Michelle’s Arrival

5 June 2009

Kim and I had one week overlap which was a complete whirlwind! Kim had narrowed it down to three architects so we met with them and met with several of their references (which here takes several days). Kim and I agreed that the most interesting part of this whole process has been meeting the fascinating people we’ve met so far. Long story short we picked an architect – MK Architects – we like to think of it as “Michelle and Kim” – it was a sign from the beginning. Now we are trying to go through the technical stuff like editing the contract and getting the land surveyed etc.

I want to clarify to those who don’t understand exactly what we are doing. We often say we are building a new home for the Matumaini kids – but it is much much more than that. It’s more of a compound and although that word sounds cold, it describes it much better. The land we bought is a 1 acre “shamba” – farmland. Our plan for the land is that it will have 6 buildings: 2 dormitories with capacity for 60 children, a dining hall with “kitchen” (I put that in quotations because it most definitely won’t be what you are picturing – but will have an energy saving stove that uses less firewood and a chimney for the smoke), a building that has 2 classrooms for technical school classes and community education, an administration block where the accountant, director, and Knock will have offices, then finally a volunteer house where guests can stay when they come to help. So as you can see it’s much more than just a new home for the 20 kids we have now. That being said it’s also a lot more money….

We are looking at well over $200K just for building costs. We are building very basic structures but are ensuring we use good quality supplies. We would also love to do solar power because although it’s more upfront it really makes the most sense here. After the buildings are done we will still need to outfit the entire complex with beds – desks etc. So as you can see we have quite the project in front of us. And we can do one of two things: we can get so scared by the large number and give up (NOT an option!), or we can tackle it together, every small donation at a time. Obama funded his campaign off of private donations from the people – if you think $25 doesn’t add up – think again!

If you don’t have the means to donate yourself – I challenge you to find another way to help. There are so many clever ideas out there. You donors are what allows us to do the work we do here in rural Tanzania and I promise every penny is appreciated by all the people it touches.

~Michelle

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