toward the ledge:

changing the world thru loving and serving others. without agenda


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half-way point. already?

jambo rafikis!

it has been a busy week. a busy one point five months, for that matter. i am at the half-way point of my anticipated time here in africa already. in some ways, i feel as if i’ve been here forever. and in others, time has flown by so rapidly. i have much work to do yet so i’m hoping that the last one point five months doesn’t go by so rapidly.

will i stay longer? honestly i do not know. part of me clearly sees the possibility…the potentiality of that. to complete what i wish to do. because living off the clock and calendar is a free-ing experience and lets your heart and spirit wander and explore. because the beauty of the land, the love of the people, the connections are strong. i realize that many, perhaps most of you believe that i’m staying. but since at this point i really don’t know, i’m choosing to live in the now moment and when i know, i will know. there is a point of reality – i have no employment and will need income at some point. there are those that i miss and wish to see and talk to. it’s no longer about jonesing for ice, A/C, clean feet, etc. those things no longer factor in. i even have become fond of walking everywhere! but i promise this. you’ll be the first to know when i figure it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

here’s highlights of this last week….

SAFARI: beginning with this amazing adventure. if you are on fb with me, you have already seen the photos from each day, which was a different national park. i cannot express fully enough how precious and wonderful this was. the beauty of the land and the animals, being able to see them live and personal in their own element, hours in the safari jeep with the wind blowing in the face (along with the dust lol), the fresh air, organic-ness of nature. i never dreamed or considered that one day i would experience this and it was hands down the best thing ever. coming back the last evening, with the windows open in the jeep, appreciating mt kilimanjaro, singing along to mari’s ipod, i realized that in that moment of time, i was completely relaxed, content, happy. if you are not on fb, and you would like to see the photos, here are public links to my albums (hope this works)

Safari Day One: Lake Manyara (a great first day!)

Safari Day Two: Ngorogoro (the most fantastic place ever!)

Safari Day Three: Tarangire

FAREWELL! fond farewells to our scandinavian friends from norway and sweden (mari, madeleine, sara, monessa); in a hostel setting, we become like family in a short period of time. we have laughed many times about how we fall silent at meal times, passing food, the sound of knives and forks clinking on the plate demonstrating that at the end of the day, we are hungry, and serious about eating. evenings in common area, working on laptops, laughing about the day’s events, sitting outside with a beer. weekend walks to town, lunch, shopping at the market place. however, the end of may will start the busy season here and olga and i will be joined by volunteers from ireland, germany, spain.

GOAT/MBUZI ANYONE? monday before we departed for safari, 25 april (i am picking up the african and european way of dates), was a two goat day. our primary focus was to visit njia panda village again, to help prepare food, serve, whatever was needed for the village children (120 or so) that rarely have meals to eat. but..first johnson had the responsibility of killing a donated goat at msamaria, so this was the first goat slaughter several of us had experienced. hunters and livestock farmers likely would have no issue. this is meat for the children to get much needed protein. but seeing the grisly details…i’m happy that i didn’t have to participate (i did take pictures, is that bad? ๐Ÿ˜‰

at njia panda, we shared in tasks of cutting up onions, cabbage, etc. oh, and the meat of the day? goat (mbuzi). just coming from the killing, it did take a bit of mind over matter to eat the meat. but it was a good meal and a great day. played and loved on the kids. danced with them to african music. shared blessings said by Pastor before we all departed. these children are often left alone when parent(s) must leave the home for various reasons. often they have no food for days. the surrounding country side is gorgeous but they have little in their life. but they are ready to hold your hand, receive your love and give to you their unconditional love. there are many needs here at njia panda, but two stand out to me at this point. you will be hearing more later. one is a little five year old boy that has mucho pain when he pees. apparently he has been seen by doctors and he was at a hospital for surgery. however, the doctors after closer scrutiny said that the issue was bigger than they realized and he would need surgery at the other (bigger/better) hospital. from what i understand, this will cost only $350 usd. i hope for more information tomorrow when we return to njia panda.

