Update

Moshi is becoming quite the central hub. Many of our friends have told us that as the holidays approach, people will return home from their place of employment to visit their families. For most people in this region, that means they return to their rural village from the economic capital, Dar es Salaam. Whether we are sitting at Union Café enjoying a latte, haggling in the market for fruit, or driving John’s parents to and from day centers, it is clear that there are more people in Moshi.

In Tanzania, most people focus less on purchasing material items and more on visiting family. We really like this aspect of the holiday season in Tanzania. We don’t see the endless advertisements on how best to show a loved one that you care. However, we do see new faces in town and people visiting families from far away.

Even though the weather is consistently in the upper 80’s with high humidity, a stark contrast from what we are use to for December in the Midwest, it is starting to feel a little like Christmas. We are listening to Christmas music on our iTunes and doing our best to get in the holiday spirit. For us, Christmas is usually a time to get together with family. Since we have been surrounded by family for the past few weeks, it has helped us feel like it is almost time for Christmas.

This past week has been very interesting. Rosemary, the sustainability coordinator for BCC, had her send off party and was married! It was wonderful to experience a wedding ceremony in another culture. We decided it would be interesting to share our experience at the send off and the wedding. We will replace “Inspirational Tid-Bits” with a two-part wedding blog that will post over the next two weeks.

One thing that was very interesting last week was the opening of a supermarket in Moshi called Nakumatt. During our first visit to Nakumatt, we experienced a little bit of culture shock. There were rows of flat screen TV’s, well organized shopping aisles, and a produce section! Most things were fairly expensive, but it is clear that (just as in the United States and many other places in the world) many small businesses will close because of the opening of this large chain superstore. As for us, we will do our best to remain faithful to Aleem’s and Hot Bread, the locally-owned stores.

We also exploited our relationship with John’s father last week. He is a child psychologist and there are no psychologists in Moshi. We decided to use his knowledge and experience to help with the implementation of the PECS program. He met with the newly-appointed teacher curriculum advisors to discuss simple child development and some techniques that he uses to promote continued development in children with disabilities in the U.S. The photo below is of our meeting with John’s dad and BCC staff. John’s mom is diligently cutting out the PECS pictures!

Here’s a photo of the piles of PECS pictures that we have cut and are currently putting velcro on. We had no idea how big this project was going to be, but we’ve spent several hours cutting, laminating, and velcroing!

Genevieve, the health/education coordinator, distributed walkers to a couple of day centers last week! We also delivered a walker to a wonderful young child who lives in our neighborhood named Upendo. An Australian organization donated some funds to assist children who need walkers. We are hopeful that the walkers will help with the children’s mobility.

We also visited Karanga 2, the day center that we painted last week. The center staff were so excited about the new paint! The children were also very excited about their new learning environment! While we were at the day center, we noticed that the children were also playing with some rattles/shakers that Melissa’s mom made out of discarded water bottles, bells and glitter! It was fun to see the center improvements in use!

The day centers are closed this next week, but we are still planning to work here and there. We want to finish the PECS pictures so that we can implement the program in early January. We are also going to meet with the second cooperative. Finally, we plan on painting the floor at one more day center before we break for the holidays. It should be another fun week!

Last week we introduced our fundraiser, Hike 4 Healthcare. In the “Through Their Eyes” section this week, we will discuss Haika, another BCC participant, and continue to discuss the Hike 4 Healthcare and the impact it can have on children served by BCC.

John’s sister is currently on her way to Tanzania! For Christmas, we will be on safari with the Striebels! It should be a memorable Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Heri ya Krismas!

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