I arrived in Arusha midday on Monday, a bit haggard from my 27 hour journey, but excited to be back in Tanzania. It has been four years since my last visit, and while a great deal has been built, paved, and plastered, much was familiar and welcome to my weary eyes.
Meghann and I headed into the office early Tuesday and we were immediately in the swirl of office activity. Here is a snapshot of what has been happening in the Arusha office this week:
Thabo – TFFT Country Director – had returned from a conference in Nairobi last week focusing on sexual and reproductive health rights. He found it was a terrific opportunity to network with similar NGOs in the region and is already working on a collaboration for a larger youth camp proposed for late 2020.
Haruni – Academic Affairs and Students Support Coordinator – had attended a conference last week with other education, vocational, and employment focused organizations. The thrust of these meetings was to better understand the training needed for students as they enter and complete internships so that they are well-prepared for the workforce.
Meghann and I also joined Haruni and TFFT Mentoring and Coaching Coordinator, Usewge, at Matanyok Children’s Home on Wednesday as they counseled three scholars who have just completed Form 4 in their future planning. These scholars, Janeth, Emmanuel, and Israel, walked through their recent exam results, their hopes and aspirations, and what the best path forward will be. Each have great options ahead of them, but now have some serious decisions to make about what the next two years of their scholarship will hold. Each scholar considered their exam results and professional hopes in deciding if they should pursue A Level studies or enrollment in college. None of these questions have easy answers, and it was wonderful to watch Haruni and Usewege counsel them through these challenging questions.
Noah – Teacher Training Program Manager – and Pippa – Teacher Training Program Support Officer – have been working tirelessly on TFFT’s new Teacher Training Conference, due to take place in Arusha in October of this year. They have meticulously thought through the curriculum for the three day event, planned speakers, marketing, and logistics. One key piece they now hope to put into place is a new TFFT team member, a Teacher Training Conference Coordinator. After receiving an overwhelming response, they winnowed the field down to 16 candidates who they began interviewing early Wednesday morning through late Thursday afternoon.
Robin – Psychosocial and Health Program Coordinator – has been focused on the planning that is needed for an upcoming medical visit for a TFFT scholar. This effort has been a massive undertaking for Robin as the care needed for this scholar requires seeking treatment from a specialist in Kenya. Many calls to the doctor’s office in Nairobi, insurance inquiries, travel documents, a birth certificate, medical records, as well as transportation and accommodation arrangements have been required in the planning for this visit. Robin’s efforts have been Herculean as she and the team pull together the necessary paperwork required to obtain the urgent medical needed for this scholar.
Meghann and I had an interesting visit with a water-focused NGO – Wine To Water. While the fundraising arm of this NGO is based in Boone, their production facility is located here in Arusha. It was fascinating to learn more about the creation of this innovative filtration system, which uses three simple materials to create clay pot filtration systems.
We have also enjoyed visits from TFFT scholars Miriam, Helena, and Sophia. Miriam has just completed Form 4 and was in the office to discuss with Haruni her future plans for A Level study. Miriam was very successful in her recent exams and hopes to study physics, chemistry, and biology in her pursuit to become a doctor. It was also a treat to see Helena and Sophia, college students who are currently interning at the local government procurement office. Each are pursuing careers in procurement and this has been a terrific learning opportunity and professional experience.
Today, we visited three scholars who are studying in vocational school. Stay tuned on Instagram and Facebook as we continue to share updates from our visit in Tanzania.