International Women’s Day. 8 March.

International Women’s Day
A day to celebrate ALL WOMEN world wide
To share this day surrounded by women (and some very committed men!!), young and old, striving to better their lives and to empower the women around them, was definitely a special and memorable celebration.
For all women, everyday throws many challenges and this day was no different!
It became very busy with the integral daily schedule and extraneous events/commitments and activities tripping over each other… the outcome was productive!!

I had brought four visitors from the Morogoro International School to visit. The usual daily procedure of Morning assembly unfolded and as everyone had arrived on time, they were all present for the assembly.
1.       School prayer: recited
2.       School song: sung
3.       Morning talk: presented. Two talks were given by the Form 3 leaders, Subira and Mwilwa who set the standard high and demonstrated very good Public speaking skills to enable the younger student s to emulate.
4.       Introductions of MIS visitors: accompanied by a warm rendition of SEGA’s ‘Welcome visitors’ song
5.       Counselor Pauline introduced International Women’s Day.
Clementina, Headmistress, supported her then spoke strongly of our belief in the potential of our girls to be great leaders and role models in our communities. This was sealed with the promise of Pilau on the menu for today’s celebration!... the girls cheered…..then Mama Matron joined us….and the girls went wild….cheering and clapping….. and then they broke into song. A song which celebrates and honors mothers! Matron is dearly loved by all the girls as she is their Mama. She had respected the Day by dressing in her African refinery… as many of us had also done that day!!
Morning talks completed.

Mama Matron listening to the girls praise her in song.
Singing to Mama Matron.
What a magical start to the day!
The Medical team had arrived and each girl proceeded to be given a thorough Health check which included an eyesight test.
An opportunity was given to the girls to view her own blood through the microscope as their test was investigated which added interest and practical learning opportunity throughout the long tiresome process! Great idea Tracey!
Preparing a slide before the next client .
Waiting, waiting, waiting patiently to be the patient!

Meanwhile in the big bunda, Kennedy’s From 1 English class was getting to know our four MIS visitors: Dave and Daniella husband and wife trainee teachers;
 Clare from UK possibly going into Education in ESL and Kia originally from Scotland, now gaining a better understanding of the Tz education system. The enthusiastic group were sharing their stories, learning more about each other’s cultures and practicing their public speaking skills and conversational English…. all in one practical setting! New friends were made knowledge was added to enhance a greater understanding and appreciation for life outside SEGA and Morogoro…
 Nasura sharing her story.
 Happy Job Mgongwa
Karibu visitors…you are a valuable resource for our girls. It is a win/win when visitors come. They cannot leave without being touched to the heart by these beautiful girls and what is being done here at SEGA to support them!!
Fundacion Paraguaya also had an important member of their team visiting from the Us and so their meetings continued here at the school nurturing the integration of business enterprise into SEGA’s world.
Our kuku business is soon to begin and ground work is being done to ensure it is eventually linked with our Academic curriculum.
 Tracey sharing Mandanzi and chai with the staff.
 MIS visitors sharing mandazi and chai with Jessie and the students.
 Violet and Loyce...Mama Cooks....dressed beautifully to prepare our special lunch of Pilua
Alex, Thomas and Masoud
Peter and Kennedy filling up

Sylvanus enjoying (as eveyone did!!) Mama Mpishi's special pilau dish!

The middle and hottest part of my day was eaten up by standing in queues to discover empty ATMs then resorting to standing in a bank queue for another ½ hour. This was followed by enduring 2 ½ hours of more queues and frustrations to eventually successfully extract a parcel from the POSTA:
Queue @ POSTA --- queue @ Revenue Board --- queue @ POSTA ---  queue @ Revenue Board ---back to POSTA with rep from RB to pull parcel apart and inspect its contents --- back to RB and haggle about charges (finally reduced to 20,000Tsh from an initial 35,000Tsh…good work Fran!!!) ---another bank queue: ¾ hr wait to pay charges ---back to queue @ RB ---queue @ POSTA --- pay POSTA charges ---SECURE parcel…. HONGERA!!! (It was worth it though because its contents have made the girls sooo happy…THANKS Sandra. You are a GEM!)
If you send us a parcel write on the description of goods: “School Supplies” because everything you send fits that category (It is going to SEGA School….supplying something!!) and that description doesn’t draw taxes or any attention

The SEGA day continued. Having enjoyed their celebratory lunch of Pilau, Form 2 students and 5 each from Form 1 and Form 3 were treated with the second session of a Study Skills workshop run by Tracey and Anastazia. Knowledge and guidelines were given instructing the girls on ways to be efficient in studying and preparing for exams.
The remaining girls were creatively exploring their Artistic skills in Jessie’s Art Club.
Tracey sharing her knowledge and skills during the Study Skills Workshop

I had finally been able to get Jack to Simba Oil Mechanic to complete his much needed service. During this trip, apart from the usual service maintenance, two front ball joints were replaced and a final wheel alignment was made…..and I drove off many shillings less but much, much happier with Jack’s driving performance and inevitable safety!!! Such a relief to drive a car that has finally been restored to work at its true potential!

