly as possible. Taking an active interest in the construction process helped me to understand the various steps that were taking place, as well as the structured need for materials – that is, when each of the materials would be needed given their purpose in the overall building. I’m really now looking forward to seeing the completed building, and setting up the opening ceremony (more on that later, hopefully we won’t have to slaughter a goat!)

Teachers’ Training has taken a hiatus, since the schools are also on break. However, once the new scholastic year begins, I’m going to focus all of my attention on getting an affiliate school. From there, the program has been established and is waiting to be implemented. However, I’ll of course go back and try to trouble-shoot any unanticipated issues. But, I feel as though this program is stronger and – regardless of the timeline – will be better for the Tanzanian educational system as a whole.

The Organic Gardening Initiative proposal has been written and is just awaiting delivery. Right now, we’re trying to have a local vegetable center offer classes for the children at Matonyok, as well as oversee the implementation of advanced farming techniques over the course of the year. However, Emmy proposed the idea of having AVRDC come to Matonyok and address not only the children and the patrons, but also offer a class for the surrounding areas for farmers who can take advantage of the progressive farming techniques that AVRDC will introduce. This way, the classes can benefit not only Matonyok but the entire surrounding area as well.
So that’s all I have for this week. Hope all’s well wherever people are reading this and that the New Year is already better than the last!

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