Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fruitful Visit

JRO - Kilimanjaro airport in Arusha, Tanzania.

Am waiting to check in at the airport and then off I go....home on Dec. 20.

I feel like I've been here for 10 months not 10 days :)

I had several meetings with Tanzanian government officials and they are paving the way forward for us. Also Hamisi, the head of Ensol which is the solar company we use, came to Banjika to see the solar system. We worked out a design that will serve the school's needs and be very efficient.

Also met with these people to discuss our future projects:
  • Mason - our consultant
  • Mtituh - a tech guy from Dar who has been very helpful
  • Mercy, Noel, Tina, Wantay, and Dr. Taylor - representatives from NGOs (non-government organizations) working in Tanzania. I'm learning from their experiences.
  • Sirili, Emanuel and Happy - former Banjika students who I am considering as future Technology Tent trainers.
Justine, the headmaster, and I worked out a design for the computer lab....where to place all the new computers that are coming. And Rogers, our tech guy here, was at Banjika yesterday and today to fix a few problems.

I had a chance to observe Meshack teaching The Technology Tent. I'm amazed at how much the students have learned. I took some videos of the class and will get them up online to share.

The counter clerk just arrived....I better go and check in.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

U.S. Embassy in Tanzania

This is the certificate which the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania presented to me and Justin Joseph, the headmaster at Banjika, at the Embassy's Check Presentation Ceremony yesterday.

It says:

"U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam 
U.S. Ambassador's
Self Help Grant Award
The United States Embassy has awarded
Tsh 8,600,000 to Powering Potential
to upgrade the solar power system at Banjika Secondary
School. Congratulations and thank you for helping to bring electronic information technology to rural schools."

It is also signed by Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt.

Justine and I had an official photo taken with the Ambassador and there was a group photo of the grantees. We will get those photos in March.

l to r: Albin, Janice, Justin

The Embassy forbids guests from bringing cameras on the grounds so we had this photos taken after we got back to the hotel. A very exciting day and an historic one for Powering Potential!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back in Dar

The excitement is starting early.

I've been invited to a party tonight. A friend's mother is a Tanzanian politician who was recently appointed Deputy Minister for one of the Ministries. The family is celebrating her new status with the government and also her birthday. This party will be a taste of Tanzanian high society. I need to get home early though because:

Tomorrow at 9am the Check Presentation Ceremony with the Ambassador begins at the U.S. Embassy. I got a call on Friday from a Tanzanian journalist who wants to interview me :) He told me, "This ceremony is a BIG deal."

The Karatu District Education Officer called. We are meeting next Friday to work out details for future projects. He is very eager to continue supporting our work. He assured me that the computer teacher for Banjika will begin work in January at the start of the new school year. He is honored that the U.S. Embassy is giving money for a project at a school in his district and he is covering the costs for the headmaster to attend the ceremony.

I also spoke with Mr. Kalinga from the Ministry of Education and had a long meeting with Albin, Powering Potential's representative in Tanzania.

Stay tuned....