Happy 4th of July!

Moshi Travel Blog

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Happy 4th of July!!

In honor of the holiday, I’m about to head into town with some of the
other American volunteers in search of a hamburger. We’ve also been trying
to track down some sparklers for several days now, but apparently they
don’t exist in Tanzania. But before I head out, I figured I’d write a
quick email to say hello, since it’s been so long!

Everything is still going great… Sorry I haven’t been sending updates as
often, especially about how Faraja construction is coming along, but I’ve
been SO busy out here, it’s been tough to find time to sit down and
actually write an email. Thanks to everyone’s help, the walls at Faraja
are completely, 100% built! The best news is that we even had extra funds to
plaster the cement bricks (so they look MUCH nicer!), and buy a door with a
lock for the school so Mr. and Mrs. Massawe don’t have to worry about the
tables and benches being stolen, and they won’t have to carry them inside
their house every night. And even with all of this that we weren’t
expecting to be able to accomplish, there are still even MORE funds left
over... I’ve been spending the past few days talking with I-to-I staff,
Mr. Massawe, and Mama Leah about how this money can best be used, and we
have a few ideas: we could buy first aid supplies for the classroom, paint
the walls, put shutters on the windows (the priciest option…), purchase
some much needed school supplies, or set up medical accounts for the kids at
a local hospital (this is what we most want to do, and I believe, is what is
most needed, considering several kids have AIDS, and children are out of
school everyday because of malaria or other various sicknesses… but the
fear is that the accounts wouldn’t actually be used, because most of the
children don’t have transportation to or from the hospital). Kate has also
been doing some fundraising so we’re trying to see just how much can be
accomplished thanks to everyone’s generosity and willingness to help
out!!! I will definitely let you know what is decided!! And I have to tell
you how grateful EVERYONE is. Mama Leah goes on and on about how wonderful
it is that people have contributed to the schools, and she must say “God
bless you, God bless your friends and family” at least a million times a
day. Today she sat me and Kate down and said, “Thank you, thank you. I
pray that God will give you very good husbands. Rich, kind, handsome men who
love you very much.” It was a very thoughtful prayer :) And Mr. and Mrs.
Massawe are so thankful as well. I really thought Mrs. Massawe was going to
cry today when we stood in the doorway of the school and looked at the brand
new walls. And, of course I am so thankful!! I can’t wait to show all of
you the pictures and videos of what has been going on at Faraja so you can
see how amazing all of this has been!

Kate’s (my fellow Faraja teacher) last day in Moshi is this Friday, so we
are planning a huge day for the kids. We’re hoping the plaster will be
completely dry and the door attached so it will be like a big welcome home
party for them. We’ve been making lots of classroom decorations to make it
a comfortable, enjoyable place to be… paper chains, paper lanterns, lots
of pictures colored by the kids, a big alphabet banner… and tomorrow is
“painting day”. Kate brought some finger paint with her and we decided
to risk potentially making a huge mess to let the kids have some fun :) At
my mom’s suggestion, I’m also going to get a big world map I found in a
bookstore today to put up on the wall so future volunteers can put their
picture up with an arrow showing where they live. That way, even though the
volunteers come and go, everyone leaves their little mark on the school, and
the kids will also get a better understanding that this world is a big,
diverse place. The volunteers were all talking the other night and we were
shocked to find out that many of the students we are teaching don’t
realize that all of us white people don’t come from the same place.

Aside from all the work at Faraja, I’ve also been up to some really fun
stuff. My birthday was amazing (Thanks for all the birthday wishes, by the
way!), everyone here made it a great day, taking me out to dinner, and to
this outdoor bar called Glacier where we had a bonfire and roasted
marshmallows. I even got a few presents, which was unexpected, but is always
nice :) This weekend we finally made it out to Marangu Waterfalls, where I
jumped off a waterfall that was a good 30 feet high. It was terrifying, but
ridiculously fun. I basically had to be pushed over the edge the first time
I jumped, but I loved it so much, I then jumped another three times. I now
have a MASSIVE bruise on my thigh from an awkward landing in the water, but
it was definitely worth it. The whole Marangu area is very scenic, and the
hour and a half car ride with our favorite taxi driver, Mr. Munzari was very

Okay, everyone is waiting for me to leave and as usual, this “quick”
email took way longer to write than I originally planned. More updates to
come soon… I’m sure this weekend, seeing as all but 4 of the volunteers
who are currently working here are leaving me this weekend and 26 new people
are arriving. They’ll be stuck in orientation all day, which might leave
me with some free time.

Miss you all!
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photo by: joseph98