Archive for the 'Our Locations' Category

Sun up, Sun down Safari

At 7:00 am  Amy, Bryce, Joe, Raffy and myslef were sleepily waiting on the side of the Arusha Highway for the St. Timothy’s Students to pick us up in their buses.  Today all 134 students were going to the Tarangine National Park on a Safari. This is a field trip that Mama Hope funds annuallly as a way to celebrate the end of their school term.   At 7:30am the buses pulled up and kids all stuck their heads out the windows waving to us.  When I stepped onto the bus there was a sea of green and white uniforms because it was completely packed with students.  There were 4 children to every two seats, they were sitting on each other’s laps but none of the kids seemed uncomfortable.  They were all grinning and excited for their field trip so they just scooted around to make room for us and we were all on our way.
Almost immediately your typical “Field Trip Bus” hijinks began.  One student would start singing a song like “Bingo” and for a few minutes everyone would raucously join in until it trailed off about 10 minutes later.  A few students were playing a version of “I spy” counting everything they saw that was yellow and every time one of the students named Alvin saw a sign for Tarangine he would update me enthusiatically, “106 km and we arrive!”
When we reached Arusha, Esther tapped me on the shoulder excitedly pointing at something in the street, “Look, I’ve never seen one before.  And now there are two!”   I looked around trying to see what they all were so excited about and then Doreen told me “Look its a stop light.  We don’t have them in Moshi”.
A little later into the trip I heard some commotion and Acinta shouted “Meshak, you just farted!  Open the window!”  Meshak sat there looking embarassed as everyone laughed and the girls looked disgusted. Then he laughed and proudly said “I did!” and played it off like only a 9 year old boy can with the other boys giving him high fives for grossing out the girls.
After about 5 hours we finally arrived at the park and a tour guide got on our bus and said “if you want see the animals you have to be very quiet.”  The kids immediately got very serious.  It was safari time.
Tarangine’s landscape was absolutely breathtaking it was covered with herds of animals, wildebeests, warthogs, impalas, zebras, giraffes, elephants and hundreds of massive baobob trees.   At one point, we were looking at a group of zebra who seemed to be distracted by something and then we saw why.  Under a baobob tree about 50 feet away was a giant lioness eating a wildebeest. The kids all clammered to get a look and whispered “simba”.  I announced “that is my first time seeing a lion”  they all responded enthusiastically “me too!”
After seeing the lion it was time for lunch and we descended upon the picnic area.  When we were finsished and headed back to the bus out of the corner of my eye I saw a giant baboon sneaking up on a group of khakied dutch safari picnicers.  He broke into a run, hopped on their table, roared and grabbed one of the women’s lunch boxes and jumped over the fence and defiantly ate it all right in front of her.  Then if as on cue, 35 baboons emerged from the bushes hopping on tables, stealing lunches and chasing little girls.  We all watched from afar and as they reclaimed the picnic area.  When we all got back on our buses and left the baboons stood in the parking lot as if to say “And stay out!!!”
Two hours later, after seeing 5 more lions and hundreds more animals, it was 5:00pm and time to make our way back to Moshi.  A few hours into the ride Doreen was asleep in my lap, Sarafina and Jessica on either side using my shoulders as pillows and I was balancing Peace’s head in my hand as she slept.  The mosqitoe bites on my leg were itching like crazy but I didn’t want to move and wake the girls so I tried my best to doze off as well.  Just as I finally was starting to dream I was awakend by a huge “BAM!!!” and a loud clunking noise started coming from the buses engine.  It was about 9:00pm and it was pitch dark except for headlights of the passing cars.  I stepped out of the bus and stretched for the first time in 4 hours.  Soon all of students piled out of the bus excited by this new development in their field trip.  They were playing tag and Joe showed a few curious students how to use the southern cross constellation to find Saturn.  It was one of those moments I was sure could of never happened in the USA.  There was no fear about the dark just joy.  There was no complaining from the children or angry parents demanding a refund.  Instead while we waited for a new bus to pick us up we watched shooting stars appear above us everywhere.

The Second 2 Weeks: Kisumu

Joe Sabia and Raffy Marty visit the Mama Hope projects in Kenya and Tanzania. Here is the first hike of many with partner project OLPS Director Anastasia Juma.

Jane Kanango harvests tomatos at the Mama Rita Rose Garden in Kisumu, Kenya. The garden provides nutrition to over 800 people living in the community.

Anastasia and Paul give us a lesson in bow and arrow garden defense.

Joe makes a friend named Phien.

Raffy's impromptu travel log with Helen, a member of the Mama Hope sponsored Woman's Micro-finance Group.

Dorcas, another member of the Woman's Micro-Finance Group, shows us her sewing business in Kisumu, Kenya.

Wherever we go, children tend to follow. We're a little like the Pided Pipper.

Mullen, Program Director of OLPS, gives a tour of the Children's Rescue Center in Kisumu, Kenya. Mama Hope is currently raising funds to complete this community initiated project.

Raffy does his best to help out with the Children's Rescue Center bricks. He later admits he has no clue how the rock working crew manages it day in and out.

A Mama Hope induced stampede at Nyomonge Primary School (aka a game of Mr. Fox).

The longest congo line in the history of East Africa.

Joe teaches geography and American slang.

Raffy plays netball with the Mama Rita Rose Garden women. Netball is basically basketball without dribbling.

... and with a soccer ball.

Nyomonge community meeting. Their most pressing need: water.

Amy dancing with the women of Nyomonge (a continuing theme).

Bryce getting down at the Mama Hope house party with with OLPS and project beneficiaries on our last night in Kisumu, Kenya.

