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Dar Es Salaam: Harbor Of Peace

Dar Es Salaam - Harbor Of Peace

Day 2 on Tanzania Trek:

After a sleepless night suffering from too much excitement, fear or jetlag, I headed down to the Spa for a complete body rub down. Something I have needed for some time. I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, not taking care of myself, and doing so much for others, I forgot about Me.

When I finally woke up with the sound of my wake-up call, I looked out over the beautifully sun drenched harbor, Dar Es Salaam. It means ‘Harbor Of Peace’ in Arabic and it’s located in the largest port of East Africa. The official languages spoken in Tanzania are Swahilli and English – something my daughter reminded me of when I left! Watching the ships at port, crains swooping their cargo up and down, it’s fascinating! All the while in my side vision, I watch suited Security guards up and down the pathways of the hotel.

Hmmmmm…that’s strange…there was one on our floor when I walked to my room last night as well as when I went to the Spa this morning. In fact, they are everywhere. So my plan for today is to rest and relax, no pressure to go sightseeing. Although some might think I am fearless, on the contrary, when it comes to developing worlds I take my safety incredibly serious.

We are venturing out to Morogoro with the Room To Read team tomorrow and eventually heading to Zanzibar at week’s end. We’ll take a tour of some of the area schools around Turiani we have funded and then take a few drives to see the animals in Mikumi National Park. Mount Kilamanjaro is close by and I wish I could get a glimpse of it, that would be a real treat!

I have been to Africa 2 other times: South Africa and Zimbabwe. I just love watching animals in their natural environment, its very calming and Zen. I love spotting the antelopes hiding in the deep brush and especially looking for lions! Lions can be so brazen sometimes they’ll come so close you could pet them from the side of the truck! Whilst in South Africa, the first time I went to Africa, and ever saw a Leopard was at 3am some 25 feet hovering over our truck in a tree!

That’s when the real African trek begins!

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My Trek To Our New School In Tanzania For Room To Read

It's that dark!!!

Don’t you appreciate modern technology these days? Although I was in Spain yesterday, I am now in Tanzania on my way to a school my husband and I funded to build through the Room To Read (RTR) organization. This organization is so fabulous – they build schools and libraries for girls in developing Countries! Something I am certain Malala Yousafzai would be happy to hear!

I blogged from Spain yesterday and now I am blogging from Africa – just outstanding!

It’s been an interesting trek so far. Although we were both invited to come check things out, my husband couldn’t make it, so I jumped on a plane myself and landed about 6 hours ago! I am really excited about seeing the school and meeting some of the students. And it’s already 5:00 am, I am either jet lagged or so hyped up, I cannot sleep!

I’ll start by describing the scene at the airport and our way to the hotel. I landed around 8:00 pm at The Kilamanjaro International Airport in Karibu, Tanzania. It was crowded, however, controlled, no real sign of chaos. I was told to bring loads of small American Dollar bills for ‘tipping’ and people here prefer dollars. My wallet was bulging open especially when I had to pull out $100 for my Visa.

Before too long, I walked out to find not just 1, but 2 signs with my name on it, and instantly my heart sank. There was a misunderstanding with RTR and my husband’s secretary who had also made arrangements for me to be picked up from the airport to bring me safely to the hotel. It creeped me out, and frankly, really upset me as 3 men were haggling over me and my suitcase was being rolled off into a very dark, quiet parking lot. I explained to the other drivers that I was best suited to go with the hotels’ transportation and left, the man with the uniform looked a bit safer and more reliable. I have 3 kids I need to get home to too!

As we drove in complete silence towards the hotel, the moon was lying low in the dark sky, a thin sliver making it hard to make out what I was looking at out the window. It is very dark in Africa. I watched the dark streets filled with people and dark buildings. Residential and Commercial ones, where the lights were al off. The people, you could spot them walking alongside the roads, everywhere. At first I thought they were random bushes or strange shadows, but as the driver approached them the headlights would reveal their position. We’d drive by pods of motorcyclists, youths getting together, and then street light vendors. It was absolutely surreal and seemed so normal. Dust wafting upwards as we drove by, headlights cloudy, then lots of beeping.

