(Exactly one million) pennies from heaven

Among Karimu’s Board members—Lorraine Flores, Dr. Susan Hughmanick, Joas Kahembe, Marianne, and me—Lorraine keeps by far the lowest profile. In my blog I’ve written next to nothing about her and I don’t even have a photograph of her to publish with this post. That’s largely because Lorraine traveled to Tanzania with us in 2009 and not this past August and I only started the blog last May.

Even so, Lorraine deserves much more attention than she gets, especially after the grant proposal she sent out a year ago brought in a grant of ten thousand dollars yesterday from The International Foundation of Wayne, New Jersey. This gift shocked us. Lorraine had often wondered aloud about the fate of her proposal during recent months, because The International Foundation never sent us any news; they merely sent the check.

In my last post, five days ago, I observed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation treats grants of a hundred thousand dollars virtually as afterthoughts. Needless to say, we can’t afford the luxury of that perspective at Karimu which, as I also pointed out, has no endowment and owes its misleading status as a “Foundation” purely to my ignorance. Ten thousand dollars means the world to us—or at least the possibility, though we can’t say for sure yet, of getting Dareda Kati Village’s brand-new Mother and Child Health Care Association off the ground.

Per The International Foundation’s requirement, we shall direct their grant exclusively toward construction of living quarters for teachers at Ayalagaya Secondary School, living quarters which Ayalagaya desperately needs for reasons outlined in Lorraine’s proposal. (In brief, educated people don’t want to live in wattle huts like those accommodating the villagers who send their children to Ayalagaya. Therefore Ayalagaya, like nearby Ufani Primary School, needs to build modern living quarters for teachers to keep them from leaving for jobs in less isolated areas.) But The International Foundation’s money puts Karimu over the top in our effort to qualify for the maximum of twenty thousand dollars of matching funds which the Santa Cruz business Quantaphy pledged to us last month; Marianne and I will pick up the twenty thousand from Quantaphy co-owners Debbie Burns-Walton and Ken Terry in a couple of days. So I hope the ten thousand we’ve just received might free up enough of the rest of our cash to let us support some of what the Mother and Child Health Care Association wishes to do while we try to help its nineteen nurses and midwives find a grant from a true foundation.

Meanwhile, how shall Susan, Marianne, and I fête Lorraine at tomorrow evening’s Board meeting over dinner? Maybe with one of the to-die-for avocado shakes that Mrs. Kahembe taught me how to make last year in Babati? It’s practically the only recipe I can execute with any competence: milk, a chopped ripe avocado, a tray of ice cubes, sugar, and puree.

Except I think Lorraine declined my offer of an avocado shake at our last Board meeting. Would ethical constraints rule out force-feeding?—Don Stoll


About Don Stoll

Don and his wife, Marianne Kent-Stoll, are co-founders of the Karimu International Help Foundation. They established Karimu in 2008 at the request of the people of Dareda Kati Village, in the Manyara Region of northeastern Tanzania. Karimu is devoted to working with the residents of Dareda Kati in order to satisfy their development needs, as defined by the villagers themselves.
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