Last Call from Africa (email)
Moshi Travel Blog› entry 23 of 23 › view all entries
The end is really hereâ€¦ I just finished up my last day at Faraja, and walking out of the brand new classroom for the last time was probably one of the most difficult and emotional things Iâ€™ve ever done. We were all crying ďż˝" me, Mrs. Massawe, Mr. Massawe, Amy (a volunteer who came to visit Faraja today), Lisa (the volunteer who is taking over for me now that Iâ€™m heading home)â€¦ well, everyone except Mama Leah, who wouldnâ€™t shed a tear because she says she knows Iâ€™m going to return soon (and Iâ€™m pretty sure sheâ€™s right). Even after just one month, I feel so invested in this school and attached to these kidsâ€¦ basically Iâ€™m really sad right now. But at the same time, Iâ€™m really happy. Every day I am shocked to see the progress the kids have made. I know things will only get better for them from here, and that is fantastic. On top of that, this past week has been amazing. A new group of volunteers arrived last weekend and Lisa, a girl from Australia who is now working at Faraja, is so, so, so excited and enthusiastic about everything. She has already put down a payment to build shutters for the school, and she is planning to do even more over the four weeks that she will be here (this list includes looking into getting a toilet for the schoolâ€¦ yay!). Slowly but surely, everything is coming together. Not only that, but an artist in California is also here volunteering, and she wants to spend her time working on various art projects in Moshi. She has already put up a gorgeous mosaic at Mama Leahâ€™s school, and when I mentioned to her earlier this week that I was thinking about using some of the extra money from fundraising to hire someone to paint a mural on the new walls at Faraja, she said sheâ€™d do it! Not only that, but she bought some tiles to decorate around all the windows inside. Unfortunately, I wonâ€™t be around to see the finished project, but I made everyone promise to take LOTS of pictures.
So, since the shutters are taken care of, and the school is going to be beautified, I was really stressing out earlier this week about what exactly to do with the left over donationsâ€¦ I ended up spending a lot of time talking with the I-to-I staff, and we set up an account with Majengo Medical Center, so the kids at Faraja, and their caretakers, can get free medical care whenever they need it!!! You might remember from my earlier email that medical care is one of the biggest needs at Faraja, but we werenâ€™t sure how to go about getting medicine for the kids because the hospital is so far away. But, on Thursday I went to meet with the Moshi Medical Commissioner, Dr. Chilangua, and he let me know that he would help me set up an account with the local medical center in Majengo (the village where Faraja is located) instead of at the hospital, to ensure that the kids could easily get there when they need it. After that, I went to the Majengo Medical Center to meet with the head doctor, which was an experience in itself. It was very, very sadâ€¦ at least 60 to 70 people sitting on benches in long hallways, mostly women holding screaming and crying babies, just waiting to be seen by a doctor. But, the good thing is that all of those people were getting taken care of by a team of amazing, dedicated doctors in a clean, well-equipped medical center. And now all of the kids at Faraja can get the same treatmentâ€¦ the money from the account will be used to purchase drugs for the most common diseases (malaria, yellow fever, typhoid fever). These drugs will be kept on store in a cabinet that the medical center has set aside just for Farajaâ€™s use so when they are needed, no time needs to be wasted ordering the meds, and the children and their families wonâ€™t have to worry about traveling to town to fill prescriptions. As the medicine supplies are used up, they will be replaced as needed. Any other medicines that are needed can be paid for with money from the account, and the doctor consultation fee will also come from this account. I was assured that careful records will be kept, so I can see exactly where all the money is going. The best part is that more money can be added at any time, by anyone. So, if in the future, any other volunteers decide they want to support Faraja in this way, they can easily add money to the account. I can also wire money into the account, and I am trying to come up with some good fundraising ideas to do when I get homeâ€¦ if you have any ideas, be sure to let me know :) So, getting all that worked out was definitely one of the best parts of my last week hereâ€¦ I was a little sad because I had to miss a day of work to go meet with all these people, but obviously this is much better for the kids in the long run!!
Other than that, Iâ€™ve just been wrapping everything up out here. Lots of time spent savoring the last few days with my roommate Sarah, who has quickly become one of my favorite people in the world. She is traveling for the next several months, and right now is on the computer next to me buying a ticket to good old Michigan in October (I know, exciting right?) Lots of souvenirs and presents bought, lots of skirts made by my tailor (I can call him â€śmy tailorâ€ť after I brought him new fabric to make skirts every day for a week, right??) Lots of pictures taken, lots of wandering around town, lots of eating at my favorite restaurants for the last timeâ€¦ all in all a busy but great week.
I still canâ€™t believe that in three days Iâ€™ll be back home, sleeping in my own bed again. I think Iâ€™m sort of in denial about itâ€¦ as excited as I am to see everyone again, I feel like its going to be VERY strange to be home. I have become so accustomed to the slow but satisfying lifestyle here in Moshi. Seeing chickens run through the classroom in the middle of a lesson is no longer strange to meâ€¦ random goats and cows next to cars on the city streets is normalâ€¦ saying hello to every single person that crosses my path is standardâ€¦ Iâ€™m used to having permanently filthy feet and legsâ€¦ and I actually enjoy walking at least 12 miles a day. I think in some ways heading back home will be as much of a culture shock as arriving here was.
Okay, another long email, as usual. Thereâ€™s lots more to tell about, like the authentic African meal I ate at Mr. Munzari the taxi drivers house with his family (that means no silverwareâ€¦), the trip to Mr. Munzariâ€™s hometown in the Pare Mountains where we got a view of Kenya from a mountain top (yeah, like I said, we love that guy), me and Sarahâ€™s three hour wandering through random back roads in Moshi, and of course, my favorite - all the time in the classroom, and the banner I had all the kids put their painted handprints on and sign for me to bring home with meâ€¦ but I wonâ€™t go into all that now. Once Iâ€™m back home, Iâ€™ll send another email letting you all know the link to my blog and the place I put my pictures up, so you can check them out if you ever feel like it. But I guess that means this is really, truly the last call from Africa! Again, thank you all for the emails, encouragement, support while Iâ€™ve been traveling. Iâ€™LL SEE YOU ALL SOON!!