I celebrated IWD dining at the Morogoro Hotel eating my favorite Indian food with a glass of red. I shared this with Carl and Foundacion Paraguaya: Mary Liz and the two Julia’s who unexpectedly arrived so joined us…
Carl has recently moved to Moro from Dar and had been working with Solar Lights (With Clare aka Paddy works!) Carl is going to have us test run a small business in which he is supporting a local Tz farmer . He is taking us on a hiking/camping tour in the Uluguru Mountains next weekend 17-18/3 providing the skies don’t open! (PS: More to come on both the initiative and our weekend in a later blog!)
Surrounded by some very committed and inspiring women in my life.
L-R: Fran, Anastazia, Tracey, Counselor Pauline, Polly
I fell into bed……so happy to be a very lucky woman!!!

Community Outreach #1: 11/2/12. Moonshine Class (Form 1) visit Funga Funga.

Unfortunately Sauti on Zanzi plans were set when this date was decided however the EFL (Education For Life) team planned together and the available EFL staff, Naomi, Pauline and Anastazia shared the morning with Moonshine Class. They met and shared the day with the elderly and disabled people the Sunshine Class experienced in November last year during our final 2011 Community Outreach activity.
Delight, intrigue, anxiety over coming fear of the old people and those who were disabled, sharing stories, building friendships, enjoying music and dancing, cleaning their environment…sharing their day!
Anastazia sharing time with the girls and the elderly

 Cleaning the environment

 Sharing stories. 
The elderly always have wonderfully interesting, long and detailed tales to tell and our girls listened intently to all of them!
The experiences were similar yet different but the impact was just as powerful. Form 1 didn’t cook lunch, instead they helped clean their environment and took gifts to assist them with cleaning in the future.
Degrees of emotion are difficult for Tanzanians to describe accurately as the Kiswahili language is not as varied as the English language. However, the stories the girls have shared with me since their visit is have given me an insight into how much personal growth has occurred in both the Sunshine Class and the Form 1’s (Moonshine class) because of the opportunity our Community Outreach program has given them to better understand and acknowledge and appreciate an almost forgotten group of people living in our own communities.
 Listening to the carer of the Elderly explaining about life at the Home.
  The boxes on the table are soap which the Form 1's took as part of their sawadi (gift)

“I am very happy to be given the opportunity to be with the people in my community. They show me their lives and some are hard. How they can get food sometimes and when they can’t they are hungry. So I know I can make them happy just for some time. I can listen to them and then I can share with them about the things I learn at SEGA…nutrition, cleanliness, Astronomy and other subjects.” Pendo.
“When we went to Funga Funga where the elderly and disabled people were, I learned how a blind man can read and he is happy that he now knows me. I didn’t know how blind people could read and now I know. I want to meet many people in my community like him and help them learn and feel good when I visit them. I can do this with SEGA because Community Outreach activities give me this opportunity. I hope when I leave SEGA I can continue to meet people like Thomas the blind man so I can bring happiness into their lives.” Lucy.
“I know that if I had not met the elderly people and disabled people at Funga Funga I would not know about them and how they live and what they need in their lives. I know also when I return to my community I will be confident to look for the elderly and offer to care for them and spend time with them. Having met them and shared time with them I look forward to looking after these important people in my community. One day I will be old and I hope the young people are like me at SEGA and have the opportunity to do Community Outreach activities so they will know how to treat the disadvantaged in their lives too.” Rhoda.
“I want to help with people like Thomas who can’t see but can read with his fingers. He was a very nice man and taught us how you can be happy even if your body is not strong and you have many difficulties. I didn’t know that blind people can see. He has taught me a lot and I know I can be strong.” Agnes.

And so another successful Community Outreach Activity had taken place bringing happiness, a greater understanding between the generations and a sense of belonging to everyone.

Sauti de Busara and TFFT workshop. 8/2 - 17/2

Polly had given Jessie, Lydia and I time off to experience the eagerly awaited Sauti de Busara on Zanzi….and we were certainly not disappointed.
I travelled to Dar to meet and do dinner at the The Red Onion with some of the new intake of VSO vols and stayed with Liesbeth who had stayed in Moro with me several nights earlier…

Liesbeth’s Facebook status on that day :“Somehow they managed to loose my bag on the Abood bus yesterday, but oh sorry it wasn't lost it was just moved inside By then I had already given my presentation to the Publishing Association on flip-flops! Well anyway, glad 2 have not lost it after all.....Thanks Fran Bruty 4 all the back-up support!!”…reflected the challenge she encountered. She believed that her bag had been stolen as we she could not locate it anywhere when she had arrived in Dar so …..this resulted in me spending a whole, but fortunately fruitful, 6 hours …back and forth between the police station and Msamvu, the bus depot… playing detective Fran! (it’s also helpful to have friends in the CID!)

