Saturday, December 31, 2011


It all started 4 days ago at 3 30am. My stomach woke me up and preceded to give me the worst stomach pain (a.k.a someone ripping out my ribs) I have ever had. Of course one of the nurses is on safari and the other just left to go back to the states. So I phoned another volunteer, who brought another volunteer who brought the Maasai guards, and India and the mamas to follow. So there I am crying hunched into a ball on the toilet with a crowd.

I got up to go to the doctor yesterday and found out that is some viral infection. Fun!

Tonight is New Years Eve... India is taking us out for dinner. So this means water and bread and rice HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Craziness!

So much has happened here at TCF. So many happy kids!

On Christmas Eve:

-Made cookies...with candy corn...I know, wrong holiday.
-Gingerbread construction 15 minutes....gingerbread demolition 15 seconds.
-Over 100 kids received new PJs...I have never heard so much screaming while opening a PJ present.
-I read The Night Before Christmas like my mom has read to me for the last 24 years!!

Christmas Day:

12am: Wake up to play Santa... made it without being caught SUCCESS
5 45am: We are holding the doors shut into the living room while the kids are screaming for presents.
-We actually convinced them to eat their traditional donut breakfast before opening their presents...first- these donuts sit in the sun for two days (part of the recipe) and second...who waits till after breakfast to open presents-suckers hahah

6 30am the kids open their two presents. Two of the kids said they saw Santa. Within minutes there were cars, tutus, musical instruments and crafts...everywhere.

8 30am Church

11am Christmas Pageant- I will have to put up my videos later...there were dances from Justin Beiber's Christmas album, an African rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and traditional drums and dancing. The kids did amazing!

Then....SODA!!! and piles of food. The kids decided to mix their sodas...I forgot how kids love doing that.

Christmas night we sat down for cocktails and Christmas dinner. I missed Mimi so I decided in her honor to drink a fair amount of white wine. Haha sorry Mimis...have to blame someone. After dinner we brought the white wine (box) to the top of he water tower and watched the African sky...I love Tanzania.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

Happy and I after cookie making!
This is whats its really like here on Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Almost here!

The kids are absolutely nuts right now.

How we have been getting ready for Christmas...

1. Cut out snow flakes- even though the kids have NO idea why they look like the cut outs.
2. Made hundreds of Christmas chains....with every color construction paper EXCEPT red and green... we ran out in early December.
3. Put up the little fake trees in each house. Everyone has an ornament with their picture in it!
4. Christmas cards for their sponsors- shipped over to America already!
5. Christmas Pinatas- Yup a Christian/Mexican/Africa new tradition!! Our St. 5 class made a snowman...covered in glitter. I asked one of the kids today what we should name it...he told me...Frosty...duh..
6. Make cookies for Santa..or so that the mamas and I can eat all of them all.
7. Make Gingerbread house....its a competition going down between our house and Mikumi on Saturday...GO Rubundo house!
8. Wrap 2 gifts per kid..with around 150 total kids...thats 300 presents to thankful
9. Practice, practice, practice for the Christmas pagaent. There are 5 houses and each has to do a dance/song/ something. I decided that since EVERY morning I wake up to the kids singing Waka Waka by Shakira...why not make it a Christmas song, so here are the NEW words for Waka Waka-Christmas Style..

If your a good kid
Throughout the year
Picked yourself up
Helped others out
Calmed others fears

Its Christmas time
You feel it
You know the gifts
Today is the day
Hope its never over

Its Christmas time
You feel it
We have it all
Believe it

The trees set up- oh oh
Santa came- eh eh
Presents present everywhere...ITS TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
Presents presents- love, love
All together- ho ho
Be kind and joyous

(There are 2 more verses but you get the point!)

Merry Christmas to everyone in the states!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sports Bras

How America and Tanzania are the same:

1. They give bras to girls way to early!
-This weekend many of the girls here got their 1st sport bras (even though they totally don't need them.) They keep telling me to come over and then lift up their shirt and have the biggest smiles on their faces.

