Do you guys remember the movie “Mars Attacks!”?  It was a Tim Burton sort of dark comic sci-fi that came out in 1996??  Jack Nicholson as the fictional POTUS uttered these words, which somehow ring kinda true today: “I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.

Well, this post is about someone who was born the year after that movie hit theaters and the same year I graduated college.  (No comments, please….)

Meet Kaitlin Durdan Marrs, a nineteen-year-old New Yawker transplanted to Boulder for her freshman year of college.  Wait a sec, make that transplanted to Boulder and then to TANZANIA for her spring semester freshman year.  (Okay, it must be said, or rather sighed, “Ahh, to be young!

The daughter of a former tax law protege of my dad’s, Kaitlin has been with us nearly six weeks already, but since we’re all “hapa kazi tu” these days, I’m just now getting around to introducing the wee one.

Fresh on the heels of Heidi’s departure (a mutual decision on both hers and Toa’s parts), Kaitlin has come to spend the months of February, March, and April working with Toa Nafasi AND still taking a full course-load at University of Colorado.  (Again, do we all remember youth and how amazing it was?!)

February was busy with Carla (who ADORED Ms. Marrs) and the teacher meltdown, and March has been busy with rectifying the meltdown and my case of amoebic dysentery that had me laid low for a solid two weeks, during which Kaitlin took over like a champ and ran the program in my stead.  (Did I mention she’s really young and full of energy?)

Ostensibly here to work with the kids, with whom she feels a sort of kinship as she also suffered learning difficulties and unsympathetic teachers as a child, she actually has become a champion of the teachers as this most recent drama unfolded.  And, we couldn’t be happier to have her!

Here’s Kaitlin in her own words.  Enjoy!!


I come to keep the peace among the teachers.”

Hey there, Toa followers!  Kaitlin here, Toa’s newest addition.  I touched down in Moshi the beginning of last month and jumped right in, tackling the motivational lag within the Toa community.

I have been working alongside Sarah to develop a series of leadership and empowerment groups to run with the teachers in the hopes of reviving the team environment, and preparing them for the year to come.

While my primary focus is Toa Nafasi, I am also writing a research paper for my International Affairs degree on the importance of intercultural communication within INGOs as it applies to my experiences here.

I do believe it is safe to say this topic has proven to be more applicable than I could have ever predicted!  Can’t wait to see what happens next!!


And here’s a photo of Marrs attacking our girl squad of teachers and working her team-building magic.  They sure look the part, don’t they?  Hopefully, by this month’s end, we’ll be a team in true contention.