24 Jun 2023

Smiles collecting water

Back in Mombasa, visiting Mercy Hospital, Gift School and the young adults we have supported since childhood. We saw this smiley, beautiful child as we left the school, waving on his way to get water.

24 Jun 2023

I am grateful

We park the car on a patch of yellowed and very dry earth, in front of the Gift School. Gathering our backpacks, we make our way to the corrugated metal building - a school in the slum called Bangladesh. With almost 500 children attending, the school has no room for growth as the slum is overcrowded and has run out of space. A woman in pink comes towards us, rushing, with arms and hands extended. She stops directly in front of me and says, "May I guess who you are"? At my nod, she says, "You are Tanya!" And we hug and greet each other, the director of Gift [...]

22 Jun 2023

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Normally, I make my own breakfasts with oatmeal or eggs, but with my oatmeal sitting in the lost box in Bangui, I ate locally prepared breakfasts, which consisted of coffee, bread and something else - some sort of surprise, like avocado, fish, pasta, eel, sardines, bananas, or peanuts. Amaranth greens, rice and either pork or goat or fish made up every single one of our lunches this past week, with no variety on how the veggies and rice were prepared. They were delicious and am glad I enjoy the greens with hot peppers added to them. Dinners were more varied - shawarma, pork and fries (!!!!) being two favorites. [...]

21 Jun 2023

Taco bell!

The guest house in Bangui is paid up and all expenses are reviewed once again, accounted for and carefully recorded.Packing has been done and I have to leave some shirts, a pair of pants, my awesome boots, some dirty clothes, and a waterproof bag behind because I am out of space. I have received a note from Kenya Air, changing my flight time, giving me an hour to get from the international airport in Nairobi to the national one, as I head on to Mombasa. I am reluctant to check my bag because of the high chance of it not arriving with me, so decide to carry it, meaning I [...]

20 Jun 2023


The rain is hard, pelting the reed roof of the structure in which we are sitting, along with others who ran to this tiny hut for protection from the heavy rains. Our driver, B-13, promptly falls asleep on a wooden chair while Mandaba makes easy conversation with stranded strangers and the home owner who graciously offers us all a welcome. Right in front of me, a bicycle laden with cassava bread, some sort of reeds, and a turtle hanging over the wheel waits patiently for its owner to decide it is time to start the long way home. Half of our motorcycle is under cover, with the baggage, covered [...]

20 Jun 2023

Ride back to Zongo

Our driver's name is B-13.He shows up at 5:30am to start the ride back to Zongo, from where we will cross the river to Bangui. From there, a flight will take me to Mombasa, Kenya, where I will meet up with Tifany and Juju, both team leaders-in-training.It rained hard yesterday and the roads are not dusty at all as we take off just as the sun is rising. Our bags are packed tightly into garbage bags, just in case it rains while we drive and we are both wearing dirty jeans because it makes no sense to trash another pair, as we expect mud to be the name of the [...]

17 Jun 2023

Community Gardens in Gemena

The sun is hot on my arms as we make our way to one of our two community gardens in Gemena. Today, I ride with Guy, who swerves around potholes, carefully following Matthieu and Mandaba to the garden which benefits our youth project through the sale of produce. We turn off onto a skinny, curvy dirt road and make our way through tall grasses and shrubs slapping our arms and legs. We burst out of the dense, cool green into a field with us facing a mountain range in the distance and between here and there, there is only beauty. The contrast between the bluest sky, the greenest cassava plants, [...]

15 Jun 2023

Cultural differences in communicating

Avocado, a banana and coffee make up breakfast this morning fortifying us before a days of meetings with the Boyebi team. I have the task of reviewing how to properly fill out reports so that we can obtain the quantitative and qualitative data we need in order to determine if their projects are viable and truly helping the vulnerable and poor. Their projects are a tailoring shop, a haircutting place and a community garden. Each of the projects has the focus of providing training and work to people infected and/or affected by AIDS and to those who are raising AIDS orphans. A goal for each of our partners is [...]

13 Jun 2023

How much longer to arrive at Gemena?

I sit at a guesthouse in Zongo, waiting for Mandaba to hire taxis that will take us to Gemena for a week of work with AFCA staff there. This place is familiar to me, having done lots of waiting in the past, even though I have yet to sleep here. It is safe and quiet behind the gate, so I lean back in the wooden chair and settle in for however long this process will take today. Jetlag graciously allowed for three hours of sleep last night, so I plan on doing some snoozing while I wait.Before sleep even thinks of arriving, the gate swings open and two motorcycles slip [...]

12 Jun 2023


We have finally crossed the river to Zongo, DRCongo! It is so, so hot and humid right now and the sun is shining very brightly. You know what is hard to get here? Sunscreen! This girl has hers packed in a box...yes, the box that didn't arrive with the rest of my luggage. How three identical plastic totes got separated between Paris and Bangui, I will never know. But, for the first time in all the years I have been coming to this corner of the world, a piece of luggage has gone missing (hopefully, temporarily). We are sitting at customs by the So go River on the DRCongo side [...]

Go to Top