2. You wait hours for healthcare!
-Yesterday I took two of the girls and the baby (Kisi) to FAME. FAME is Foundation for African Medicine and Education. It is our local clinic and is amazing! The main doctors and visiting doctors are from America. I went in with each of the girls, telling the doctors of their symptoms, history and then got blood and other samples taken. The youngest girl had to get blood taken. So I held her hand, and she jumped three times before staying still enough to get any blood. I think I was squeezing her hand harder then she squeezed mine. They both also needed to give stool samples and oh BOY I have never felt like more of a mother! Trying to coach little girls to poo when all they kept saying were 'i dont have poo...i dont have poo!' It was a fun day.

3. The Music!
- We might be far behind in popular music but here are some of our TZ favorites right now!
Paper Loving by Christopher Martin
Mambo Sawa Sawa by Songbirds

Ways that America and Tanzania are different:

-Going into bars and club you will see the sign 'No Machetes allowed'
-At gas stations you are allowed to fill up water bottles with gas.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Yesterday we found out that Gyetighi Primary School (our partner primary school) had a 100 % pass rate for Standard 7. That means all of the students are eligible to go to secondary school! This is an INCREDIBLE result! When TCF started assisting the school in 2008, the pass rate for Standard 7 was just under 30%! We are now the model school for the whole district!

Last week I was asked to work for Gyetighi and be the athletics director for the whole school. I accepted and have started my private Swahilli lessons with one of the teachers. Her name is Yohana and she is amazing. I will be speaking to the students in Swahilli when school starts again in January.

This is the part of TCF's website that discusses what we do with the school.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Last night when I was putting the girls to sleep, one of them asked why I was sad. I did not realize that I seemed sad but kids notice everything. I told them that my babu (grandfather) was very sick and was dying. So we sat and stood together in their room as one of the girls prayed. She prayed for Africa, for each other, and for 'Grandfather'. They asked me if he was going to heaven to be with Jesus. I said that my grandfather is an amazing man and that he will be in heaven. They asked if he will be in the sky with us in Africa and I said yes.

Grandma- the girls want to phone you tomorrow (your morning) to send their prayers to you. I hope this is OK, they want so much to talk to my bibi (grandmother).


Africa sick... be back tomorrow...

Monday, December 12, 2011


I just got back from my first vacation to Arusha. Arusha is the main city in northern Tanzania and I LOVED IT! Live reggae music, lots of cool people, and so much to see!

I was able to go to another orphanage while I was there called Peace Matunda. It is a much smaller orphanage, only around 30 children. Here is their website:

I will blog more tomorrow. It is a very busy first day back.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mamas and Chicken

** One random fact- When you see a woman in TZ you call her mama ____. I live with mama Mety and mama Ruthi. Mety and Ruthi aren't their actual given names. Those are the names of their first children. So it is literally mama of whoever. I feel like if we did that in the US we definitely wouldn't name our kids Apple, Hopper, Petal Blossom Rainbow (all taken from worst celebrity baby names)....except I did met a man named Innocent here the other day.

Sundays are our day off. So three of us volunteers got a ride to Karatu (45 minutes away). We went around to a bunch of dukas (stores) and found one of the people that work here. He showed us the local market, and all his friends ofcourse. He took us to a very local lunch place where we got chicken and chips. I had no clue what to do when they handed me a bucket. Found out they clean your hands for you. They do this because you only eat with your hands. Once they saw us trying to eat this chicken they tried to take it away and cut it up for babies. I have decided after eating this chicken...right next to the squawking chickens... to stop eating meat...yup a vegetarian that eats bacon. Mark the Date 12/5/11.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


The volunteers!
Our Christmas tree!
Hula hoop craziness.
Soccer all day, all night.
A beautiful morning!
Jackson on our walk.
Mowing the lawn.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A day at clinic

I sent this email to a friend yesterday.

I am currently sitting on a porch outside the offices here at TCF. There are over 80 people lined up to see the doctor that comes once a month. A baby is wailing and people are sitting under trees to get out of the sun. They are wrapped in traditional colorful sheets. Most have been here for 5 hours already. Some have been told to do the long walk again tomorrow. They walk miles and miles on the steep trails and through the coffee fields.

Today people are back and still waiting. Many people had to be turned away but they still wait here and hope maybe the doctor will have time.