The airport is based in a very shady part of town, at least somewhere I did not want to be at that hour.  And of course, the further we drove away, the better things got and lights would start to appear in buildings that were closed for the evening.

We arrived at the hotel, Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, a good 45 minutes later to come to a stop at a Security point. I felt like I was back in East Berlin when I was an exchange student with Youth For Understanding. The group of American kids I went to Germany with gathered for a group tour to Berlin. We were to visit East Berlin and took a bus to Check Point Charlie. Back then the Officer grabbed his long mirrored security stick and began to search the underbelly of the bus as the RangeRover was being inspected then. There was a heavy drop gate in front and other security officers staring at me. Seriously scary!

I got to my room, plopped down to call my family. My middle child was having a really hard time with me leaving. She got mad at me because she walked in on me watching one of my favorite scary movies – Aliens – and is now experiencing nightmares.

The Malarone (Malaria pills) do a number on my stomach, it’s been bloated all day and keeps hunger at bay. Some say that’s a good thing, but writing in discomfort is not cool. Don’t ask, cuz I won’t tell.

This was my first day on the trek to see our new school. This trip is a once of a life time opportunity and something I will cherish forever! I am signing off for now!

 

 

 

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The Best Of The Gold Coast Award – WE WON!!!!!!

The Best of The Gold Coast in Arts& Crafts!

Holy Moly! We were nominated as The Pink Pom-Pom Project (PPPP) for The Best Of The Gold Coast Awards 2013 and WE WON in the Arts & Crafts category! This is for the entire state of Connecticut!!!!

We have had a very busy year this first year, I might add, teaching Cancer survivors from The CT Challenge’s Cancer Survivorship Center how to knit and crochet through our Stitch&Bitch sessions (click here to watch video) on Mondays and Thursdays. They are also one of many groups helping us create the V.O.T.Y. quilts which are trophies given to outstanding Volunteers in local cancer support centers. It stands for Volunteer of the Year.

Shortly after we opened in October 2012 we started working with The Girl Scouts of CT, ages 7 – 13 years, teaching the Troops how to make Lavendar Sachets for cancer victims. This has become our staple craft for everyone to learn.  We educate children about the importance of eating right and how to use Lavender as a natural soother. We taught over 100 Girl Scouts, who then in return earned their PPPP Badges. We have made and donated well over 300 sachets to local hospitals and cancer support centers!

In March of this year, we started working with inner-city youth from The Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport teaching the importance of arts & crafts as a healthy and positive outlet for emotional relief. 80 children, ages 7 – 13 years, and counselors were bussed in to experience The PPPP space. It was a huge compliment, let alone, celebration of creativity and the children just loved coming!

Coming in September, we will be taking on The McGivney Community Center‘s children as well, the sister center of The Cardinal Shehan Center, with an updated program involving arts & crafts, creative writing, and improvisational theatre. We will also be working on site with The Child & Family Guidance Center of Bridgeport, we are really looking forward to meeting their families in need!

Thank you Moffley Media for recognizing our little organization! This award means everything to us and shows that our hard work has not only paid off, but proved we are very much needed in the community! We plan to have an even better year starting in September by introducing more creative classes for children and mom’s at a little square.

On October 5th, we are hosting the very first ever Wiggle & Giggle Fundraising event at St Anthony’s of Padua church. Proceeds will go to support The PPPP and The CT Challenge’s Cancer Survivorship Center. It’s a Hoop-A-Thon of sorts with activities, food and fun for the whole family to enjoy! October 10th we are giving our very first VOTY quilt to the CT Challenge’s first outstanding volunteer.

Please spread the good word about our movement – it means so much to those who are already involved with The Pink Pom-Pom Project!

And remember to shop a little square, monies earned goes directly to support and provide FREE crafting materials and equipment for all of the organizations we are working with mentioned above.

Look at this way, it’s a modern version of the Charity Shop down the street. We just sell modern stuff for a cause!

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And the Winner Is….

