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I want to thank everyone who helped with the art show!  My friend, Tally, who has to be the best PR person around, St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, especially Tim and Carol and their crew of helpers who made it not only a feast for the eyes, but the stomach as well.  I ate grapes all day long for two days!  The  food and wine…were wonderful.  We thank the clergy for their support, Bishop Greg, Father Craig Lister who came from Sanford, Fathers Bob and Fred.  Note who is wearing the purple in the photos!!  I thank Father John too for a donation.

The best part is the children’s art sold very well!  Thanks to Marilyn Arthur who provided the funds to frame the pictures, as well as Jane Rhodes of the Framer’s Gallery who donated four framings.  Her framer has to be the best around for I brought in artwork on wrinkled, thin, paper which she dry-matted and made perfect.

David Matonya, Moses’ son,  earned enough to pay for his tuition next year at boarding school.  He graduated from Bishop Stanway last year, and has been attending Mvumi Secondary School.   The others’ earnings will go back to them at the school for something fun like a field trip.

It is time to gather up our supplies to take in July.  If anyone has an old duffle bag, or parachute bag they are not using anymore, we would be most grateful.  We have used tennis balls from Laurie Holden (they were a big hit last year with the children), and need new tee shirts.  Some of us get them from donations WUNC, or promos, etc.  They are always welcome.  (I saw a man in Dodoma wearing a “Hooters” tee shirt.  Obviously he wasn’t aware what Hooters is  (or are?).

Again, Asante Sana!  Jessie

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We are coming up on one year of writing our blog. Thank you for reading it, as well as your comments and encouragement. We would welcome your feedback! To do that, click on the “leave a comment” under the title of the blog. We want to know what you like, are the blogs too long or too short, are we giving you the information you are interested in, do you like the photos, videos, links, “whatever” (as the young say these days). Are there things you would like which we don’t do now, or things we do which you feel we could omit. Thank you in advance for helping with this. Tally and Jessie

Today I’ll share my favorite poet with you.  Her  name is Mary Oliver and this is from her collection Thirst.

SUCH GIFTS

Mary Oliver

I go out to the dunes and look

and look and look

into the faces of the flowers;

and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life

bring to me that could exceed

the brief moment?

For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,

not waiting, exactly, just lingering.

Such gifts bestowed,

can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this

come visit.  I live in the house

near the corner, which I have named

Gratitude.

JUHUTUGRADULATION!  No, that is not a Kiswahili word, it is a brand new word created to express my emotions on this most wonderful day.

Jessie and I learned yesterday that we were awarded a Foundation grant in the amount of $21,600 to re-instate the food program for the students at Msalato Theological College (MTC).  It was far more than we could have hoped for and we believe we have the opportunity to reapply each year for 3 years to the tune of $101, 244.    I wish you could see the smile on my face.

But what about JUHUTUGRADULATION?  My first reaction was sheer, over-the-top jubilation.   Jessie and I even called Sandy in the middle of the night in Tanzania figuring it was news worth being  awakened  for. 

MTC, always struggling to make ends meet, had raised the tuition by 10% and had decided it would be necessary to close the kitchen/dining hall beginning this August when the next school year begins.  The students were going to be asked to provide their own food.  Simply put, they just can’t do it.  They have NO money for food and often return from their villages after school break thin as reeds.  Sandy McCann told us that one of their graduates who is back at the college working on a research paper had no food ~ there was none in the dining hall but Emmanuel’s comment was that it really didn’t bother him that much, that he was used to fasting .  Another student told her that the first thing a Tanzanian thinks about when he gets up is:  “What am I going to eat today?”  As Sandy said:  “Certainly God did not expect any of his children to have to go hungry and for the main concern to be:  “What am I going to eat today?”  Suddenly my jubilation turned to humility and  gratitude.   Truly, we are so humble for the opportunity that has been given to us and the G word is written all over my face.  Jubilation, humility, gratitude.  As soon as the funds are released Moses can order rice, maize and millet while the prices are lower than they will be after the harvest season.   Meat, vegetables and fruit will be purchased on a weekly basis.  This grant money will feed 68 students 3 meals a day for a whole year and knowing the Tanzanian’s they might have some left over for next year.  Isn’t this AMAZING news?

Cheers,

Tally

Less  you think art shows just happen, think again.  First and foremost one needs a creator, in this case Jessie the artist.  This artist also knows how to frame, put  hanging wires on the backs of the paintings and do the paperwork regarding size, pricing, etc.  That part is hard work ~ this artist, Jessie Mackay would rather paint and leave the rest to people like me.  But not just me.  Friends are worth more than their weight in gold.  Take for instance Carol and Tim Burgess and Liz and Vic Szalankawitz.  With their large vans and Jessie’s loaded to the hilt with brilliant canvasses we made a caravan from Pinehurst to Seven Lakes yesterday.  Just a word or two about Carol and Tim.  When Jessie had difficulty getting a venue for her benefit show 2 years ago, Carol Burgess along with the vicar Bob Brown stepped right up to the plate and said they would love to host it.   St. Mary Magdalene’s is a small mission church and we dubbed it:  “The Little Church that Would.”   They have a wonderful way of displaying the paintings and they go all out with wine and cheese, fruit, cookies, brownies, nuts ~ the whole 9-yards.    Big is not always best.  Great things can be done by a few.  Remember the old saying:  “The best things come in small packages.”  Tim is a treasure making tags with the name and price of each painting.  He figures the tax too.  Halleluia!  Liz who once owned a gallery has an eye for what should go where which she attended to as Vic and I removed staples from the back of frames!  All had something to offer.   All had fun.

The paintings are to be hung today.  For now they are grouped on the floor, clustered if you will by location:  Africa, Provence, England, Isle of Skye and myriad others.  Revealing my tender heart I will admit to having tears in my eyes as I removed the protective padding on the frame’s corners and lovingly dusted each frame.  I had watched Jessie paint some of them or had seen the finished or unfinished product the next day or so.  I had sat on her living room floor cataloging them for here and New York, so you might say I know the paintings as I would “know”  Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.   Seeing them all together in a gallery setting was like seeing them for the first time and I felt a sense of honor and magic to be there in that place with all of that beauty surrounding me.   I looked closely at brush strokes here and brush strokes there and I wanted to say a benediction over each painting and bless them on their way to someone’s home and  heart.    Have you ever thought of art as holy or sacred?  I think it is because it is the inner and outer eye of a creator, in this case one who never had a lesson.  

Enjoy the show.   Tally

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