Update

Rich and Barb, our international supervisors, should be landing Tuesday evening. We are very excited for their return to Tanzania! They were with us for our first month in Tanzania last April, and now they will be here for the remainder of our trip. Rich and Barb travel between the United States, Romania, and Tanzania, working with projects in each respective location. They have so much knowledge and experience in so many things; we are hoping to learn as much as possible from them during our last few months. You can follow their blog at http://mosaicinternational.tumblr.com/.

Work last week was just a typical week. We spent most of our time in the office preparing last-minute details for Rich and Barb’s return. On Tuesday, Melissa met with Kaaya, Genevieve, and a representative of CAPDA, an Australian organization that BCC works with, to decide where funds from a grant that CAPDA received should be allocated. It seems like a great grant and most of the money should fit into the strategic plan with items such as making the day centers wheelchair accessible and child friendly. While she did this, John went with Jesse, our safari driver friend, to work on the infamous Land Rover so that it runs when Rich lands! Also, Thursday was Zanzibar Revolution Day, so the office was closed. We spent the holiday like we spend most days off, working on paperwork at Union Café. It is safe to say that Union has become our home away from home!

Over the past few weeks, we have been working on a short workout regimen in order to get our legs in shape for the Hike 4 Healthcare. This week we have kicked our workout up a notch. Instead of walking the shortcut to and from work, we are walking the long route. This means we walk about six miles a day as opposed to four. We also plan on walking for five hours (about 10 miles) one day a week in order to prep our legs for the long days of hiking to come. Finally, since there are few hills in Moshi and our hike will involve a lot of uphill climbs, we are working to strengthen our legs and core.

This week John did the following: three sets of 30 crunches and two sets of 15 side crunches (one on each side), one set of 20 push-ups and two sets of 15 push-ups, two sets of 30 moving lunges (15 per leg), two sets of 50 standing lunges (25 per leg), two sets of 25 squats, and three sets of 10 bicep curls (he curls the 10 liter water jugs!). Melissa did the following: two sets of 50 standing lunges (25 per leg), three sets of 25 sit-ups (one on each side and one in the middle), two sets of 10 push-ups, two sets of 10 dips (which made her arms burn!), two sets of 25 squats, and some sort of ballet move that involves holding a squat while strengthening her arms (confusing to describe, but it’s painful!). We finish by stretching and hoping that our legs will get in shape fast!

We have another short update on Mama Moto. Last week, Inspirational Tid-Bits was an update on her earring business experiment. She had to stop making complete earring sets because she ran out of earring hooks. We had many people looking all over Moshi for the hooks, but no one could find them. She called on Thursday and was very excited. Because of our terrible Swahili skills we couldn’t really understand her, but we knew that she wanted to see us. We called Genevieve, the BCC Health/Education coordinator, and she said Mama Moto had found the hooks and had completed over 50 sets of earrings! That means that Mama Moto will make about 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings, or about $65.00. Remember, this is more than two month’s salary before the earring project. Needless to say, she was very excited, as were we. As we were leaving her house after we purchased the earrings, she told us that she would now be able to pay for her children’s school fees. Mama Moto continues to humble us. We are amazed at how wonderful of a mother she strives to be.

We were very excited that she found the hooks on her own. This shows her commitment to the business and the empowerment that she has found through making her business successful. We plan to get bring several sets of earrings with us to the U.S. The earrings will come in a variety of fabrics as all of the earrings are made out of scrap material that she finds from tailors around town. We think they are all beautiful, and they are definitely unique! Please email us at john.melissa.tanzania@gmail.com if you would like to order earrings in advance! See the photo below for an example of the earrings. Mama Moto is definitely a major success story during our year here! We will continue to keep everyone updated on how she is doing throughout our last few months.

This next week we really aren’t sure what we will be doing. As we mentioned earlier, Rich and Barb land Tuesday evening (hopefully!). We will probably spend the first few days of the week catching them up on everything that has happened over the past 9 months, but after that, we will work on whatever they need us to complete. We are sure they will want to visit some contacts that we have made and visit the bag cooperatives, the Pasua beading ladies, and other projects that we have been working on. It all depends on jet lag and what their plans are!

It will be quite different with Rich and Barb here this time. Last April we were completely unfamiliar with Moshi. We didn’t know what to do or where to go. Now we are very familiar with the area and the people. We can get around on our own and we have some of our own projects to complete. It will be good to have Rich and Barb here for immediate questions, but it will also be nice to work on projects separately to maximize efforts. We are very excited to have them back!

In the Through Their Eyes section this week, we will write about Frederick. In the Inspirational Tid-Bits section, we will talk about the beginning of vocational school for several young adults from the BCC program!

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