Raffle Prize: Badgley Mishka Set

Once in a while, we are the lucky ones to fabulous donations that are to be auctioned or raffled off to help The Pink Pom-Pom Project. A dear friend of mine, Lisa Bytner, donated a beautiful necklace and matching earring set from Badgley Mishka. We sold raffled tickets in May and early June and finally pulled a winner. And the winner is: Jennifer Hinkle! A local Fairfield lady who is very active in the community. She has her hands in so many cookie pots, it’s almost impossible to keep up with her!

Congratulations Jen! Thank you for your support!

 

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Los Milagros Santos – Commission Possible for CT Challenge/The Cancer Survivorship Center

 

 

Window at Max's Art Store in Westport, CT - we are on the left!

Well, I never thought I may even be the first Commission Possible’ from The Pink Pom-Pom Project – but I am!!!!

Two years ago, when we were putting The Pink Pom-Pom Project (PPPP) together in London, Shelton, my partner in crime at the time, and I tried out many fun and new interactive ideas to establish programs within The PPPP. Out of over 20 ideas, only 4 (now 5) stuck and grew. They are as follows:

Stitch&Bitch Newcomer!

1 – Stitch&Bitch (S&B): Events sponsored by The PPPP which are Needlework sessions including needlework projects, cancer survivors, friends, family and The PPPP always provides a Coach to assist in needlework issues or even to teach Newcomers how to knit, crochet, sew, etc…From these sessions, we ask our guests, many from The CT Challenge Cancer Survivorship Center in Southport, CT, to provide at least one handmade ‘square’ whether it’s knitted, crocheted, or even 4 fabric squares together for our next program called…

First VOTY Winner - Carol from The Macmillan Cancer Support Center, London

2 – The V. O. T. Y. Quilt: VOTY stands for Volunteer Of The Year. Handmade or hand sewn squares are made by our S&B guests; Girl Scout Troops ages 6 to 12 years; The Cardinal Shehan Center inner-city youth children ages 5 to 13 years; and our staff. They are then put together to make a quilt. The quilt is then professionally finished, cleaned, wrapped and given to a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ from one of the organizations we are involved with.  Our first ever VOTY Quilt will be donated to the CT Challenge/Cancer Survivorship Center in Southport, CT. Their Program Director, Tamara Deyle, will discuss with staff and Heads who is worthy of this fabulous gift. It’s our of giving back to the Community in a positive way!

The PPPP Party Boxes at Osborn Hill School

3 – The Pink Pom-Pom Project Party Boxes (P5): These are crafting boxes for off-site events. Because we are limited in space within a little square store and the crafting area – we can only seat up yo 14 kids/10 adults – for any group(s) over those numbers, we must go to them. One craft goes back to The PPPP and two stay with each child.

 

GS Patches and Cookies by Hinkle's Twinkles

4 – GS Patch: We discovered quickly how much kids love to come to The PPPP – especially the Girl Scouts of Connecticut – and craft from scratch creating two of our most popular crafts: Lavender Sachets and Quilting Squares. The idea is each child attending the events gets to learn a new craft, i.e. The Lavender Sachet, and make at least one for a cancer survivor and one for themselves. They then get a whole different craft, i.e. Glitterbug frames, for themselves to take home too. Because we have had so many Girl Scouts crafting in the store, we decided to make a PPPP patch for their own sashes. It is our way of saying thank you and recognizing their efforts within the community.

Los Milagros Santos

And 5 – Commission Possible: This is one of my favorites! This is where The PPPP really gets creative and searches out to commission a local artist, jeweler, crafter (you name it, we’ll ask!) for a special piece to be donated for fundraising purposes. It may be one exclusive item or 1000, anything to help make money and awareness! We pay for the art and donate it through donations and monies earned through a little square store and website.

So, the piece of art I donated is called ‘Los Milagros Santos’ and is made from a multitude of materials such as mirrored glass tiles, silk fabric, metals, paint, and wood. Allproceeds go directly to support The CT Challenge/Cancer Survivorship Center in Southport, CT. The price is $495.00 and can be seen in the window at Max’s Art Store at 68 Post Road East, Westport, CT.

