Toby's Blog

Google maps - and a cloud

I always like that song... But the clouds got in the way... and right now I thought about it as I was trying to do a link to show a possible granter-person the actual site with an email link.  The cloud did indeed spoil the shot and this picture must be from September 2013 as the site looks a lot different today, but just in case you are in the area, flying by, please take a snap for me!

New Paint... on a wall

Okay, this blog will contain quite a few 'first' things.  Let me tell you how excited I was with the first bit of paint.  The room is... yellow. The root of Shoe4Africa is yellow, not all yellow but with hints of it.  An off-white wall will be another color in there.  The idea is to create a "hotel" like look to the kid's hospital - a warm, inviting and fun environment.  The story of Shoe4Africa yellow came years ago, following the 2003 NYC marathon.  But that is another story.  So here it is.. the first room with paint!

Marathon Fever... Revisited

I am not a fan, I don't follow a team, don't watch sports, don't own a TV and rarely attend an event, even if I get tickets (as I used to often).  My truth is I am more bothered with trying to sort out doing what I want to do...  However one of the good things with spending too much time doing something is you make a lot of friends and meet a lot of good people.

In 2007 or 2008, or could have been 2006, but around that time I was having dinner in Iten when a lone foreign runner came to the dining room.  Very friendly with a London accent.  I thought little of it but the next morning this runner joined us for a training run.  There was about ten of us, with most Dutch, and a couple of others who I have forgot.  But after ten km all the runners had dropped off the pack.  We were running a loop called 'the pound' in Iten and I think (if I trust others) it is 14.2km and very hilly.  This new runner was very easy and I thought by looking at his running form he was, what the books say, 'a born runner' - so smooth.

I got to know the guy, called Mo, and he has been a regular visitor to Iten ever since (in fact he's there right now and at my last evening he and Alberto, his coach, were talking in a distinctly 'Mo-AlbertO' way - Mo, about life and books, and Alberto about running.  I have a good feeling about London.  I've quite a few friends running who have all been in the Shoe4Africa story and two of the favorites for the race, Wilson Kipsang & Mo Farah, are both doing good things apart from their 'running'.  Wilson who has volunteered and helped at S4A races is fund raising to build a church near where he lives in Iten, and Mo has the Mo Farah Foundation that is doing good things in East Africa - in fact only this week there was a story in the Daily Nation about his giving back to the less fortunate.  So I guess, next Sunday, I will be fan!  Furthermore the First Lady of Kenya is running for charity - she is using her name to ask companies to donate to the cause of Mobile Clinics and it is really working with a lot of donations - good for her!

I guess the lesson here is if you have a 'name' then use it!  Why not?

Today, the first window

04/03 Headcount -- at the hospital site alone, with construction, we have 70-workers. I know because I have just had them all come for a soda at the site office. I have been blessed that we have a really hard working team of humble people who come early in the morning and work all day long, often in the hot sun. I am truly honored to be a part of this project. I still can't believe in August we were ground breaking and laying a foundation stone, yet today I was putting the very first aluminum window in an actual wooden frame! The third floor is being constructed.

Doors door

Doors door doors... on site today a door - at the hospital looking at each doorway and checking what the type should be - double swing, single swing, handicap friendly, solid state, semi-solid, wards need doors?  Checking the Building Quantity.  We went through the whole building, even looking at the front door.  Also security, angles, openings, mass of people at what time... and then we have hinges, double hinges, floor hinges and the more.

Opening which direction?  Inward, then if a person gets stuck inside?  Should it be double swing?  Which weakens the strength of the door.  Looking at other hospitals; what works for them.  Is a curtain better than a door for a ward?  Is a door shut, and for the X-Ray room we need that metal door.  Also what doors need a glass partition?

Now, let's look at the original plan and compare what we had at first.  Does it add up?  Is there a cost saving?  Okay, now we have a few different views, have to make an executive decision...

It took quite some time I can tell you.  Plus we had a few other things to do, and frames - they are now coming into place.  At the site - looking amazing!

Let's not talk about pricing the place too.... instead I am looking at Door stays, and I am dreaming of electric sensor glass doors!

Sunday Afternoon March 2014

Big thanks!! I’ve got shoes sent from… Doug Pierson, Bellevue WA, Michael & Rhea Wisherop, Alameda, CA, Cathal Logue, Derry, Ireland, Ulli Billil, Berlin, GER, Yasuko-Shimada, Tokyo, Japan,

Susan Lee Sanders, Queens, NYC, No names I can read (too many), one from Minden NY, and from Holze, WDC 20008, we have Monica. Harwell, Jersey City NJ, Sebastian Bialy, Polska/Poland, S. Brouwer, DK Wageningen, The Netherlands, RJ Van Fossen, Bedminster NJ, J. Johnson, St. Pete’s FL, Desiree Geneske, APO, AE 09128, and Manchester Trading LLC, Norwalk. And H. Gage, of HP 14.

Shoes from Poland - thanks Sebastian Bialy & friends

Shoe sorting—What I do when I arrive in Kenya is go to the store room and I sort through all the boxes of shoes and rip off the labels. It has taken the last three hours in a dusty, dirty room.   I then go to facebook & google  and try and find these people so I can message to thank them.  I then box the shoes and bag them for distribution.  This is a core of S4A and I thank you – all people who have ever sent a shoe!  The picture below you can see a RED arrow and that is someone whose name I can’t read.  They live at #32 (blank) street in New Zealand- whoever you are – thanks!