Each week during vacation I teach math to a different Standard. This week I had Standard 3. Every morning for 2 hours we reviewed their math from the school year. We played Around the World multiplication/division, went shopping with 'shillings'- aka construction paper with numbers on it, played 'beat the level' game....lots of fun! We went over their whole book in a week! So as a present today we went on a long 2 hour walk. I saw my first African deer-ish thing. Here is a picture of the class! Next week is Standard 4 math and then my first vacation to Arusha!

Yes I wear my five finger shoes to run/walk in....all the kids say I have monkey feet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


-Only 25 days until Christmas! The kids are so excited. We made December calendars yesterday so we could start crossing off each day!

-All 105 kids are here! The secondary kids are home for vacation. They all attend boarding schools (thank you sponsors) in Karatu, Arusha and right here in Oldeani. The students that go unsponsored go to the high school in Oldeani. Unfortunately, that school is not doing well. They currently only have 2 government teachers- for the whole school! I am going on a tour and to meet the head of school next week to see if I can be some help. The Children's Fund is looking into helping the secondary school because so many of our primary kids go there. Only a few students out of hundreds pasted the national exams last year at Oldeani.

I wanted to say thank you to all my amazing friends and family. Thank you for being so supportive of me here. I send the kids your love everyday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Climbing Kilimanjaro

The Climb for Health!
The money for this climb is going to help build our new health center. It is for the kids here but it is also for the people who walk so far everyday to see our nurse and visiting doctor. Last time I walked out and saw a little baby wailing, with a severe clef lip. Luckily, once a year, a doctor from Europe comes and for just $75 american dollars, the child can have it fixed. We sponsor these operations.

People also go into our preschool to get blood drawn for testing...our preschool! So currently we only have one room and a preschool room to help these people.

Here is the website about the climb.

If you are interested in sponsoring my climb and our new health center please contact me:

On a less serious note: I was in bed all day yesterday with my first African stomach issue-issues...thank you health center!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So much going on!!

So much has happened here at the Children's Village the last two days! Here is a quick recap:
Thanksgiving Day:
Turkey hands with the babies (see picture of Boni!)

Thanksgiving Dinner:
  • A few of us spent all afternoon making desserts. Thanks to Aunt Susie's recipe I made an awesome crumb topping apple pie. We also had pumpkin pie, made from real pumpkin....ok it took two pumpkins because after cutting the 1st one open we realized maggots aren't probably the best spice to put in pie.
  • The turkey came in from Kenya!
  • There were 18 of us at dinner. It was an amazing experience going around the table talking about what we are all thankful for.
Black Friday!

Yes, so American of me but....I did have the babies celebrate Black Friday. I got all the metal plates, cups and spoons and made it into a market. Each kid received 4 shillings (cut up construction paper) and each item was either 1,2,3 or 4 (thousand) shillings. Each little kid lined up, told me how they were doing, then picked out what they wanted and paid! It was way too cute.

Yesterday was also the primary school's last day of school/graduation ceremony. It was similar to ours except MUCH more dancing and singing! Since today was the first day of vacation I started teaching math every morning for 2 hours. I start with Standard 3 and go up to Standard 6 for the next 6 weeks.

Ashley's Last Day

Ashley, who has been a volunteer here for a year is leaving this weekend. So how to celebrate? DANCE PARTY! All of the girls in the Manyara House (girls only) plus some of the older girls came over after dinner and danced to Tanzanian music for 2 hours! We were all very sweaty by the end of the night. We will miss you Ashley!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh boy!

*Just a quick note.... if you don't enjoy running- come here. You will feel awesome about your running. As you run through the hills of coffee fields you will have children yelling....I LOVE YOU! And you can wave and say...Oh I love you too.

I was reminded today of the big trip our Standard 3 boys will be taking soon. At the age of about 8, these boys will get circumsized. Because almost all of these children were not born in sanitary conditions, the last thing the baby needs is an infected.....
So for the next few weeks the boys will be given a basket of presents, a diaper-ish traditional wrap and lots of down time...poor guys.
BUT at least they are not the Maasai boys out in the bush! Those boys go through the 'coming of age' cermony. They are given NO pain killers, anesthesia, anything! If the boys cry or show any pain, they are immediately kicked out of the tribe.