We are forever grateful for everyone involved with The Pink Pom-Pom Project and cannot wait to spread the good word and deeds! Please support us and the other organizations we work with, they are follows:

CT Challenge Cancer Survivorship Center, Southport CT: http://www.ctchallenge.org

The Cardinal Shehan Center, Bridgeport, CT: http://www.shehancenter.org

The Girl Scouts of Connecticut: http://www.gsofct.org 

LIKE us on Facebook – click HERE and tell your friends about us!

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Welcome To The Glitter Hour – Check Us Out!

CLICK ON PHOTO TO PLAY

Hi everyone – look at our latest marketing video – The Glitter Hour starring our fabulous crafters at The Pink Pom-Pom Project! Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO PLAY

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It’s Sewing Cool Summer Camp at a little square!

If you have a child who wants to learn how to sew, CALL NOW or BOOK ONLINE! Located in Fairfield, CT, we have sewing camp for $150 – it’s the deal of the summer!

Dates are June 24-28; July 8-12; July 15-19; July 22-26; August 5-9; and August 12-16.

Store: 203-955-1099 or Cell: 203-707-7497

CLICK HERE to secure a spot!

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a little square Is Hosting Women’s Business Development Council May 6th!

 

On May 6th, a little square will be hosting a shopping event for The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) in Fairfield, CT. There will be a lovely spread of fabulous nibbles, wine, and shopping for children’s clothing, accessories, and toys.

AND we are introducing 2 new collections to our store for WOMEN:

Sequins Jewelry Collection: fantastic bangles, rings, earrings and necklaces prices starting at $38.00 for fabulous bangles!!!! Sequin designs custom jewelry for Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue – we have them at our store exclusively!!!!

Bella-Tu – fabulously exquisite Khaftans, hand beaded and jeweled from India. We are carrying casual and dressy tunics. Long lasting fashion that just doesn’t quit!

We encourage everyone to come and enjoy themselves in our colorful seating area too!

a little square is located at 1981 Post Road, back entrance, plenty of parking! Call for more information at 203-955-1099.

Click link below for further details:

FREE for WBDC Members – $10.00 for Non-Members.

 

 

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CBS Sports News Features The Remarkable Jeff Keith, The CT Challenge & The Much Needed Cancer Survivorship Center

Jeff Keith, Founder, CT Challenge & The Cancer Survivorship Center in Southport, CT

Saturday, April 6th, is a very special day. It’s a very special day not only to Me and every cancer survivor in CT, but to Jeff Keith as well, one of the Founder’s of The CT Challenge and the brains behind The Cancer Survivorship Center located in Southport, CT. April 6th is the day of International recognition for his very own life-long project: The CT Challenge and The Cancer Survivorship Center in Southport, CT.

Jeff Keith - College Lacrosse

CBS Sports, out of New York City, came to Southport 2 weeks ago and filmed Jeff’s remarkable story of survival, inspiration and the ability to overcome the toughest of disabilities where cancer consumed not only a limb but a professional career in sports causing what many would have considered as a life debilitating event.

Apart from providing after cancer care for survivors, Jeff’s view is that a positive lifestyle for those not afflicted with cancer will lead to a fulfilling life and therefor establishing preventative care. He sincerely believes that it’s not just the prevention of cancer, it’s just all around good health and wants everyone in and out of his facility to get that message!

Providing ‘After Cancer’ care, I like to refer to it because ‘post’ doesn’t describe the many essential informational classes, athletic activities and events, even nutritional and medical advice The Cancer Survivorship Center offers AFTER a patient undergoes Cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Think of this way: it’s an afterlife for cancer survivors facility to start emotional and physical empowerment, the know-how to start afresh and take control of your life again!

Having lived through the harsh, long, lonely treatments myself, most cancer patients would agree that when treatments finish, we all experience this so-called ‘Jumping Off The Cliff’ emotional bungee jump! Some of us even contemplate more Chemo – crazy thought, right? – to calm our nerves, making sure the drugs have killed off every single, floating cancer cell in our bodies and then some! But that’s not a wise plan for survival, The Cancer Survivorship Center gives everyone the courage to cut the chord and move on!