Joe and Nyla editing on the way to Moshi, Tanzania. Total bus time: 30 hours in 4 weeks.

The First 2 weeks

The First 2 Weeks: Bryce Yukio Adolphson

People wonder what we’re up to when we’re out with our project communities.   Here’s a taste…

Travel from Nairobi to Maai Mahiu: 2 hours.

Tuesday, June 28, 3:37pm: Visiting the chaos of Ngeya Primary School's 1700 student recess. It's crazy to think that the garden we fund here feeds them all daily.

Tuesday, June 28, 4:28pm: Attending the Ngeya Primary School Environmental Club meeting

Tuesday, June 28, 5:30pm: Plotting future projects with CTC youth and CTC Founder Zane Wilemon

Travel from Maai Mahiu to Isiolo: 7 hours

Friday, July 1, 3:08pm: Cell phone math with the New Jordan Women's Group in Isiolo, Kenya.

Friday, July 1, 5:48pm: Greg Mortenson got it wrong. It's 3 Cups of Fanta.

Saturday, July 2, 2:49pm: Flash mob dance off with our Kambi Garba water project community.

Travel from Isiolo to Arimet and back: 2 hours

Sunday, July 3, 3:19pm: Camel chasing with the Arimet water project.

Monday, July 4, 8:36am: Purchasing lumber at Mums Timber Sales to begin construction on the poultry project in Kambi Garba.

Monday, July 4, 11am: Tie-Dye madness with the NJWG micro-finance group.

Monday, July 4, 1:48pm: Haight Street, Kenya.

Monday, July 4, 4:45pm: Poultry project is well under way in Kambi Garba.

Monday, July 4, 5:53pm: Kambi Garba partner Sarafina Lokoel pumps iron at the USAID gym in honor of the 4th of July.

Travel from Isiolo to Kisumu: 12 hours

Thursday, July 7, 2:52pm: Corn shucking with the women of the Rita Rose Garden in Kisumu, Kenya.

Total time in Matatu buses: 23 hours in 2 weeks.

Interviewing the families of St Timothy’s

We kicked up a cloud of dust as we entered the village of New Land, just outside of Moshi, to interview the parents and students of the new St. Timothy’s School we all enabled the community to construct. Bryce (Mama Hope’s Visual Journalist), James (Director of St Timothy’s), Godfrey (New Land’s elected Street-Chair) and I ventured down a dirt road with the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro looming in the background. Our intent, find out why the community identified education as one of their most pressing concerns. Moreover, what impact the addition of St Timothy’s school would bring to the families and community.

Many residents were around doing chores here and there, while others stared at us in wonder. We trailed between mud homes, pig pens and occasional family graves. As we approached our first home to interview many thoughts whirled through my head; so this is life at the $2 a day poverty-line, what is daily life like here, if not for being born in a different country it might be strangers here interviewing me. Finally Bryce and I arrived at our first home.

Thoughts of things I heard and studied about Africa, Africans and global poverty whipped around my mind as we sat down face-to-face with student Theresia and her mother Elis. “Can you tell us about a day in your life?” we asked and James translated. Elis went into detail about how she prepared her home each day before going to work as a laborer in the neighboring maze (corn) fields until sun down. If she is able to pick enough maze that day she is paid 2,500 shillings (about $1.60) and buys dinner for the night. When we asked Theresia what she looked most forward to about starting school at St Timothy’s in January she said it was having a meal everyday.

Then we got into the more focused questions, “What difference does having St Timothy’s School in the communtiy have?” Elis response reflected that of all the families we interviewed, St Timothy’s school sought out and provided an option for the “forgotten kids.” The families made it clear that there were two options for children in their community, attend school and get an education or become a “street kid” exposed to many many dangers. Before St Timothy’s there were no other options for them.

As Bryce and I interviewed Elis and Theresia the grandmother joined us. The grandmother said she had hope that with a quality education Theresia could get a job and bring the family the support they desperately needed. We found it profound to see the hope that education could bring to three generations of family. Mother and Grandmother sought a better life for their family in Theresia’s education at St Timothy’s which had just begun.

This is just a little sample from the interviews we did. I couldn’t capture it all in a blog. I attached some picture of us interviewing the kids and from the footage we took.

St. Timothy’s School, Moshi, Tanzania

Here we have a short overview and progress update on St. Timothy’s School in Moshi, Tanzania. Construction began in September of this year and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30th, with children attending in January 2010. I can’t tell you how exciting it’s been to see this project rise from the fields of Newland village! The efficiency and care our local community partner Tanzania Children Concern has been giving this project is a shining example of how communities know best. From local knowledge of land rights, power and water to the best vendors and manufactures. Again and again, it’s made me believe that communities need to be helped to help themselves!


To read about my nonsense between work, check out my personal blog at:

St. Timothy’s: What I want to be…

What started out as a Q and A about thoughts on the new school turned into a “What I want to be..” fest. It really seems to me that kids throughout the world generally have the same aspirations. Whether it’s about excitement or connecting with people, the occupations are usually somehow related with the people who take care or us. And, of course, there’s always one kid who wants to be president.


Read about my moments between the work on my personal blog at:

St. Timothy’s Students on the New School

Our plans were to ask a few of the students what they thought of the school. Thanks to their vigor we ended up with a mob of children ready to tell us how excited they were about the number of toilets. Amazing since it was mere bricks when they saw it! Afterward, James was telling us that some of them wanted to have class in it before it was even completed.  A few wanted to go live in the construction site.  Wow.


To read about my moments and people between the work, check out my personal blog at:

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