After a few days of trying to figure out if the hand washing stations would be a viable and useful technology for local Tanzanian schools, we had another meeting with the Regional Director of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and agreed that we would move forward the the project.  So, I have a lot of curriculum materials to design before Wednesday including a powerpoint on how to use and maintain the hand washing station.  I am excited that we are once again moving forward but suddenly feel as if I have to run to catch up.  So, once again, I leave with some images– a mix of many different days.  Enjoy!!

Maasai men herding their cattle
Negotiating prices for used tires for the hand washing station
Tiny dried fish for sale at the outdoor central market
Fish for sale at market… refrigeration is not available at market location
Duka (small shop about 60 sq. feet space) with lots of everyday items 
Dala dala buses (minivans)that we squeeze into and use for everyday transportation. I’ve ridden with 32 other people in a dala dala, really.
Maasai family

Baobab trees frame a serene view of night skies in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Some species of baobab trees can live for a thousand years—potentially reaching a stunning height of 80 feet (25 meters) and a diameter of 40 feet (12 meters).L1350278_WEB

Me and my friends Jane and Mika on safari.  We can stand throughout the trip to better view animals and the beautiful landscape
Mama lion… little did we know at this time that she was being followed by 5 baby cubs!!
Twiga (giraffe) in the distance
Another beautiful Twiga
Baboons grooming, climbing, and playing
The dreaded Tsetse fly that carries “sleeping sickness” disease.  It came back to life after repeatedly smashing it (‘pole’/sorry) and flew away!!  BTW, all the red you see, is human blood. EWWWW.
Building the stations
The candid photographer in action
Conducting business TZ style– negotiating costs for the materials.  
Love these kids.  Such beautiful smiles.  I am teaching them English names of animals.
Central Market
I drew them flowers to color.  Taught them how to hold a pen.
Our classroom.




Hiccups, speed bumps and other miscellaneous glitches

Sometimes plans need readjusted and this would be one of those times.  We had a successful workshop today and were able to transport a completed hand washing station to one of the town schools that has no running water.  However, after installing the first hand washing station today at Azimio Primary school, it became clear that we need to review the available resources here in Arusha.

I’m hoping for an early meeting with the Jane Goodall Institute’s Director in order to revise and repurpose the project.  In the meantime, I have distributed the school materials, letters, and artwork that Holly Shelter Middle School students sent to students at one school (woop-woop!) and have plans to share more next week.  Additionally, I will continue to gather the information needed to move this project forward!

Look for more pictures soon.  Until then, wishing everyone a very happy day!

Sneak peek at the building of hand washing station #1

Such a long day today.  Started at 7am and ended the last meeting after 8 pm. Editing and posting took until 11:30 pm.  Hanna shida,  lakini, ninahitaji lalafofofo (no problem, but I need to sleep deeply. )  So here is just a short preview of what we worked on today.  More to come tomorrow after we present the hand washing station at our first workshop with schools, teachers, students, and Jane Goodall Institute folks. I’m happy we changed the major presentation with the government, etc. until later this week.  For now, check out the hard work that went into the station. More to come soon.   Karibu.

Drum used as the base for the station prior to any cutting or welding.
The biggest challenge…. cutting the tire in half.  
The nearly finished product.  Almost ready to present it to school #1.

A Day in the Life of Tanzanians

At the furniture shop across the street– this man makes all the furniture you see with hand tools.  He carves them all day long.  Beautiful craftsmanship!
Young ladies on their way home from school.
Fire-roasted maize (corn) sold from the side of the street.  Mamas make it every evening and it can be found in many places all over town. It is delicious!
Mama roasting corn at dinner time, as people go home from work.
carrying materials this way is common and Tanzanians find it easily and more effective. I, however, have tried and I cannot get more than a few feet without a disaster. I certainly amuse the local people though with my attempts!
Masaai men in Arusha town.
The rooster I hear every day, strutting’ about.
Kids in the Kijenge area where I am staying carrying their evening water gathered from the local stream.
Couldn’t resist this face. He was so happy to see his picture after it was taken. Big smiles.
Very typical looking clothing store.
People are outside all the time, working, waiting to do work, talking, hanging out, walking….. it creates a constant rhythm of movement… very flowing.
Hard to match these vivid colors…. Ms. Kirk, you would LOVE the colorful textiles here!
Kakas (brother) AKA dudes, at barber shop.
A local pub/restaurant at the corner. Was there on Saturday night “date night” and had fun watching young couples come out in their fancy duds.
Butcher shops here are pretty graphic. I cannot really look, but wanted to share for those who aren’t bothered by it.

Twende (Let’s go!)

Just a beginning glimpse of my safari trip.  My NERD HERD (Jane Goodall Institute’s “Roots & Shoots group @ HSMS) asked last week if I had seen any animals yet.  Here you go girls…. I hope you enjoy!  Karibu sana (you are welcome very much).   More to come tomorrow.  We are still working on editing the over 5000+ pictures taken.

