We went back to work last week after a relaxing week on safari. Our break came at the perfect time! We are now over halfway finished with our fellowship in Tanzania. It is hard to believe that we are halfway done, but it was nice to reward ourselves with a little break.
Aunt Karen stayed with us until Thursday, when she flew home. She is a phenomenal seamstress. She sewed Melissa’s wedding dress and has many years of sewing experience. Neither of us are quality sewers (in fact, Melissa can’t even sew a button onto anything!), so our opinions on the product details come strictly from a consumer perspective. We thought it would be helpful for the bag cooperative to get some perspective from someone with sewing experience. So, we used her talent to help the bag cooperative with attention to detail. A photo of her helping the cooperative members is below.
With her help, we made standard measurements and created some general patterns for the cooperative to use in order to ensure that each bag is the same size and shape. Melissa now knows how to create the patterns so the future looks bright!
We were also brought up to date on some of the things that the BCC management did while we were gone. Rosemary traveled to Dar es Salaam in order to follow up on some grants we submitted, and to gather new grant applications. We are looking forward to some good news from the grants that we submitted and we are excited for the possibility of several new grant opportunities!
As we mentioned in the past, we are working to register every child that BCC serves for public school. This will be an advocacy effort to express the need for expanded public schooling for children with developmental disabilities and/or government funding for programs like BCC. Genevieve met with two of the three current public schools for children with developmental disabilities. They are in full support of our idea and they were more than willing to work with us to create a plan for every child that BCC serves to register for public school. They informed Genevieve that most children will be denied, but we are expecting this and this evidence will help prove the need for more special education classrooms.
We ended our week by attending a birthday party for an 8 year old friend of ours! She wanted the “mzungus” (westerners) to come to her party. Even though the power was out for most of the evening (which meant celebrating with flashlights!) we had a wonderful time and we think that she did too!
In honor of our halfway point we are going to change a few things on our blog. This week we are going to post a few lists. After six months we are now aware of the things that we brought with us that are highly valuable. We are also aware of the things that we brought with us that are completely useless. In the “Through Our Eyes” section we will post the top ten things that we are glad we brought and the top ten things that we are sad we brought.
We have also identified several things we miss from home and things we may miss once we return to the United States. In the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section we will post the top ten things that are available in the United States that we wish were available in Moshi. We will also post the top ten things that Moshi has that we wish were in the United States.
The major change we will be making to the blog revolves around the “Through Our Eyes” section. We feel that we have explained many of our experiences, and, for the most part, our experiences are changing. We have decided to change the “Through Our Eyes” section to a new section called “Through Their Eyes.”
We are working on a fundraiser, the details of which will be released later. We have been mentioning our work with the local medical school, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC). We are working to establish an alternative healthcare program in conjunction with them. In order to emphasize the importance of general healthcare in Tanzania we will discuss the children served by BCC and their stories and experiences with the local healthcare system in the new “Through Their Eyes” section.
We are excited for the next 6 months and for the things that BCC can accomplish! We thank all of you for your continued support during our time in Tanzania. We often miss home, but your emails, letters, thoughts, and prayers keep us going!