Greetings, dear readers, and hope you are all well this first week of May.  The rains continue to pour down in Africa, but I have high hopes we are soon coming to the end of kipindi cha mvua (the rainy season).  Then, instead of cold and wet, it will just be cold!  🙂

I have little to complain about, however, I must confess.  Aside from a felled tree in my front yard, and laundry that never quite dries, the rains have not caused too much disturbance for me personally.  We have been exceptionally lucky with electricity and internet connectivity, so really, it’s been business as usual….except with a lot more mud!

Next week, however, I leave Kilimanjaro once again for an impromptu trip to Italy!  Yes, you heard me right, viva Italia!!

I was invited, on very short notice, to give a TEDx talk in Modena, Italy, and after some internal debate, I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up.  So, on Wednesday the 9th, I will fly into Milan’s Malpensa Airport to be picked up by one of the talk’s coordinators and driven to Modena where I will stay for four nights, getting to know the other speakers and prepping for my own presentation which will be on Saturday the 12th.

Most everyone these days knows that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and these talks are short, powerful speeches devoted to the spread of ideas.  TED began in 1984 in California (where else?!) and was originally very tech-oriented.  These days, “TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.”  According to the TED website, they are “building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TEDx are independent TED-like events, organized by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles.  Again, as written on the website, “a TEDx talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.”  Most talks are about “something that’s new and surprising; an idea or invention that your audience has never heard about” or “a great basic idea (that your audience has maybe already heard) with a compelling new argument behind it that challenges beliefs and perspectives.”  “In other words, an idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts.  A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.”

Phew.  A tall order, to say the least.

So, if you can believe it, yours truly is going to be speaking about the idea that is The Toa Nafasi Project, how it came to be, how it works now, how we envision it working in the future.  It is a very prestigious thing to be asked to speak at a TED or TEDx event and I hope that I can both do The Project justice and make all the people who support it proud.  I will report back in great detail after the talk is over, and of course, it will be on YouTube and the TED Talks website.  Until then, have a peek at some of the literature from the program in Modena.  It’s mostly in Italian, but I think you’ll get the gist; the theme of this TEDx Talk is “Gimme Hope: When Passion Meets Reason.”

Arrivederci, peeps!  See ya on the flipside!!