Hello! Karina Catlin, new Field Manager here, and this is my first blog entry. I am so excited to be working with the staff, the volunteers, and of course all of the wonderful children at help2kids.
I first came to Africa for a study abroad semester in university. After being here for a few months, I knew that I wanted to work with the people on this continent to fight poverty and improve livelihoods, and that there is no better way to break the cycle of poverty than helping orphans and vulnerable children grow up with the resources, love, and education they need to become productive adults. After university I spent a year volunteering at a center for street children in Mwanza, which is in Northwest Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria. From that experience I realized that in order to be truly effective I needed a better skill set, so I enrolled in a graduate program in Public Administration in International NGO Management and Policy at New York University. After graduating in May 2010 I returned to Tanzania to work for a US-based NGO in Arusha. I was thrilled get the job as Field Manager at help2kids and look forward to working with the organization as we continue to develop and grow.
It has been an exciting past week, full of new beginnings and comings and goings. Francesca officially said goodbye on Tuesday, January 31st. Everyone will miss her, and we wish her the best in all of her future endeavors.
Savera, Simon, and Star all joined our children’s home this week. Savera is five years old and is fitting in well with the other little girls. So far she is very quiet but is gradually getting more comfortable participating in the daily routine here. Yesterday, she worked very carefully and thoughtfully on her first ever coloring project. Simon is a football player and has been starting games every time he gets the chance, which makes him very popular with the boys. He is 11 years old and in Standard 5. Star is also 11 years old. The bigger girls, especially Taussi (15) and Suzy (9) adore her. She is shy and helpful. Having come from our neighborhood, she attends Wamato School, which is the school where our volunteers teach English, so she already knew some of the volunteers before she came here and was happy to see familiar faces. The volunteers were happy to report that she is one of the best English students in her Standard 6 class! The pictures below are of the boys playing football, the new children at the doctor’s office, Savera coloring, and the little boys and girls playing.
Speaking of volunteers, we had two new arrivals this week. Vari hails from Australia, and has volunteered in Tanzania several times before. She encourages everyone to call her BiBi, which means Grandmother in Swahili, and the children and mamas love her. She will be with us for three months. Nicole comes from Germany and will be with us for one month. She just arrived on Saturday and is already bonding with the children, especially the group of little girls who she helps with lessons and chores.
The volunteers continue with English and Computer lessons at Wamato School. The students are fascinated by computers and working hard to improve their English. In Tanzania, primary school is taught in Swahili but secondary school is taught in English, so it is essential that the students are able to comprehend and communicate in English by the time they finish Standard 7.
Continuing on the theme of English, at the children’s home we now have a new schedule that ensures that children have daily English lessons, along with other activities and projects. Since the routine is brand new, the little ones are having some trouble adjusting, and some trouble sitting still! However, within a week or two we are sure they will all be used to it and are confident they will eventually become expert English speakers.
Finally, we have had problems this week with the car breaking down, and with the septic tank filling up and needing to be emptied. We have had to repeatedly bring the car to the garage to be fixed and call in trucks to come and empty the septic tank. All of this adds up to cost a lot of money, and also makes operating, especially getting around, quite difficult!
Thank you so much for your support! We could not do it without you.