CLICK HERECT CHALLENGE & THE CANCER SURVIVORSHIP CENTER to check out the many classes they offer such as Yoga, Pilates, Nutrition, and even Personal Training by Trainers specifically trained for surgical and medical treatment recovery.

And last but not least, a very special Thank You to his life partner and wife, Karin, his foundation and faith; his partner and Co-Founder Bob Mazzone; Tamara Deyle, Program Director, Center for Survivorship; Julia Pemberton, Director, Communication & Public Affairs;  Sharon Taymor, Director, Survivorship Network & Outreach; Kate Lieder,  Psychosocial Services Consultant; Lee Crouch, Director of Development; Kate Banick, Program Associate; and the many other athletic, nutritional and medical staffers! This remarkable bunch should be applauded for their continuous efforts to bring light and recognistion to this great Center and cause!

Please watch and support this fantastic piece and support the CT Challenge and The Cancer Support Center by either riding in the CT Challenge Bike ride in July or donating directly to the Center! For donations, call Lee Crouch at 203-292-8722. Tell her ‘Alex’ sent you! $10-$10,000 will do anyone and everyone good! Every little bit counts!

CLICK HERE: CBS / CT CHALLENGE / JEFF KEITH

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Move Over KFC! This Junk Foodie Loves Kitchen Meets Girl & The Black Peppercorn

Pina Colada Ice Box Pie by Kitchen Meets Girl

Once in a while there comes a time where you have to put the carrots and celery down and enjoy some of life’s little culinary mishaps called Junk Food. When I get into this mode, this ‘Foodie’ becomes the ‘Junk Foodie’. Understandably, right?

I finally had reconstructive surgery this morning to fix my ‘botched’ Bi-Lateral Double Mastectomy I had way back in September 2011 in London, UK. As some women know and unfortunately may still be living with, living with a scarred chest can be off putting to say the least and certainly a testament to your will, courage and (in)securities. I was okay with it for a while, but Summer got to me last year and I was for damn sure not about to let another one get away from me – well, from my kids, because they suffer the most when Mommy won’t go in the water!

Pina Colada Ice Box Pie by Kitchen Meets Girl

Anywho, I have been Ordered To Bed after surgery for some much needed R & R. Well, when I am here, one of my favorite things to do is surf Pinterest. What a fantastic Social Media Hound/Crafter’s dream/Foodies Fantasty website it is! Well, luck would have it, this Junk Foodie stumbled upon a Pinterest Pin called Pina Colada Ice Box Pie this very early afternoon….mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Lucky YOU!

Now I have been ordered to ask someone to even pick up my spoons to feed me in fear of bursting my brand new set of Silicone Implants under my pectoral muscles. Picking up a spoon is like riding a bike for 3 hours – it hurts! Well, consider that action then consider mixing a bowl full of that deliciousness I am about to reveal – Pina Colada Ice Box Pie!

Cream Cheese Thin Mints

And did you get a chance to support your local Girl Scout?Here is the ultimate in Thin Mint recipes: Cream Cheese Thin Mints – did you ever think it would reach this level of greatness??????!!!! Click here for Cream Cheese Thin Mints Recipe.

Goto Kitchen Meets Girl for more fabulous recipes!

Now, I seemed to have bought the cart before the horse, and mentioned desert before dinner! Within the same search on Pinterest, I stumbled upon another culinary novice called The Black Peppercorn. This is comfort food for my eyes and then my tummy – are you kidding me???!!!!!

Someone pinned….Doritos Crusted Chicken Fingers! I don’t know who’s going to be more excited – Me or My Kids?!

Black Peppercorn Jalapena Popper Dip

And for any Domestically Hosted Sporting Event or even just for Mom & Dad, try his Roasted Jalapena Popper Dip! S-H-I-T! Yes, I said IT! Holy Moly! Now wash that baby back with a six pack of your finest Lager! Hey, there’s a party, Jack! as Si from Duck Dynasty would say!

Hey, Jack, now that's a party!

DISCLAIMER: We at The Pink Pom-Pom Project ONLY suggest overstepping your boundaries once in while, we do not suggest this be an every day occurrence!

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