Tomorrow, I go to the welding shop with all the materials we gathered with the help of our new friend, Juma, to build the first hand washing station.  I met some really cute mtoto (children) there today too and hope to get to show them how to draw and color when I am not helping with the building.


Karibu    @ Tarangire National Park.


Giraffe  (Twiga)
Mama lioness and five cubs following her across the road. What good fortune we had!
Mama lion in the grasses, checking her surroundings.
Tsetse flies have more lives than cats… they bite through layers of clothes and are a big shida (problem) even with 100% deet, especially if you wear dark colors.  We had our guide, Paul,  laughing because Africans are not affected by the fly, but we mzungus were doing the ‘tsetse fly dance’ as we were swatting, jumping, and screaming.  It was pretty horrible at the time but probably, in hindsight, hysterically funny.
Baboons at play and grooming each other.
Bird (unknown type) feeding and another coming in for the steal/share.
Tembos (elephants).  Likely a mama and baby or maybe sisters and a baby. Isn’t the baby about as adorable as it gets?  Probably several weeks old.
Antelope and Heron @ feeding time.
Gazelle herd…. and bonus to those who can spot the monkey.
Twigas (giraffes) — one posing, another hiding behind the bush.


Making Connections

Finding my way around Arusha has always been an interesting adventure.  In the past 2 days, I’ve probably walked 10 miles along the dusty roads, jammed myself into 4 dala dalas (mini buses) along with 20+ other people, hired 3 taxi drivers (with my well-intentioned but very poor Kiswahili) and ridden on the back of a pikipiki during heavy traffic going about 50 mph.  Good times.🙂 Seriously, though, hamna shida (no problem) especially since all of the interactions and connections I’ve made have been with happy, kind people.

piki piki drivers
such friendly people in Tanzania
Trying to show the taxi driver a picture on my phone of where my hotel is located…. there are no physical addresses used. Together, we figured it out.
A lot of walking in 90 degree temps
Back at my old home!!! I looked for my street dogs and hedgehogs but alas, none to be found today.
I met so many people today, I honestly don’t even recall this!! I do know that every single person was kind, helpful, and interested in talking to me. No one was too busy. Pole pole (slowly, slowly) is how things are done here.
Piki piki stand, waiting for customers.



With all that running around, today and yesterday were both busy days but much was accomplished.  I think the most significant thing was completely accidental.  While waiting in the Jane Goodall “Roots & Shoots” office, Mir, the Director of the Polytechnic Institute, came in and began a conversation.  One thing led to another and before long, he offered to assist with getting the materials needed.  Furthermore, he is happy to provide a secure space for building.  All of the concerns we had were put aside today with a single interaction.  WHEW!


In addition to talking about building the hand washing stations, he shared some news about the changes within Tanzania since the election of their new President about 4 months ago.  Schooling, which had once been a financial burden to many families, is now free to all students. While this is a good thing, it has some immediate, unintentional outcomes.  Class sizes have gone from 40 students to over 100 students in a room.  And, since schools can no longer ask parents to pay fees, they are not able to afford to feed the children lunch.  Because of that, school is dismissed around noon every day.  I was wondering why I was seeing kids in their school uniforms in the streets during the day and now I know (yes HSMS kids, they are required to wear uniforms here too!).   I cannot imagine having 100 students in a class at one time.  Nor can I imagine being finished working every day at noon.

On that thought, I will leave with some more photos.  I must say, it is truly wonderful having a professional photographer here in TZ with me to capture such lovely pictures.  Enjoy!


Fruit (matunda) and vegetable (mboga) stand near my old home!
One of the few means of transportation I did not use (yet)🙂.
A furniture making shop across the street from where I am staying.
Supermarket– closed by night fall.
Pool anyone?
A local dress shop.
Maasai man working as a night guard.






Arusha Town Day 1

BBQ Tanzanian style
Public transportation is how I get around town when not walking.  Here are piki pikis (motorcycle) ‘taxis’ and dala dalas (mini buses)
My bajaji driver laughing with me after I called him out for trying to give me the “mzungu” rate for my ride.  Ninasema Kiswahili kidogo, lakini…. (I can speak Kiswahili a little but)…. it sure helps a lot to know a TINY bit of the language for a lot of reasons.
The religious & cultural heritage is a mixture of Muslim, Christian, and traditional beliefs.  In the background, a duka (store) selling petrol (gas) and bottled maji (water). And, of course, the lovely rainbow.


My daily rainbow landing right at the foothills of Mt. Meru.
At the end of the DOUBLE rainbow is…. a VOLCANO!!! Beautiful Mt. Meru!  And Holly Shelter Middle School kids, you know if I am seeing rainbows, there must be…. say it together on the count of 3… 1,2,3… UNICORNS!!!   Nothing but rainbows and unicorns– rainbows and unicorns all day long!
My new shop in Arusha (JK).
A beautiful symphony of people, colors, sounds, and smells everywhere.
The botanical garden built when I was in Arusha in 2013 now houses a fish pond!