Today is also field day! All the kids got their faces painted and are very excited that this is their last week before a 6 week vacation break. This is when I will start teaching math every morning....cant wait!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Things I have learned!

Things I have learned so far...

1. Milk is just not the same- powdered room temp milk- only in kwahawa! (coffee)

2. Scrubbing one's feet-hard- everyday- is no guarantee not to get worms.

3. When asking kids here what their favorite part of the day.... many say school!!!

4. Tanzanian pancakes are like crepes....yessssssss

5. Do not give Tanzanian mamas your underwear to wash...FYI

6. Stepping in elephant poo smells REALLY bad.

7. Just because there is roof over your head doesn't mean things cant fall through.

8. Road does not mean road...maybe trail...still drivable.

9. Cockroaches are oddly small here.

10. I love it here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am located right next to the Ngorongoro crater which is home to hundreds of African wildlife. This is exciting because I get to see all sorts of animals on my runs but this also means the animals can wonder right on over to our village. So our protection?? MAASAI! We have quite a few Maasai men who patrol the campus at night making sure animals, or anything else stays away. They also walk around during the day with their traditional red cloaks (probably not the right word!) The best part is seeing them with pink crocs (dad just like yours!!) or bright green boots.

The boys this morning ran around wrapped in blankets saying MAASAI MAASAI!!!

*Oh a HUGE difference between kids here and kids in the states.... When I cut the bread for breakfast and snack they always say 'end piesh end piesh' aka they want the end piece. Weird.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Today is Ryan's birthday.

Ryan I miss you so much. I went to church with the kids this morning. There were over 70 kids singing and drumming, praying and clapping. Everything here reminds me of you. I can just picture you joining in with a giant smile on your face.

On the way into town, reggae was playing in the truck. The World is a Cycle came on, Africa Unite came on. I am thankful that you will always be with us Ryan.

Some pictures!

The ridge in the background is the Ngorongoro Crater! These are the views while I am on my runs everyday!
The first tembos I saw here!!!
I love EMA!!!! He is one of my babies in playgroup in the morning.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This is the village next to the Children's Village!

Ahhhh teenage dereva!!!

So today one of the 16 year old girls jumped behind the driver seat for the first time with one of the volunteers. It was hilarious to watch her drive up and down the only tiny road adjacent to the Children's Village. (Dirt of course.) She was all over the grass, back and forth! I now understand why my mom had to have wine before driving with me for the first time.

On a sadder note- I recently learned about the children who have HIV. By Tanzanian law, these children will not find out about having HIV until there are around 11. They do know that if they get a cut they must tell the people helping them to put on gloves. They also know they have special medication they must take everyday. There are only a few of these children here at the village. I am told that when they do find out they are almost relieved to know there is a name to what has been a mystery to them for so long. At the same time, they have all studied health and sex education so they know exactly what this means.

Thankfully they are all heathy and happy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tooth Fairy!

Yesterday I went for my first run with the other volunteers around the village. Only a few miles but SUPER hilly. I think it even has VT beat! Speaking of VT, one of the nurse volunteers grew up in Shelburne VT!

I got to play tooth fairy today! It is one of our duties as a volunteer to put a little gift under their pillow if they loose a tooth! So this little boy in my house got a car and stickers- which then ended up all over his face.

Sorry I can not post pictures from the Village. I will have to find a place in town with an internet cafe!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Sundays are our day off so 6 of us volunteers went into Karatu which is the nearest town (about 45 mins.) The road to get out of the children's village is so up and down and extremely bumpy from being washed out so many times by the rains. Hopefully soon I won't get as car sick.

Yesterday was a big soccer game for our school. Around 60 people walked here to watch. If the kids aren't playing soccer, they are asking if they can. I realized that I can only play with the little kids...because at this point my soccer skills are at that level. By Standard Three I get my butt kicked.

Today I started working with the youngest kids. Which means playing! I can not complain. I have 7 2-4 year olds. They love simon says...without the simon says part and every activity last about 5 minutes...for 2 and a half hours! So after lunch- nap time.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Made it!

