Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hello Everyone,
I just heard from Tim Mdinka, our country coordinator who is with this group. They are having a great time but have not been able to blog for two days because of internet issues. The kids are tonight in their second night of their homestays. All is well!
Ross Wehner

Friday, June 29, 2012


Jambo from McKenna & Cooper!
                Today was our 6th day and 2nd work day at the school. As you might know, we have been digging holes and plastering walls to prepare the plumbing for toilets and sinks to be installed in the girls dormitories.  Today was a little bit more exciting because Andrew, Blaire, and Mrs. Losey arrived! We were all really excited to see them. We even had a “welcome party” at the pool for them with treats from home, like peanut butter.
                As expected around this time of the trip (don’t freak out), a few kids have been getting stomach and headaches, but nothing serious.
                Tomorrow, we go to our home stay for two nights. Everyone is anxious, but we are all hoping everything turns out well and it is a memorable experience. No one will be blogging for the next couple of days because we will not have access to the lodge or a computer.
 We miss you all and cannot wait to see you all!
Xoxo McKenna and Cooper
The Powell family - I can’t wait to see y’all! I’ve missed you every day and can’t wait to talk to you!!!  Hope everyone is really good and I love y’all!
The Monk family – No worries, I’m alive. Miss you all a ton! Hope you’re having fun without me! Love you!
                Fun Facts:
                The kids at Banjika think Andrew is from China and Blaire is from Nigeria.
                They call Shomari “Biggie”
                The tea they serve everyday to us tastes like hot southern sweet tea, which is perfect for us!
The kids assume we are capable of eating three loaves of bread…each. We have yet to consume three loaves of bread as a group during the past 6 days.
We’re going to a clinic on Saturday to talk to a retired American doctor, a Safari on Sunday, and an orphanage on Monday!
The babies here are the cutest things we have ever seen. Pictures to come! 

Post from 6/27

 Jambo Ensworth Families,
                It’s Abbey B. and Helen here! Today was our first work day at the Banjika school. We had 2 three-hour work sessions which consisted of hole digging for the septic tank, cement mixing, and plastering the bathroom walls. We are embarrassingly out of shape (thanks EHS fitness department…jk) The Tanzanian students and workers greatly showed us up, even though they are half our size. They are really interested in how big Shomari and Nick are. At the end of the day, we played a game that was fun and competitive.
                In other news, Andrew and Blaire arrived at the Kilimanjaro airport, and they will be with us tomorrow! Our hotel/lodge is heaven, despite dysfunctional shower heads and no electricity.
                The Rue family – Happy belated birthday to David! P.s. – please bring my gray Patagonia fleece when you get here. Can’t wait to see you! Miss you all.
                The Bounds family – let’s be more careful when we shop at REI next time because my towel is the size of a wash cloth and my sleep sack is thinner than tissue paper. I love you & miss you all!
                Mama D. and Dingess family- Doug is a fountain and not a drain. Miss you all!
Much Love, Abbey and Helen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday June 26

Last night was our final night at the Freedom Lodge. We all loved the lodge because the workers loved us and helped us to feel at home. Both mornings there I woke up around 5:30 but couldn’t complain because it gave me time to read, see the sunrise, and work with the women who were up making breakfast for us. Even though we were only there two days, we all became close with the workers and were very sad to leave. When sweet Jeffery had had his fill of doing the “trust wave” with us we said our goodbyes and hopped on the bus for the four hour drive to the Banjika School. This was the most beautiful and most bumpy drive I’ve ever been a part of! We saw camels, a family of baboons crossing the street, and toddlers herding big groups of cows, mules, goats, donkeys, and sheep. The boys herding were so young; it seems as if the parents give them a stick and send them off with the animals as soon as they’re old enough to walk. We all laughed thinking about how useless we were at that age. We saw many people from the Masai tribe with painted bodies and faces, wrapped up in their tribal color, red. When we got restless, we stopped to take a “candy” break by a field of corn (candy means pee-pee in Swahili). When I was getting back to the bus, I spotted red and was headed over to greet who I thought was a Masai... turns out I had been staring at Mr. Kaminski in his red jacket going to the bathroom. It was a very funny and eventful trip.

Nappa Penda Happa! I really like it hereJ      
Loving you Dad, Mama, and Lauren


On the way, we stopped for lunch in Mtowambu, Mosquito Creek . We ate a delicious homemade meal and learned a ton about bananas. J There was a wood shop that David Johnson would have adored and everyone was so friendly. Mtowambu was also a stork breeding ground, so there were storks EVERYWHERE. When we arrived at the school, the students’ excitement was contagious. They were so welcoming and hugged us all. We found our Tanzanian Rafiki (friend in Swahili) that we will be doing our homestay with and they gave us a tour of their school. As we walked, many of us holding hands with our friends, we learned some new Swahili words. My friend, Tabitha, taught me how to say “dog”- Mbwo. After our tour we said goodbye and walked to our home for the next week. Dinner was delicious, but there was so much food it was hard to eat it all. We are all excited for Mrs. Losey, Andrew and Blaire to get here Thursday morning (they left Nashville today). We are all tired, but ready to get started at the job site tomorrow morning. Kwa Harini!
 Johnson Clan (probably with some Carters mixed in):  I love and miss y’all. Tell George hi next time you send him a letter. And Mere, keep wrangling ponies!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

By: Shomari White and Emme McGlasson
    Today the students walked through a local village led by Tim, our leader, by the Freedom Lodge, where we are staying. On the way, Shomari and Lindsey helped make bricks from clay and sand. They also initialed their bricks. On the walk we met many locals and saw a little bit of their everyday life. We went to a family’s house (hut) and helped clean corn in order to make the cornmeal and corn milk.    Next, we went to the tribunal court for the Rawanda Genocide. We did not get to see the court in session, but we had a tour of where the trials take place. Once we got back to the Freedom Lodge, Emme and Shomari, the Leaders of the Day, performed a skit with Mr. Smith and our leader Susan. The purpose of the skit was to explain to the students the phases of group dynamics that we will be experiencing on the trip, 1. Forming and Norming, 2. Storming, and 3. Performing.
               After dinner, we journaled about our fears and goals for the trip. Next, we played A-N-C-H-O-R. A is for appreciation, N is for news, C is for concerns, H is for hopes, O is for obscurities or observations, and R is for readings. This was the last activity for the night before all students went to sleep.
Shout-Outs- Blaire and Andrew, Ms. Losey, Dariel, Kate, Shomari’s Sugar Foot ReJean Rouse, Pootie and Sahara, Brother Clayton, The Scanlan Family, Joel McGlasson, and all the other parents and families.
Thank you to Mrs. Dingess for your words of wisdom, “Be a fountain, not a drain!”
Yours Truly,
Emme and Shomari

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hello parents,
The group landed in Tanzania about an hour ago and have now made their way to Freedom Lodge in Tanzania. The adventure has begun! Please call us if you have any questions on (303) 679-3412 and check back on this blog for updates on the group's progress.
Ross Wehner, WLS