Knock on Wood

19 August 2010

Knock on Wood

Last time we landed in your inbox we were over the moon about the construction just beginning with the fencing and gate.  Now, only a few months later, the buildings have completely taken shape, all of the walls are built up and the roofing work is just getting started!  It’s pretty amazing how quickly a space can be transformed, from a weedy, empty plot to the beginnings of an actual center and home for the kids.  The substructure took about 5 weeks to complete – longer than planned – because of the heavy rains that poured down this year.  However since then, the building up of the superstructure has really happened right before our eyes.  The practical completion date for the entire project is set at September 18th and we are hoping to move the kids in sometime during October.

Just before the rainy season, we heard of an organization that plants trees at schools and children’s centers at no cost.  We called to ask if they would be willing to come to the new center and plant trees that would start to grow with all the rain.  They agreed quickly and wholeheartedly and came within a few days.  They were a big group of over 20 volunteers, arriving with 42 fruit and shade trees that they planted over the course of a few hours.  It was a great day, a symbolic one, as the construction had not yet begun.  There we were, planting trees for the future of the children and the future of the center.

In the same vein, the generous employees of Barclays Bank Moshi Branch donated a portion of their salaries this month to purchase the bougainvillea seeds we need to plant throughout the perimeter of the fencing, making the center private from the outside.  About 12 bank employees, including the manager, came to the site on Saturday; alongside the kids, Mr. Mambo, Damas Kimoso (Matumaini Trustee), our mamas and us, they planted 600 seedlings.  It was a great event, complete with a DJ and MC from Moshi FM Radio and a reporter from The Citizen, a local newspaper.  We had a dance party, soda, great speeches, and hopefully planted a seed – no pun intended – for more community involvement.

Last week, we were sitting with the kids while they were eating lunch.  We asked them what they thought would be improvements in the new center over the current one.  They were shy at first, but slowly started offering their answers: “space to play”; “our own bedrooms”; “a fence and gate”; “the classrooms”; “a dining hall, where we can eat inside on tables!”  These were the answers we heard, shouted out with excitement and anticipation. And then, it just couldn’t have been a conversation without Jackson asking how many TVs we’re installing, with a huge, vibrant smile pasted across his face.  Of course this made us laugh, as it always does.  Isn’t it wonderful to dream?!  These kids, our kids, are truly what this is all about.

We were recently reminiscing about the day a couple of years ago when we were walking down the Rau road, talking about how our friends were dreaming about the houses they wanted to have for their families, while we were dreaming about building a new Matumaini Center.  And now it’s happening.  It has been surreal to see the drawings we’ve been looking at for months come to life; to hear the kids talk about their excitement to move; to start dreaming about all of the programming and outreach we will be able to provide at the new place.  Surreal and real at the same time.

Get Knocked Up!

We have had some very successful fundraising efforts this year and are asking you to get creative and do some fundraising of your own.  We are shifting our fundraising efforts from construction back to our general fund, which goes to the operating budget of Matumaini as well as our other projects, which include our Third Annual Life Skills / HIV/AIDS Seminar in Rau as well as a new one in a village called Kilimahewa.

Some successful fundraising stories:  A volunteer ran a half marathon in Knock’s name and raised $2,000; a bowling event raised $2,000; another Knock supporter did her first triathlon and raised $2,500.  One person has raised over $8,000 by personally approaching people who identified with the cause.  There are more ideas floating around that are yet to be implemented including a night at the bar with the bartenders donating tips as well as a pub crawl to raise funds.  Every idea is worthwhile and very much appreciated!!  We need a group effort for all who support Knock to raise as much money as possible.  When we say every dollar helps – we genuinely mean it!

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