I am finally here in the Children's Village. It is unbelievably beautiful. It is also very hot. I live in the Robundo house with 10 ten children and two live in mamas. The kids in this house are mostly the youngest of the village. They love to be read to.

Had the tour of the village and met the other 10 volunteers. The volunteers have come from all over the US and have been on so many other amazing adventures as well.

My driver from Arusha had a Bob Marley sticker on the van so immediately I asked if he liked reggae. We ended up listening to my ipod the whole 3 hour trip out here. It was nice to drive through the mountains both of us singing to Bob, Richie and other artists! We saw two giraffes (twiga) and baboons.

Tomorrow is Saturday so I will help do review sessions for the kids (math, english and crafts).

Monday I start my first 'job' of working with the little ones and doing fun activities with them...can't wait!

I can not upload pictures from the village but I will be able to on Sundays when I go into town.

Sorry so many random thoughts! Still very tired! Nap time!



Wednesday, November 2, 2011



Made it to Amsterdam and am about to board to Arusha!

Meet a man on my flight here who went to university in Dar Es Salaam (the capital of TZ) and he helped me study my KiSwahili!

Only 30 free minutes of Wifi!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The details! (Ignore if you recieved my email last week!)

My Trip to Tanzania!

When? November 1st 2011 - May 1st 2012

Where? I will be traveling to the northern part of Tanzania in the Oldeani Village, which is adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the Rift Valley.

Who? I am volunteering for the Tanzanian Children's Fund. The Children's Fund has built and fully funded an orphanage that supports 80 orphans from the ages of 2-19. Many of the children have been orphaned because their parents have died from AIDS/HIV or because they are unwanted or at-risk. The Children's Fund also helps educate and manage the local primary school. They provide supplies, uniforms, and medical attention for students. They have also started a microfinance program for the families in the village.

Who knew the founder, India Howell went to UVM and their Chairman lived in Montpelier. Go Vermont!

What? I will be living in one of the buildings with another volunteer, two local 'mommas' and twelve orphans. At the orphanage I will be doing everything from getting the kids out of bed in the morning to tutoring to creating after school activities. I will also be there to help improve their local schools mathematics programs and curriculum. Most importantly I will give my love!

***Please help me volunteer! Because I am volunteering this means that I have paid for this experience. I would love to bring supplies and a money donation for the orphanage as well. This is where I am asking for your help! Because I am going for a full 6 months I do not have a lot of space to bring physical items, but if you think you have something perfect let me know! I would love to arrive at the orphanage with donations from my friends and family! Even if you can only donate $10, every dollar counts!

Donations- Please write checks out to me: Jill Kellogg- 1190 Dorney Rd Breinigsville PA 18031. I am leaving November 1st, sorry for the late notice! I will be writing one big check out to TCF, making sure to acknowledge all who donated, their information, and their donation amounts!

*For more information about the Tanzanian Children Fund please visit:

2 weeks!

Jambo !

Thank you so much for the donations I have received for the Children's Fund. We have raised well over $5,000 already! All I can say is asante sana, asante sana, asante sana.....thank you, thank you, thank you! I will make sure that everyone is acknowledged by the TCF for their contributions.

If you still are still looking to donate, please email me at

*They also have a great website:

I am now at home in PA with my mom and dad. I have been practicing my Swahili everyday and loving it!

Swahili word of the day: kuku- chicken (makes sense and fun to say)
Swahili phrase of the way: Mimi ni Mmarekani. I am American. I only like this because Mimi is my grandma....yet to say grandma, its bibi!

Kwa heri !


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Less than 3 weeks!

Karibu! Welcome to my TanZANIA blog!

This is where I will be posting from near the Oldeani Village in northern Tanzania. I will be volunteering and living in an orphanage with about 80 children from 2-19 years old. I also hope to work in the public schools and help out with their math programs.

This blog is where I will be sharing my experiences, my photos, and my new home and family for the next 6 months.

Because the orphanage relies on solar power and does not have consistent internet access, this blog might be sporadic. I will do my best to relay what it is really like to LIVE there and to LEARN there.

I thank everyone who has helped sponsor me in my biggest adventure yet!