Going to Zanzibar is like going home for me! I have so many familiar friends and memories there. Having shared magical times with both Gem and Evie on Zanzi, visiting is inevitably uplifting as I can still feel them there with me!
I had a wonderful time. I stayed with Wendy…. 

....wandered the maze of streets….still got lost (you would think I would know my way after many visits and wanderings of Stonetown!!)…. and found wonderful little duka’s to explore. Judy and I finally did the tour of the Museum which I mistakenly thought was the House of Wonders (which I have been going to visit since my very first stay in Stonetown!)…so we did both and learned about the sordid history of the slave trade and Z’s history.
Evenings and nights were filled with the fun of Sauti…friends, eating, quenching our thirst and dancing into the night to the sounds of live African bands and artists.

My Facebook status :
loving Sauti! Learned how to play African drums and how to move dem hips like da Africans do. :-)
Wendy, Tom, Christine and I …..The new African musicians!

When this pic was taken I was right into the rhythm and loving the ease of creating beautiful music on this typical African drum!
Babu, Wendy and Tom

Tom, Christine and I.
Trying out a different set of drums. These ones were used by Tom to give us some rhythm during our dance lesson.
Swing dem hips dada!!!
 African Kangas which come in many, many bright colors... are always used in traditional dance so they were part of our lesson too!
An hour of pure fun!

During my journey to Dar, Polly had invited me to represent SEGA at TFFT’s strategic planning workshop in Arusha from Mon 13/2 – Wed 15/2. Plans to travel to Morogoro on Monday became…”How can I get to Arusha for the Monday workshop without missing the earmarked Saturday night Sauti highlight?”
 Flights: checked but too expensive ….. Sunday pm Ferry – Early bus departing Dar Monday am _ arrive in Arusha for last few hours of workshop: TICK…..and so it was that I slept over in Dar and set out on the easy, scenic 10 hour bus journey ….arrived…threw my gear into the guest house and continued on the join my dear friends from the TFFT team and many interesting people from their partner organizations.

Meaghan was 23 when she founded TFFT( ) in 2006, an inspiring NGO now supporting 73 Orphans and vulnerable children. SEGA has received two of their girls and consequently are sister organizations. TFFT, Melissa and I work together providing teacher training for SEGA staff.
Meaghan words from the US and visits frequently. This visit incorporated the workshop and her participation in the Kilimanjaro Marathon, a major fundraising event for TFFT.
During my week I was fortunate to visit USA River Academy which many TFFT children attend and Seeway Tanzania ( ) , an orphanage founded 8 years ago by two easy going, dedicated women Rebecca (US) and Wendy (UK)… who is a wiz with maintenance and has a financially viable kuku business happening on sight!

I stayed in Arusha and extra day to work with Melissa in preparation for SEGA’s workshop 2 – 5 April. Of course we did pizza and red wine for lunch in the gardens of the Blue Heron (an Arusha …must do!!) and did dinner with Peter and Barbara VSO Vols (Health).

I left Arusha in the dark and travelled towards Moshi as the sun rose to greet me in a splendid burst of beauty. Her stunning golden rays of light gently touched hundreds of people moving slowly to the quietness of the new day. As we moved out into the country the morning light gently kissed the dry open spaces until suddenly I was blessed with a vision that will stay with me forever!!
I texted my family in Aus and updated my Facebook status with news of my excitement…..

 cant believe i am passing Mt Kilimanjaro in the glorious sun filled wee hours of the morning and her WHOLE beautiful self, snow capped top & all her splendour, is in full view! She is always shrouded in cloud!”

Unfortunately I had to deal with my frustration (also captured in my Facebook response):
“oh pole no pics! Windows were dirty.. I was the ONLY mzungu... all Tz people were sleeping. . camera was in bag too far away..AND I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a good shot anyway! BUT the experience has been committee to memory for ever!”

(PS: the following weekend we were back in Moshi for the Kili Marathon and basked in her beauty again... albeit through a moist, humid air!!. but I don't think I will ever again encounter the vision and the emotion the initial sighting evoked in me!)

The 10 hour....sometimes longer ... journey from Arusha to Morogoro is enjoyable and the scenery ever changing from: Kili past the Pare Mountains then alongside the Lushoto Mountain range….through flat dry plains; many productive sisal plantations; lush green fields being prepared for crops; past the hydro electricity station where many accidents occur but the scenery is breath taking….through the hectic junction at Chalinze and finally to the last, one hour stretch into Morogoro!