Monday, December 14, 2009

"Unhappy in its Own Way" shoot 12/12/09

Me and Sui

The director/writer Joyce Wu

Ellen, Andrea, Sui and Judy

Amato Opera Theatre

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kwa Heri Tanzania! (Dec 2nd)

Banana tree outside my room

Boss and David chilling in their room

always with the blackberry

OK, here's the gloss over.
Last day. With Emily and Fratern we went back to Nkoranga to take measurement of the matresses. The urine ones have been on Boss's mind since we first smelled them. Got the right sizes and put in the orders. In the meantime, Boss falls in love with a little baby boy named Baraka and it is hard to watch her leave him behind.

Went by to check out TFFT's office and subsequently Emily's house.

Met up with Josh and all had a nice lunch at the Blue Heron; pizza in Africa, who knew. David and I try to figure out the best way to sneak Baraka back to Dumbo.

Then it was a quick stop to check out Massai market. Tanzanian bargaining rule of thumb: immediately half whatever is the first price they quote you and work from there.

Afterwards we went over to meet some of the TFFT's sponsored kids at Usa River Academy. They are great kids and it was heartbreaking to tell them that we couldn't come back tomorrow because we were going back to New York.

Last, it was back to Rivertrees to pack up and say goodbye to the wonderful Martina (Rivertrees' Managing Director and invaluable source of info for any NGO). Next thing we know, Boss and I are dealing with stomach issues on some very turbulent flights home.

Thanks so much TFFT! Can't wait to start collaborating with you and try to make a difference.

More of Irente (Dec 1st)

The view from our convent accommodations

David and the Montessori. Nice right?

Back at Irente. I believe this was staff accommodations

Where they keep the cows and goats

I love how we just watch Sister Enna do the manual labor. Even worse...I take a picture of it!

Emily told me how great this goat was...she was right
Look! we have matching bangs!

David learns to make Chipate, which is like delicious Indian Pratha. Don't worry I filmed it.

On our way back from Irente Orphanage we first stop by Irente View Point. Totally worth it, look at that view. That is as close as David would get to the edge. Notice how Boss never ever gets anywhere near the drop off?

Asante Itrene (Nov. 30th)

Where we picked up Sister Enna

Traveling up into the mountains in the good company of the TFFT crew Josh and Emily. Don't worry, they drive on the right side here.

We arrive at Irente. It was a rocky ride but the weather couldn't be better.

Going in for some tea with the sisters

Sister Enna who is obviously well loved by the children. we need more Sister Enna's in the world.
I loved this little girl with those pouty lips...she didn't want anything to do with me or my cameras.

mostly, though my camera gear was a big hit

freshly bathed

Dr. Dre should adopt this little guy, he looks just like him

feeding time, you got a little something right there.

After a really depressing day yesterday touring two orphanages that can be classified as bad and shame on you respectively, we braced ourselves for Irente Orphanage in the Lashoto Mountains. This meant a five hour car journey into the bush and up into the mountains marked by great views and quicken heartrates everytime the crazy packed buses came barreling by. Josh and Emily from TFFT were our guides and I got to learn a lot more about their Foundation which, I might add, is doing incredible things.

About a hour away, we picked up the Director of Irente, Sister Enna from the hair salon (hilarious I know) and she immediately reminded me of my grandmother in some ways. Straight foward, practical, speaks her mind, is often funny without knowing and likes to laugh but don't mess with her.

We got to Irente and all we had to say after looking around was "there is hope!". Seriously, from yesterday to today, like night and day. The children are happy, there is way more staff here that want to be here (it's also a 2 year training course for child care that the girls have to apply for and test into, and if they get in they have to pay for). It's clean and organized and I have to say it again, the children are happy! So the lesson gratefully learned today: a good and proper orphanage in Tanzania is possible.

Spent the night up in the mountains at a Montessori school/convent(?) where a vegetarian main entree means no main entree, and we'll head back to the orphanage again tomorrow.