It is getting dry and hot again in Moshi and the surrounding area. The rains continue around Mt. Kilimanjaro so it is also uncharacteristically humid. The dust is collecting on the leaves again, the luscious green is becoming brown, and the fragrant flowers are slowly wilting. It is a stark contrast from just a few weeks ago when the roads were washed out and it was raining every night.
For BCC, projects are winding down and everyone is preparing for the day center holiday closure which will begin around December 19. The program will open again during the first week of January. It will be a much-needed break for the staff and management team of BCC. The closure should provide enough time for everyone to be able to visit their families in their home villages, which is customary in Tanzania.
Last week we spent much of our time showing John’s parents the day centers. John’s dad is a child psychologist in North Platte, Nebraska. Moshi has a population of 144,000 people, but there are no psychologists. His dad will meet with the teaching curriculum consultants and Genevieve, the BCC Health/Education Coordinator, next week to discuss activities for the children in their homes and in the day center. He will also have the initial meeting about the caregiver-to-caregiver early intervention program that BCC is working to establish.
We also spent a lot of time cutting out hundreds of little pictures, laminating them, and placing Velcro on the back. These little pictures will be a part of the expanded PECS program. The PECS program is an internationally-used picture communication program that BCC is implementing in all of the day centers. The hope is that the children will be able to communicate and learn basic steps of tasks through picture communication. We will write more about the PECS program in the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section this week.
We visited Charlie’s mother again. Charlie’s mother is the woman that has agreed to make earrings out of scrap fabric and bottle caps. Her earrings are a huge hit with our mothers and their friends! We plan to help Charlie’s mom expand her market to local shops and anywhere else that will sell the items. She is a very happy woman. We will write more about it her and her success soon!
We also painted a day center Friday and Saturday. One of the centers in our neighborhood, Karanga, needed external paint. We painted the inside during our first month in Tanzania, but we had not had a chance to paint the outside. We also needed to paint animals and other child-friendly photos inside of the center. With John’s parents present, we have extra hands and extra motivation to finish painting. We will talk more about this in our “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section this week.
Finally, Melissa’s 26th Birthday was Sunday so we celebrated! This is the first time Melissa has had a “summer” birthday! We had to play Christmas music so she realized it was her birthday! John made her a delicious chocolate cake with peanut butter icing in the middle, chocolate icing on the outside…and sprinkles on top! It was yummy!
This coming week will be a very busy week both with BCC and for us personally. We will all be working to prepare ourselves for the next few weeks off. We have several projects to finish and a couple of meetings left to attend. Personally, Rosemary, the BCC Sustainability Coordinator, is getting married! Culturally, her family hosts what is called a “send off” on Thursday which celebrates the end of Rosemary’s time with her parents. Then they have a wedding on Saturday, where the groom’s family will celebrate a new member of their family. It should be a pretty interesting series of events!
In the “Through Their Eyes” section this week we will introduce an upcoming fundraising event that will tie all of the children’s Through Their Eyes stories together.