also, i have (in previous blog and fb) shared photos of a two room mud home, that has 11 people sleeping in it. there are a couple of ways to help the mama – get a team of volunteers to come to spend a couple of weeks to build her this shelter. or we need approximately $800-$1000 usd to hire local fundis (craftsman) to build the home – that would cover labor and materials and provide her and her children much needed shelter. if you want more information on either of these, you know where to find me.

love you all, miss you. thanks for the skypes, messages etc.

swahili?

rafiki – friend
dada – sister (as is, I’m with ya sista)
kaka – brother
simba – lion
twiga – giraffe
nyani – baboon

nakupende! badaaye.

oh, skype me at debmarshall77 ๐Ÿ™‚


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saturday adventure at laka chala….

saturday in tanzania. 6 volunteers looking for somewhere to go, something african to experience. after much discussion, the decision was to go to lake chala. there are several things to consider: the preferences of each of us, the cost of the transportation, how long does it take to get there, admission costs at the location. all agreed we needed somewhere to go. the cost of transportation which sounded high in TSH, actually turned out to be about $10 pp round trip. i doubt you could hire a taxi where you live and get far on $10. and we had a bit over an hour each way for travel time. and admission? about $1.33.

a driver was hired and off we went.

this is what the tanzania guide says about lake chala.

“straddling the kenya border some 30 km east of moshi as the crow flies. this roughly circular crater lake is virtually invisible until you seem to topple over the rim….the brilliant turquoise water (note: it really was this beautiful as we trekked in), hemmed in by sheer cliffs draped in topical greenery. not for the faint-hearted, a very steep footpath leads from the rim to the edge of the lake (note: it is very steep indeed!)”

it took us perhaps 20 minutes or so to descend that very steep foot path, in some cases barely one person wide and immediately dropping off on the edge a long….way down. starting as a gravel path, gradually shifting to volcanic rock slabs, then the steep began. we grabbed trees, climbed over rocks, chatted and laughed, took some pictures, slipped a few times and finally arrived at the lake’s edge. no beach, no smooth surface, just large volcanic rocks. the water was perfect temperature and for the first time since we arrived, we all had clean feet! LOL although an overcast day (which later we were thankful for) it was a lovely time to relax.

the ascent back UP the very steep foot path was incredibly difficult for me. i can shift the blame to several factors ๐Ÿ™‚ age. out of condition (although I have acclimated to a lot of walking and the heat). bad heart valve (which affects your heart and breathing). regardless, i had to stop several times to get my heart rate down and catch my breath. my backpack, which probably had 8 lbs in it, felt like 50. there were a few times i couldn’t even swallow, until i had water in my mouth (if you’ve ever experienced this, it’s very strange and rather not pleasant). it pains me greatly to have to admit all of these things, you know that? LOL but before i left for africa i promised honesty and transparency. and this is the painful truth. ๐Ÿ™‚ a few times i didn’t know if my legs would carry me up that next steep rocky area. and the one after that. and then the next. you get the picture.

but YES! i made it! breathing quite heavily of course ๐Ÿ˜ฆ the next area of path was smooth but gradually inclining. i was able to recover in the less steep areas.

but then we somehow ended up on the wrong path and walked quite a distance out of our way. the grasses whipped our legs … and our faces, it was that tall. you couldn’t see anything for a long ways but the grasses and trees. we eventually ended up at a house? barn? in a field of sunflowers that was the end of the trail, thus confirming what we already suspected. so, we turn around to head back and finally arrive back at the lodge where we parked.

the final chapter in the day came in the form of rain which suddenly came up as we were recovering with a cold drink at the lodge. sprinting to the van, all piled in. there was a long drive of dirt road which became mud, which is quite slippery. the driver maneuvered and kept us out of ditches, but there were a few moments….

so at the end of the day. every muscle in my body feels the impact of the descent, ascent and walking. i am happy we saw this beautiful area, as it is one of tanzania’s gems. I am happy that i got to rub my feet against the volcanic rock as giant pumice smoothers, because here your feet get really rough with all the walking and dirt, etc. i am demanding that my body reward me for my efforts by dropping more pounds – in the areas that i specify, of course. although most of my shorts and skirts are able to be put on without unfastening them, when i see pictures, i think WTH? stupid 50’s something metabolism. LOL and i thank God that the day was overcast and not the bright sunny day we normally have. ๐Ÿ™‚

some scenes from the day, all taken on the way down or at the lake. going back up, the camera was not a consideration. ๐Ÿ™‚

wishing you all a happy and blessed easter sunday!