Doing Shoe4Africa work is 100 different jobs.  Tomorrow I will be back on the building site maybe with a plasterboard, I'm reading a White House Power Africa paper, I'm sending a grant letter to Toyota Kenya, I am chasing local politicians for tax, the day after I could be hunting funds at a meeting drinking coffee.  Every single moment is looking for leads and working on them.  This is my life, for all time that I remember...

Since starting S4A so many people tell me I am lucky, I tell them the Gary Player quote, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”  If you do not do anything then nothing happens.

A team of staff

If you look on the Learn About Us page you will see a new addition - working to implement a paid staff.  Shoe4Africa started out, in 1995, as a no-name small project.  In the year 2000 "it" got a name due to the Zanzibar incident.  Things picked up but it was still shoes.  In 2005 the charity was now officially a 501 C3 US recognized charity.  A board started in 2006.  In 2008 we committed to constructing a hospital and stated no paid staff till the funds were in the bank for this.  We started to also build schools around this time.  The charity has grown.  We have now gone over the amount of funds we committed to building this hospital in Africa and know to go forward it is wise to make the Org. more secure and strong that a staff is imperative.

The truth of the matter is the hospital will always cost more as we upgrade, build more, go on to phase two, or do as one University is asking and add an Oncology ward.  We will always be committed to this project.

Plus, read the trend [LINK]

We know we have a great 'project' with Shoe4Africa and we don't want a road accident (as with October 2013) to stop us in our tracks.  PS:  Two people for the list of jobs we have, and the places we plan to go is still tiny!  But here we go:

On our website


Chelimo Saina - Director of Operations.   Toby Tanser - CEO


After 19-years the decision was made to upgrade Shoe4Africa.  Toby Tanser had been working in an unpaid capacity that was both good and bad.  Many donors liked the no-pay/salaries 100% to your cause, yet others pointed out that this plan had obvious limits and many flaws.  After reaching the MOU amount to build a children's hospital the charity will now pay one staff member effective of March 2014.  Chelimo & Toby share the roles and believe, as two, they can make much more impact to those they serve.


Thanks to Team U YALE

Stephanie Wisowaty, Michaella Baker, Ian Spear, Mitchell, Joe, Will, Paul, Charlie.... I need a complete list.  Hoping to find them all tomorrow.  I am going to Central Park to see the first running event in ages - a Half Marathon where the good Team U chapter have raised about $10,000 that will go ALL to Shoe4Africa's construction of East Africa's first ever public children's hospital.  I actually walked ten miles today (five miles to midtown then back home) so I am feeling like a trip out to the running capital of the world will be good, and the fact that I am seeing all my team is even better.

I get really honoured when people I have never met before help this journey... so special.  In fact I must take my camera and I do plan on updating this blog with actual pictures.  Also we have a Shoe4Africa Runner's Team facebook page along with the Shoe4Africa page as I intend to start building up for the November marathon... Not forgetting the Shoe4Africa September 5k (9/10/14)

Check in, soon!  But Yale-rs, thank U!

Update - finishing shot!  Thanks to Charlie Fortin for cheering, helping & being a Team U force

Happy New Year

The New Year started pretty crazy.  I was running round like I usually do in Kenya - going over rough roads, through the hot sun, three hours to a meeting, talking, coming back, lunch to another meeting.. walking etc... all this was going well - In one day I attended three weddings.  A lot of community work that is why shoe4africa can work in this community, but also all the other jobs that take hours per day, too much, then on Jan 2nd I suddenly saw black, short of breath the eyes go down and my hands swelled up.  I had bad warning signs.  I went out for fresh air, tried to start again (was in the middle of a meeting) then boom my legs started to buckle, I couldn't stand.  I was actually in Wilson Kipsang's hotel at this stage (having travelled 400-meters from Pieter & Lornah's).

So I have been not moving around so much.  Two more days in bed but emailing, phoning (till my phone broke), and computer world.  Yesterday I did get to the hospital as I had a finance meeting to sort out, and also meet the head of the bank I use that is giving me a little grief.  When I got there and walked through the corridors people kept on coming up to me "You look so sick" -- "You must see a doctor" -- I was telling them actually I am here for work, not as a patient.  Unfortunately they were telling others and by the time I had reached the third floor I had a troop of people now coming to 'look' at me from the word of the people I had just met.  Nothing better than about sixty people telling you how terrible and ill you look.  plus this was not my first visit since the accident, anyway, enough...

The good news is the problems, small issues, are all sorted, the hospital construction is actually on time and schedule.  The things are going well, and we are ahead of progress.  Shocking.  It really looks amazing.  In two days I have the next 'big' meeting where many of the interior products are picked - I have to review;

a. Plumbing fittings
b. Lighting
c. Colour Scheme
d. Floor finishes
e. Woodwork fittings in offices, records, pharmacy, teaching rooms
f. Colour of roofing

Dec 20th 2013

To date I am struggling with updates, so sorry.  Another reason why Shoe4Africa needs to buck up for 2014.  In fact the newsletter is also broken, so that is another things that needs to be fixed - I don't want to clutter people's mailboxes.  I am at the MTRH, 200-meters away from the site of the hospital.  We just had an all morning meeting with the project manager, and the contractors, plus the special projects peeps who make sure all the cash transactions are done correctly.  This is a journey that started in 2008 remember - we have an amazing amount of loyalty and good will and the goodness of doing a Build to Transfer deal is we are making great progress, keeping everything watertight and are really on target to do this amazing project.

Can you believe, another floor will be added very soon and by March the roof will be there!  All things are progressing, as I wrote, nicely.

Syndicate content