Hi all, and hope you’re well.  Here in Moshi, we’ve just said goodbye to our favorite lil’ intern this side of the Rockies (she schools at UC Boulder in the States), Kaitlin Marrs.  Although she was only here for two short weeks this time, Kaitlin once again made her impact felt and her voice heard.

Kaitlin first came to Tanzania as a long-term volunteer back in 2017 at the ripe old age of 19 and spent her seven months here whipping the current teaching staff into shape.  Back then, we had had some issues with the tutors respecting Hyasinta’s authority as Head Tutor and Project Leader, and so Kaitlin – with the grace of ten thousand bulls in a china shop – sat everyone down and explained how leadership and teamwork complement each other and how everyone’s style matters and affects the rest of the group.

She ran workshops based primarily on her own experiences growing up with learning difficulties and behavioral issues as well as from things she learned as a high schooler in residential treatment.  To say the teen was wise beyond her years would have been an understatement.

Flash forward to 2019 and a newly legal Kaitlin and I am happy to say that the Toa team is stronger than ever, mostly due to Kaitlin’s work from two years ago.  Strong enough, in fact, that we were recently able to hire and train a new group of women to join our current staff and further the work of The Toa Nafasi Project as we expand from our current four participating public school sites to nine total.

Part One of “Life on Marrs” is about Kaitlin and the next post, Part Two, will demonstrate the impact she’s had on our tutoring staff.

Carla, Kaitlin, and Drogo hold a strategy session about the upcoming workshops.

In the classroom, Ema and Kaitlin discuss how each day will go.

They got into a very good rhythm over the course of the week.

And the teachers seemed to appreciate the combined effort!

Here is Kaitlin giving an intro to learning difficulties, specifically dysgraphia.

And here she is talking about phonemes and getting feedback from our staff about which ones most often confuse Toa students in the classroom.

And finally, baada ya kazi (after work), we went to Rivertrees Country Inn on the way to Arusha for some R&R.

Now, our golden girl is gone, back home and prepping for another semester of college, but we certainly hope it won’t be another two years before we see her again in Kilimanjaro.

Kaitlin, karibu tena nyumbani kwako Tanzania (welcome again to your home in Tanzania)!