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Anyone who has worked for educational and social advancement for the poor knows that the road is fraught with obstacles, frustrations, setbacks and unexpected surprises – not all good. Over time, a lot of deep breaths, regrouping and resets take place.

Sometimes, however, there are moments that signal progress, accomplishment and yes, success.  Kerri Elliott, one of EdPowerment’s founding team of educators, is still in Tanzania, while Jillian, our volunteers and I have headed or returned home.  So this week, it was great to get two emails from her that I simply am copying and pasting below.  They are in the “feel good” category and speak to the years of hard work and on-the-ground involvement that marks EdPowerment’s efforts to bring education to some of the poorest and most neglected adolescents in the villages outside of Moshi. (I inserted some explanations in red).

Hello Ladies-

I wanted to write you and tell you what a great Thursday I had and how much our work is starting to make real awesome change.  
So I went to Kilimahewa around 12pm to help with the tree planting (these are fruit trees which not only beautify the Center but will supplement students and teacher lunches.  The best part is that we purchased them from Cocaya, an organization that raises plants and trees as part of sustainable businesses to help the deaf)…  It was quite an eventful day.  We planted 50 trees around the grounds.  I will have more pictures to come later but here are some of the ones I was able to get before my camera died. 

I then witnessed Godlisten’s class using microscopes and had 4 of the girls make a 10 minute video on all the parts of the microscope and why it is important to have it.  They prepared their speeches and presented them while I videotaped the other students.  I will send it to Maria (the professor whose university donated the microscopes – see past blogs).  These 4 were selected by Godlisten to be the microscope experts and to assist with all microscope lessons.  He based his selection on ability, skill, and interest in science.  I will post many of these videos when I get home.  

After that I witnessed the library in action and took a bunch of photos.  I think every kid was lined up to check out a library book.  I then noticed them walking around the grounds reading them right after.  It was pretty amazing.  I am excited to see the library finished.  Also while kids were checking out library books the Kilimahewa community meeting was going on so all the village elders got to see the kids reading.  It was pretty exciting and they seemed very happy.  

After that I stepped in to see the computer classroom and the improvement they have made in only 3 short lessons.  Their typing skills are coming along and they are working hard on using the home row keys and starting to move to the upper and lower keys.  Next to the computer class was the remedial class working on their swahili skills.  I had one of those moments standing on the patio thinking… Oh man how far we have come. I thought I would share that and some of the pictures of the day!  On that day I truly felt the difference we are making in this village at this school.  

And the next day:

Hi ladies-

I was visiting the project of a Rotarian today, an orphanage by KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center), and saw a special needs student.  I was talking to a mzungu (local term for white foreigner) that works at the center and she talked about how she heard about Gabriella (the Centre for disabled youth that we help to staff and support in other ways) and took the boy and his grandmother there.  She said that she was struck by what an amazing place it was.  She claimed it was a center better than any she had seen in Tanzania and she had made an appointment for the boy to get evaluated during therapy week and possibly attend.  

Made my heart feel good knowing we helped make this happen.