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about a 13 year old girl named lucy

this week has flown by, with every day packed with visits to different organizations, and seeing more of the moshi area. i mentioned the places in the last post, and the plan was to tell you about them next. (do you remember them? kilimanjaro children’s foundation (preschool), tumona secondary school, njia panda village.

but thursday. well, thursday was one of those good good days. and so, instead thursday’s experience will be the topic of today’s blog.

thursday’s story is wrapped around this 13 year old girl named lucy. i had no involvement in setting this up or making anything happen for this day, but i was just fortunate to be invited to go. i believe that all of us felt blessed to be some small part of the day.

here is her story, details i derived partially through conversations, partially from a recent msamaria newsletter.

lucy landari, 13, is a massai girl that lived in moshiโ€™s mtakuja maasai village. she is one of 11 siblings in her family that lives in a poor village with only single parent support (mother). after her father died in 2000, her brother took responsibility of the family. the 39-year-old mother had no say at any resolution passed by this son, when he made a call in regards to maasai age set, this taking place about 3 months ago (basically she was about to be married off to an older man at age 13).

lucyโ€™s mother was tired of the tribe tradition and realized that unless she acted, the plan would go forward. the plan being that lucy would be circumcised and married a few days later.

obviously, the plan had to take place IMMEDIATELY. before arriving home from school that day, lucy met her mother on the way home from school and she hid near by the village river. her mama quickly rushed to a neighbor village where there is organization called KIWAKUKI that helps to support the local community. she cried for help to them as she saw them in a car that was about to depart. thankfully, they heard her cry out, and responded by driving to retrieve lucy from her hiding place.

the organization took lucy to msamaria the next morning and for the past 3 months, lucy has been sheltered there. separated from her family.

foot2afrika volunteers noticed that she wasn’t going to school, and upon inquiry learned that there is a required student transfer paper from her former school. a conversation with johnson resulted in planning a trip to lucy’s old school to make this happen. lucy was, as you might imagine, very uneasy and frankly afraid at the thought of returning to the village that she escaped from.

however, on thursday morning, lucy did join us as we loaded up and headed out to her village, to meet with school leadership. following a productive meeting with the head teacher, mama machuwa (from the orphanage) and johnson, lucy’s mama was brought to the school. as you might imagine, it was a very happy and tearful occasion.

after business was conducted at the school to execute the transfer paperwork, we all walked to lucy’s home, a 20-25 minute walk each way from the school. it was good to see her enjoy time with younger siblings and other neighbors/family members.

it was very difficult for her to leave her family again, and they said blessings over her as she left. i cannot imagine what this 13 year old has experienced in the past months. and being separated from her family. then again, most all of the children here in centers and orphanages have stories that would break your heart.

msamaria staff says this about lucy. “she is hard working but shy if you are stranger to her. she helps to volunteer in various work at the center during the day time.” i have been around lucy several times in the past month and indeed, i have rarely seen her smile. yet thursday, a smile graced her face often. and it was a beautiful thing.

this is what lucy said (in her own words) after coming to msamaria: “one thing i will say thank you is to bring me here. iโ€™ll be able to study here. i will manage to help other maasai young women who are forced to get married and get circumcised. most of the girls are married off because the families need someone to get water for the family and help with house works.โ€

lucy’s story has a happy ending because she had the opportunity to spend time with her family, she now can register for school here in moshi, and she no longer has to fear returning home. oh! and what about the marriage plan? well, since the transfer of cows for the pending marriage had already taken place, and increasing one’s number of cattle is important in their world, lucy’s older sister was substituted.

here are a few photos taken from this very very good day. you remember? if you click on the photo, it will open up bigger and give you a brief description.

i invite you to see more pix at foot2afrika’s fb page. and while you’re there, please ‘like’ our foot 2 africa page, and you will be able to see and read about the many good things happening here.

