What keeps us running? It’s not just the “what” – funding, programming, and logistics – but also the “who” that keeps us running as an effective, efficient organization each day. If we were to name that critical “who” the answer would be Deo Momburi. Literally and figuratively, Deo keeps TFFT moving forward.
Deo, who provides critical day-to-day impact, is the fuel, the life-blood, the heart and soul – the logistical magician! – that keeps TFFT running.
A member of the TFFT team for seven years, Deo serves as TFFT’s Logistics Officer. He is TFFT’s official driver, but his positive impact goes beyond the trips from Point A to Point B. Deo is a constant comforting presence to TFFT’s scholars and staff. He provides consistency for our scholars, with knowledge of where each and every scholar lives, no matter how remote their village might be. He procures basic needs for our scholars each semester and works to help us find the most cost effective vendors. He knows the school that every scholar attends, reliably transporting them from school back home as needed. And while the HIV+ scholars are accompanied to their monthly doctors’ appointments by Robin Mwanga, TFFT’s Psychosocial and Health Program Coordinator, Deo is always their driver. He is a shoulder to lean on, a source of comfort and calm, always quick to offer a warm smile or share a laugh.
“Kaka [Brother] Deo, as we all call him, is truly the centerpiece of the work we do. With Kaka Deo behind the wheel, our field work is interesting as he shows us places we did not know about,” comments Robin. “His road skills are excellent and he knows all the homes of our scholars. Not only is he good on the road, he keeps the team cheerful and is always very willing to help lend a hand.”
Deo is a father of three daughters, a skillful mechanic, and also member of his church’s choir, which he conducts and accompanies on the organ. A man of many talents with a great ability to multitask, Deo provides thoughtful and consistent support to those around him both at home and at work.
Ever the calm and dutiful driver, he is never frustrated in traffic or having to detour. Deo’s patience is boundless, and he knows that his job requires him to go to places for long periods of time – whether the doctor’s office, the airport, or a school for a staff visit. He never grows frustrated or antsy, always seeing the bigger picture. Deo fully understands that driving the scholars and staff is an essential role, and that he is a constant in everyone’s lives at TFFT. He can always be heard laughing with others, enjoying whoever is in his company at the moment.
“Deo loves listening to Celine Dion while driving,” remembers TFFT team member, Katie Skinner. “He doesn’t speak much English, but when he drove me on a recent visit to Arusha, he would point out things I shouldn’t miss – a wedding parade, unusual scenes, or an animal.”
Deo’s work for our team is invaluable to our operations. Not only does he provide transportation for our scholars, but also for parents and guardians, teachers on occasion, and TFFT staff. This past March, Deo undertook the 36 hour drive to Dodma, Tanzania’s capital, to ensure our Executive Director, Meghann Gunderman Sehorn, met with the Minister of Land. Deo’s talents are woven into every facet of our work.
“Kaka Deo is the most dependable person in the office – ever helpful,” says former Country Director and close friend, Melissa Queyquep. “In addition to being a driver, logistics officer, and all around handyman, Deo is always willing to wait with the kids at the hospital if Robin is engaged with other work. I doubt if there is ever a person in TFFT TZ (past and present) that has not been touched by his generosity of spirit. Deo’s gentle nature endears him to our scholars, our staff, and all who encounter him.”
Deo is the essence of a team player and never one to sit idle. For RIDETZ 2018, Deo drove the support van every day – in case someone needed a break from biking and to carry riders’ personal supplies for the trip. But he was never just driving: Deo helped to dig the vehicles out of the mud when they got stuck; served the midday snack; and helped the staff unload supplies upon arriving at camp each night.
With a heart-warming smile, a kind spirit, technical and logistical expertise, as well as a never fail can-do attitude, Deo is vital to TFFT’s operations each and every day – fundamental to all we do. Deo keeps TFFT driving forward – for our scholars, our team members, our teachers, and the communities we serve.