I’m back!  It only took me two weeks this time.  I’m making progress!  Before you know it, I’ll be on a weekly schedule like Kerri.

We’ve been pretty busy over the last two weeks and have made some progress on our projects.  Here is a brief run-down of the main events:
On a totally non-work related note, we went camping!  Andrea, a volunteer from Cross Cultural Solutions, was living with us for about two weeks and to celebrate her departure, we decided to take a camping trip to the hot springs (pictured to the right).  They are located about an hour drive from Moshi and seem to be placed in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  To get there, you drive for about twenty minutes out of Moshi on the paved road, turn onto a dirt road that eventually morphs into what appears to be a giant field that you are meant to drive through the reach your destination.  We navigated the bumps and potholes and eventually made it to the hot springs.  We spent the evening sitting around the fire and slept in our tents while it poured overnight.  We swam in the springs all morning and had quite an exciting ride back.  Our friend Kristen, who drove us all in her van, had to leave early in the morning.  So the remaining 9 of us, all of our tents, mats, sleeping bags and luggage were meant to get back to Moshi in a pickup truck.  A singular pickup truck.  In truly African style the boys managed to secure all of our belongings in the back of the truck and we all made it back to Moshi in one piece.  Imagine nine people riding in the back of the truck below.

As you may have seen on Facebook, our friend Paul came to the after-school group at Kilimahewa last week.  Paul has faced a lot of challenges throughout his life and talked with the kids about the importance of perseverance and working hard to reach your goals.  Paul also happens to be a fabulous dancer and ended the day teaching the kids some of his dance moves.  The kids loved every minute of Paul’s visit and are constantly asking us when he’s coming back.  We switched gears from “getting to know you” activities this week and have been working with the kids on goal planning.  The picture below is from our “trust walk” activity on Thursday where the kids worked on planning, communication, and cooperation.

If you check out Kerri’s blog post from last week, you can read more about her involvement with the Rotary in the United States and our experience with the Rotary Club here in Moshi.  We went to a meeting on Thursday and found ourselves at a fancy Rotary dinner on a Friday.  The Lieutenant Governor of the East African Rotaries had flown in for the dinner and gave a pretty inspiring speech.  Check out the picture to see Kerri and I with him and his wife.  It was a pretty cool experience and we are looking forward to networking further with the Moshi Rotary Club.

One of the most exciting parts of this week was our visit to the Sambarai Ward office to distribute information about EdPowerment’s Discovery Scholarship and inform the village leader that we would be providing funds to finish building a primary school in the area.  The scholarship contest is seeking to find a student from the Sambarai Ward to sponsor throughout secondary school.  In order to be considered for the sponsorship, students have to fill out an application form, provide a teacher recommendation, and come to Kilimahewa in early November to write two essays.  As the applications come in, I’ll update you on the process.  We’ll also be posting pictures of the building project at the Sambarai Primary School.

As with many things in Tanzania, progress on our residency permits has been slow and complicated.  The government here tends to be pretty corrupt and officials are always trying to charge corruption fees to get work done.  Our in-country director, Mama Grace, went to the immigration office two weeks ago to try and sort our permits (which already cost $550 a piece for a year) and the immigration officer tried to charge her an additional $300 each to process the applications.  Knowing what we know about corruption, we decided to seek the help of some friends with connections.  Luckily, we found someone with an in and are getting our permits sorted this week for the regular, insanely high price of $550.  I guess it all goes back to who you know…
I’ll end with a story from yesterday.  Probably my worst nightmare realized J.  I was about to take a shower and found our roommate Swaleh in the bathroom about to clean.  He asked if I wanted him to clean later and I said I would shower when he was finished…and I’m glad I did.  About five minutes after he started cleaning, Swaleh moved our shampoo to clean the floor and found a GIGANTIC tarantula hanging out on the floor.  He, of course, thought it would be hilarious to put the spider on the broom and chase us around the house.  As a person with major arachnophobia, I did not find this so humorous.  I ran into my room and slammed my door until the spider was safely outside.  If I were not experiencing sheer panic, I probably would have taken a picture and posted it.  I've found a picture on the internet that I think does that spider justice.  I’m praying this was the first and last time I see a tarantula in person.  

Oh! I was also burned by a Nairobi fly, which is a bug that leaves a nasty burn on your skin if it touches you.  It is totally harmless, but looks absolutely disgusting.  The bugs are common this time of year and I was lucky enough to come in contact with one!  Sorry for those who are faint of heart, but I attached a picture so you could share my pain ;). 

Thanks again for all of you who are keeping up to date on our adventures.  Leave a message and let me know what is happening with you all, it’s great to know that people from home are out there!

Until next time….

10/24/2011 02:57:40 pm

Hey Jillian,
I feel your pain on the Nairobi fly. I got one when I was there too. I got this cream called Elycort from the Duka La Dawa and it worked wonders:)
Take Care,


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