Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I arrived home Saturday afternoon July 14. I am happy to be home. This trip involved a lot of moving around Tanzania and living out of a suitcase. Here's a recap of the traveling:

7,200 miles to Arusha: June 18-21
70 mils to Karatu: June 22-27
345 miles to Dar es Salaam: June 28-July 1
45 miles to Zanizibar: July 2-3
70 miles to Pemba: July 4
115 miles to Dar es Salaam: July 4-7
345 miles to Karatu: July 8-10
120 miles to Mugumu, Serengeti: July 11-12
7,400 miles to New York: arriving home July 14

I love Tanzania and the Tanzanians, but I am always happy to put away my suitcase and enjoy home!

Serengeti Schools

On July 11, Dr. Kebwe's secretary and his driver picked me up in Karatu and we drove six hours over rocky dirt roads to reach the Serengeti District headquarters of Mugumu. The Serengeti District is much bigger than the Serengeti National Park. Dr. Kebwe is the Mbunge (Memeber of Parliament) from the Serengeti District and he arranged my visit.

The next day we spent all day driving again over rocky dirt roads looking at schools. Mid-day we stopped for lunch. The restaurant was able to offer us nyama, ugali, wali na maharagwe (meat, porridge, rice and beans). I'm a vegetarian so I passed on the meat, I've had ugali and it's not to my liking, so I feasted on wali na maharagwe while dining with the District Education Officer and Dr. Kebwe's secretary:

Below are two photos from Rigicha Secondary School. In the first photo are school officials in the school's potential computer lab and the second photo is a shot of their school:

The headmaster at Kitunguruma School:

Classrooms at Ikorongo School:

Potential computer lab at Busawe School:

The district officials want Powering Potential to decide which of the schools will receive the Technology Tent. We can only choose three schools. It's a difficult decision. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On My Way to Work (Photos from the Serengeti)

On July 12 my job was to look at schools in the Serengeti District to determine, with district officials, where we will implement The Technology Tent next year. Dr. Kebwe's Secretary and his driver picked me up in Karatu on July 11 and we drove out to the Serengeti District. Here is what I saw on my way to work:

I hope you liked the photos! I missed a shot of the ostriches eating a snake. :)

Onward and Upward,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pemba Schools

A special thank you to Mr. Suleiman Saleh for taking me to Pemba (an island which is part of the Zanzibar Archipelago) to view future schools for Powering Potential. Mr. Saleh is the Second Secretary for Political Affairs at the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington D.C.

We flew to Pemba (30 minute ride) from the Zanzibar main island and as it happened we met the North Pemba Regional Commissioner in the VIP lounge at the Zanzibar airport, he was also flying to Pemba. Regional Commissioners are the highest ranking government officials in the area and are appointed by the President. He was very interested in our work and escorted us around the island to view schools. He brought us to his office and we discussed The Technology Tent with his Education Officers. He also invited journalists to attend the meeting including a videographer who videotaped our meeting. In the photo below, in his office, we have agreed on basic terms for implementing The Technology Tent in his region. He will pave the way for our work in Pemba.

In the photo below, at Kizimbani Secondary School, from left to right is Mr. Saleh from the Tanzanian Embassy; the assistant headmaster; and Muhsin Shamte, the headmaster. This will be the first school where we will implement The Technology Tent in Pemba.

Below is the current computer room at Wingwi Secondary School. They do have some computers but they are very old and the day we were there they weren't in use because the electricity had gone off which happens from time to time in Tanzania. With the solar power which Powering Potential installs we can avoid that problem.

We also visited a primary school which needs English books. The following two photos are from that school:

I'm looking forward to returning to Pemba and working with the beautiful people I met there!

Zanzibar Elegance

I had the honor and pleasure of joining the Ambassador's safari group for their one-day visit to Zanzibar on July 2. In the photo below, the group is waiting in the VIP airport lounge after arriving at the Zanzibar airport. When you travel with diplomats you get VIP service  :)

In the following photo I'm relaxing with Ambassador Maajar at the Zanzibar Serena hotel. Powering Potential's budget does not allow for me to stay at such fancy hotels but a Tanzanian/American member of the group who is very appreciative of Powering Potential's work offered to pay for my room so that I could stay with the group and the hotel helped out by offering the lower resident's rate.

Below is the scene being prepared for our dinner at the hotel with Second Vice-President (Zanzibar) Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and Ministers of Zanzibar. Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, they have their own Ministries. It's a unique political arrangement between mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Zanzibar is magical.

The safari group with Ambassador Maajar, Second Vice-President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and his wife, and other dignitaries. I'm seated on the right side. On the left side is a member of the Taarab musical group who serenaded us during dinner.

President Kikwete Accepts My Invitation

After our lunch with President Kikwete on June 30, we were taken to a State House garden and invited to have our photo taken with him and then we each formally said goodbye to him and another photo was taken. I'd like to express a special thank you to Muhidin Michuzi, the President's Assistant Press Secretary, for sending me the photos. Before the following photo was taken he referred to me as "Mama Karatu" and complimented me on the work of Powering Potential and I invited him to come and visit one of our schools.

In the photo below, he's telling me in Swahili that when he comes to Karatu he will come and visit a Powering Potential school.