Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Lulu Graduation Festivities

December has been a fun, yet eventful month. In the early part of the month the Lulu Project celebrated the graduation of about 40 of its girls from 5 of the 8 groups here in Mwanza. As I have described in a previous blogpost about Lulu graduation, we celebrate for three full days whenever we have a graduation. It's a lot of work but we have a great time and this allows for all the girls to participate in the celebrations.

On Monday we invited all the girls to join each other in a netball match. One of Lulu's foundational principles is "ushirikiano" or "cooperation," but that didn't stop the girls from forming friendly rivalries. We joined two Lulu groups per netball team to help foster collaboration and teamwork.

Girls on the sideline watch as other teams play against each other.

Some girls brought their kids and other family members, who cheered their mom's on from the sidelines.

This daughter of a Lulu girl was her mom's biggest supporter.

In the end we had three winners. The overall winner took home the prize of a soccer ball from Europe, which the groups can use to play more games in the future.

Call it home-court advantage, but the combined team of Mabatini (the hosts) and Bwiru won the top spot.

On Tuesday of that same week a small group of us persevered through torrential rainstorms and neighborhood flooding to bake 13 cakes on charcoal grills. In my last blogpost about graduation I documented the process of cooking on charcoal grills, so I'll leave that out this time. This being the third time many of these girls have done this process, they are getting quicker at it and are more creative.

Working under shelter instead of in my yard, due to the all-day rain.

The final product of the cakes displayed at graduation on Wednesday.

Graduation on Wednesday was a special event for me since it was held in the Maryknoll parish in Mabatini and since the biggest group of girls to graduate came from the Mabatini group, which I was responsible for starting a year ago.

Guests are arriving and graduation is about to start.

Corine and I usher the girls out so they can process into the hall (a process that takes about 15 minutes itself!).

I gave a brief welcome and speech.

A lot of work went into the planning and execution of this day, but most of it was done by a committee of girls with us coordinators overseeing and guiding them along. They really did a great job and the day was a major success!

Corine and I with the 4 Senior Facilitators. These are an amazing group of hard-working young women!

But wait! That's not all. Stay tuned for more blogposts about other December festivities!

Monday, December 29, 2014

I was Just Sitting There... In December

...waiting for 50 of the Lulu girls for a holiday shopping spree.

In just a few short minutes the scene changed dramatically.

I was also just sitting there, after a very hectic month, getting some much-needed rest on Zanzibar island! 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I Was Just Sitting There... Listening to Birds

A rare moment of quiet on the school grounds of Gedeli School in Nyakato. I arrived to Lulu group early and usually it's a madhouse of kids running and playing. School's closed for holidays until after the new year so I got a nice treat of peace and quiet.

I Was Just Sitting There...Related to Food

On Thanksgiving I was just sitting there...

wondering if I could force another plateful in. Answer: I did.

It's a little belated, but we had a wonderful Thanksgiving gathering here in Mabatini with many, many Maryknoll folks in attendance. I didn't take many pictures because I was busy with eating and shewing away thieving monkeys who were bound and determined to get at the food table (having entered through the roof in the open courtyard of the MK Father's/Brother's House). We have much to be thankful for and I appreciate having a night together to remember to give thanks.

A week later I was sitting there...

waiting for chips mayai to be made. This was during the Lulu pre-graduation festivities. We ran out of food (a rarity here in TZ, where there's always enough for everyone plus the neighbors!) so I stepped out to get 4 of these delicious treats, each made one-by-one on a charcoal jiko (stove). I sure do love a well-cooked chips mayai. (Basically a french fry omelet.)

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Here's our Winter MKLM Newsletter, including a profile of one of my Lulu girls, an update about Chris's involvement with a new craft association, and an announcement about our next steps. Click the link to download. Thanks for reading!