I visited my mama and Cradle of Love again on Saturday to finalize my plans with the cookbook. So let me share what my plans are!!! Since the women's organization I was going to work with didn't work out, I quickly brainstormed a solution. I am so lucky I did not come over here thinking my plans would be set in stone, and have some connections for when things don't turn out they way I expected. The new plan is still going to be making a cookbook, just allocating the funds to organizations that I know could use it in a meaningful way.
Instead of just young women, I'm going to use my cookbook to fundraise for females of ALL ages in Tanzania :) To do this I am going to raise funds for THREE organizations instead of just one. Since my original goal was $7000 for Faraja, I figured if I am able to raise $2000 or more for each, I would deem my project as a success! So let me introduce you to:
Cradle of Love: of course! As most of you know, I love babies! I'm going to be volunteering at Cradle of Love for a few hours each week and will be sponsoring a baby girl with the funds I raise. It costs about $1800 a year for each baby and with over 40 babies now, the cost to run the home is rising. Every time I go, I am overwhelmed with how much love and care these little abandoned/orphaned babies need. The home was created by Davona Church, and is based out of the U.S. They are recognized as a tax-deductible donation, so I think they will be the easiest to reach my goal, and hopefully more!!! If I find any businesses or individuals willing to donate, but only if it can be deemed tax-deductible, they'd be able to write a check directly and can purchase the cookbook separately if they'd like! I will post pictures and some info about my favorite babies soon :D
Wanawake Afrika: meaning African Women, as I mentioned in an earlier blog- this is the organization the couple I was going to work with at Faraja, Mike and Sue Sanders, before learning how corrupt the management was there. They are now working to support the graduates of the Faraja center with scholarships to continue schooling. Since I have gotten quite the range of scholarships and grants for my time at Tulane, I think it would be great to return the favor to a young woman who really needs it! I hope to meet with them soon to finalize details and see if there is anything else I can help with.
Hekima: meaning "wise" in Swahili, it is an organization my mama is highly involved with and I had heard about it many times last year when she'd go to meetings. Since she is my best source to continue making a successful cookbook, I can only hope to return the favor in some way. The whole idea of the group is a support network that allows each member a chance to make a better life for themselves through entrepreneurial endeavors. There are 37 members currently, mostly older women, that work together to make ends meet. Their main system is micro-loaning, where they each pay a certain amount each week to put into a larger group account. When a member has an idea to improve their business, they are able to loan out 5 times as much as they had given in order to make a big purchase. My mama just bought a fridge with this money in order to sell fresh juice and cold sodas during the day. Last year while I was in Arusha, the group attended a training session on how to make yogurt and how to preserve food. I am hoping with the $2000 I raise for them, they can not only increase their lending capabilities, but also plan a training session for the entire group! The women here are absolutely inspiring, always doing whatever they can and working hard to make sure their families are taken care of. It is going to be an honor meeting the members of the group and seeing how these funds will help, including my mama!
Since my mama is so busy with meetings, she's having a good friend bibi Farida, who I met briefly last year, come and help with cooking because she only works a few days a week now. The biggest problem I have found here is the lack of jobs that offer any type of continuity. People are so willing to work at the lowest of wages if they know they will have some type of consistent income. With both my mama and Farida self-employed and working part-time, they are happy to spend time teaching me to cook. I am paying for all of the food costs and have agreed to give them S5000 for each recipe I learn for the cookbook by the end of my stay (aiming for about 30-35 so approximately $100 USD) with some of the grant money I received this spring. Hopefully, with some free delicious meals, quality time with their silly American mzungu daughter/granddaughter, and a little incentive to offset the number of hours spent, they will find this experience just as rewarding as I will!!! I am also hoping to get a recipe or two from Cradle of Love, Wanawake Afrika, my favorite restaurants in town and perhaps on the coast so everyone can contribute at least a little bit of Tanzanian culture :D