Tomorrow we leave for a few weeks of what is essentially African couch-hopping. Here's the plan, but we'll see how successful we are at sticking to it.
First Stop: Morogoro (March 6-8)
A few weeks ago we met a Mennonite pastor and his wife who are trying to start a similar program to the one that Grace and Healing Ministry does here in Dodoma. They came to Dodoma to see our programs, and asked Mama Askofu and I to come see their program and advise them on how to proceed with capacity building, church-NGO partnerships, local fundraising, grant writing, and relationships with board and volunteers. Tomorrow morning Leah, Mama Askofu, Katie and I will travel by bus to stay with them for two nights to encourage and advise them.
Second Stop: Dar es Salaam (March 8-10)
Monday afternoon we will leave Morogoro for Dar es Salaam. We have been invited for an American dinner of tacos at the home of a missionary whose niece is my mother's student. We are staying with the uncle of my now-ex-roommate in his beautiful house, then, the next day Katie is leaving us! Already her month is up, and we're taking her to the airport on Tuesday to go to Ethiopia for two weeks before she heads home to the States.
Third Stop: Zanzibar (March 10-13)
Wednesday morning we will take the ferry to Zanzibar to stay with some friends that I met when I spoke at the Life Ministry conference in January. I have always felt weird about going to Zanzibar, because it is a very tourist-y thing, and I tend to pride myself on NOT acting like a tourist. Plus ZZB is really expensive, but now that I have friends who have assured me that they'll show us the real Zanzibar, I'm excited to go. We're taking Mama Askofu and paying her way so that she can have a real vacation for the first time in ages.
Fourth Stop: Dar es Salaam (again) (March 13-16)
Saturday morning we'll return to Dar es Salaam to begin a series of fundraising meetings. Lahash's agreement with GHMD is that half of the program would come from the States and half should come from local donors. In the past this meant a national church-based NGO, but they have been uncommunicative and unhelpful, so we're taking it to the streets. Mama Askofu is really excited to talk to some rich Tanzanians about our wonderful kids. Leah and I are there for emotional and technological support. Again, we'll be staying with my "uncle" David.
Fifth Stop: Nairobi! (March 16-25)
We got word today that our work visas are waiting for us in Dar es Salaam, so we'll finally be able to do the trip to Nairobi that I've been meaning to take since January. It's a 14 hour bus ride from Dar to Nairobi, but we'll have Edwin and Cristine Angote waiting for us at the other side. It will be a mostly work-related trip for me, visiting Tenderfeet and maybe another organization that we're thinking of working with, and collaborating on some reports with Edwin. Leah and I are definitely planning to spend some time in coffee shops, book stores, and maybe even the movie theater.
Sixth Stop: Dar es Salaam (March 25/26)
We'll return the 14 hours from Nairobi to Dar, and probably stay in a hotel close to the bus stand. A friend of Baba's owns the hotel, and he might even throw in a free ride to or from the bus stand.
Seventh Stop: HOME! (March 26)
We're hoping to do three weeks worth of traveling in two different countries for about $200 each, and that includes treating ourselves to some nice food along the way! Fingers crossed!