A young crocheter with zen-like focus

I like to plan ahead and I try to be prepared. For this trip, I got a netbook so I could blog, and I put Ubuntu (the Linux operating system) on it so it would be more secure and efficient. I wrestled a little with installing wireless drivers so I could use it with the hotel wireless. We arrive in Moshi, and the wireless is out. The guy who usually fixes the wireless is out of the country. Hakuna shida, I’ll use the cellular modem. The modem that doesn’t seem to like Ubuntu, by the way. Oops! I’d like to go online to see how I can split my drive and re-install Windows, but. . . .

I planned to teach crochet to about twelve orphaned children at Msamaria (Samaritan) in Moshi, Tanzania. My lovely friends donated enough hooks, books, and yarn for each kid to be able to make a hat or scarf. I have even discovered that some of my GPA participants are fellow hookers and could help me if the schedule allows.

When we arrived, I discovered that there’s another orphanage/school at the Center for Women and Children Development (CWCD) where I can teach crochet near Arusha. There’s way more than twelve girls, but I could split the yarn and loose patterns in two groups and the children could share. If a 50-person class can share one textbook, these kids could also share a few hooks and patterns.

We got to Moshi to find that most of the kids at Msamaria had gone home to relatives for the school break. No crochet class there. But then there’s Upendo, an orphanage in Moshi mostly for babies that also has about 6 older kids.

We got to Upendo to find that the kids were all either too young or too handicapped to safely crochet. Hakuna matata. I just consolidated the yarn and patterns together as before and cross my fingers for Arusha.

On the way to Arusha last Saturday, we decided that perhaps we should save some crochet stuff for the Msamaria girls after all. And once we got to Arusha, how about teaching 2nd graders?

I had just enough hooks for the lovely 2nd graders in Arusha. Dr. Moshi and I both learned some needlework around that age, but not in one hour. With the help of Sgt. Haynes, a couple of hook-savvy local teachers, and lots of enthusiasm on the part of the kids, we made some progress. My mini-stitchers worked very hard and were so proud of their little chains! I may even be recruiting new Crochet Dudes (look out, Drew)! We didn’t have time (or patience) to work up to granny squares, but Janet and some of the other teachers there can crochet very well, so I know the project will at least be sustainable. And the kids were SO excited about crochet. They begged to take their hooks and yarn home (they all live locally with foster families), but I might be coming back in a couple weeks to give the 7th graders a shot, so the hooks have to remain communal.

Just roll with it. Make a plan, but keep in mind that you’ll probably have to resort to Plan B (C, D, . . ., W).

Teaching the next generation of crocheters