Posts Tagged 'Africa'

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.

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:

Breaking Ground on the new St. Timothy’s School!

We broke ground on the new St. Timothy’s School yesterday, August 15th, 2009, exactly one month and one day after I first arrived in here in Moshi, Tanzania!

It was absolutely perfect–not a dramatic, public event (it was just James, a few village executives,the workers, and me)–but James’ excitement and enthusiasm felt almost tangible.

For the past three past weeks, James has worked endlessly to finalize the building proposal for the new school. A process that I have come to learn is more meticulous than even the most complicated college application (kind of sad that that is all I can compare it to, but you get the drift). After a lot of patience and some compliance on our part, the proposal was approved with flying colors by the Moshi municipal ministry of education, and it has now been sent to Dar-Es-Salaam (Tanzanian business capital) to be officially registered by the country government.

In the meanwhile, we were given the go-ahead to begin construction. And so yesterday, I met James in town. He had just purchased the piping for the plumbing, and together, along with a truck load of supplies that followed, we ventured to Newland. In the past month, I have made this drive several times, and each time, I am continually amazed by the beauty that is Newland. It is a beauty that has changed since I first got here. The sunflower fields have been cut for harvest, and in their wake, the wildflowers have taken over, reclaiming their land back.

We pulled up to the site of the new school to see the workers busy digging trenches for the plumbing. We got out to walk along part of the newly dug trench, and James stopped to take it all in. He said with a huge smile on his face, “You know Lucia, this is going to be where the classrooms are going to be!” And he pointed to the land right next to where he was standing. He then ran over to where one boy was rhythmically hoisting a shovel up and down into the ground, and asked if he could try. He laughed as he pounded the shovel into the ground, pushing the dirt over to one side.

On the drive into Newland, James told me that when he was a child, public school cost one dollar per year. At the time, he did not have the money to pay for it, and he had to sell his bike so that he could go to school. He explained that this is one of the reasons that he feels so called to educating the “vulnerable children” in Tanzania. Watching James swing that shovel into the ground, I could see how determined he is to help these children, to make this vision a reality. He has come a long way, and now because of this school, others like him will now have an opportunity to receive an education. It was pretty amazing to witness.

The plumber and his workers say that they expect to finish digging the trenches and installing the tubing in the next few days, and after that, construction on the school will officially begin! James says that he thinks everything is about to get moving really fast, and judging by how fast the men were working yesterday, that is an understatement!

As for me, I have been busy working with the children at St. Timothy’s and helping with some of the Tanzania Children Concern outreach. I am planning to meet Nyla and Bryce in Kisumu, Kenya this upcoming weekend, and together we are going to launch the Rita Rose Drip Irrigation Garden! I look forward to keeping you updated on the school construction and everything else that is going on over here! Thank you again for being a part of all of this!

Yours In Hope,
Lucia Crenshaw

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