by the way, we have a number of project needs that need men that can do a variety of ‘handy man’ duties…plumbing, electrical, basic carpentry, construction, etc. our women volunteers are awesome in every way but there are some things that need you guys. teams of 2 or more would make a huge difference in several places. in njia panda village, 11 people live/sleep in two small rooms that are used for cooking, storage, etc. we would like to build another 2 rooms (mud home) and certainly women would be a valuable part of the team, but some things just require the strength. we don’t have the availability of power tools, selection of supplies, etc which does make the job more challenging. but while you will work hard, you will leave africa knowing you did good work, making a huge difference. if you know of a group or individual that should know about this, pass it along!

as always, i love you all and miss you. life in africa is definitely the experience of my lifetime, and i hope that some of you might consider coming here yourself, even if bundled with a safari or for 3 weeks instead of 3 months.


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camels. snakes. maasai. haggling. treasures. smiles.

the past several days have been packed with so many things i hope that i will be able to remember everything that i want to tell you about! i am so tired in the evening…no energy to compose my blog! and a few power outages factor in.

so. let’s talk about sunday, the arusha/snake park day trip with 4 other volunteers (mari, madeline, sara, monessa). total transportation time: about 5 hours including bus each way and taxi to the park. the bus stops for additional riders (random stops, where there are people standing that just MIGHT want to go our way). stop to let people off, more on, we are sitting very closely to one another, and many are standing. arusha is actually only about 45 minutes away, but at a buck and 33 cents, it’s cheap (albeit llooooong) transportation. good for napping too.

the scenery along the way is unbelievable. coffee tree groves. fields of corn (but no equipment just people with hoes, bent over to work the ground). children herding goats and cows. the mountains in the distance. and then. arriving at the bus station. tons of people yelling at you (in swahili) because they want your business. because the taxi competition is quite tough. after a wee bit of irritation and drama, we find a driver (dereva wa teksi) who spoke good english and off we went. the drive from bus terminal to snake park was about 30 minutes each way; he waited on us at the park. the fare (nauli)….40,000 TSH round trip, split 5 ways (about $5 each). all in all. not a bad deal.

the snake park (which was amazing by the way) included the snakes, a maasai tribe history museum, and a camel ride. we saw (behind glass of course) giant pythons, spitting cobras, black mamba, crocs…even a vulture! we knew we would get a chance to hold a snake. and we did. but it was a very little grass snake. maybe 5 ft long but small in diameter. oh well ๐Ÿ™‚ he didn’t bite.

the museum was quite interesting, the maasai are one of the major tribes in this area. we probably should have paid for the guide tho, we would have understood some things a bit better ๐Ÿ™‚ and the camel ride turned out to be a blast. LOL if you have ridden one, you know what i mean. when then get up and down while you are on their back, you think you are going over!

we enjoyed shopping at the maasai village for great jewelry, bowls, and other handcrafted items. but get your energy up for this as they wear you out trying to get you into THEIR sales area, and everyone has the same thing. and everything you purchase must be haggled over. they want 15,000 TSH. pooh. not worth it. what would you pay? i don’t know maybe 5,000. no, 12,000. i’ll pay you 6,000, that’s it. and you walk out and they say..okay. and you have a deal. over and over. and over. ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s a game! but you have to play this game with every stinkin’ purchase or possible purchase! like i said, ya gotta be in the right energy zone!

we all agreed. it was a VERY good day. we are planning another road trip for this coming weekend.

i have much more to tell you about some of the places we have visited this week. preschool, secondary school, youth detention center. n’gio panda village. and later we have another couple of villages to go. but i want to keep the fun day trip separate from the interesting day visits. so stay tuned to the next blog.

also, thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who responded to the stories about the orphanage and women’s group with contributions. it will make a difference to these tanzanians. and it makes a difference to me! as always, thank you all for continued prayers, support, messages, and love. i couldn’t do with you!

here are some random pictures for your enjoyment.

now – swahili, anyone? here’s the numbers 1-10.

ziro
moja
mbili
tatu
nne
tano
sita
saba
nane
tisa
kumi

until the next time. miss ya’ll and love you too! ๐Ÿ™‚ OH, and only 5 more days to SAFARI!


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163,000 tsh = $108 = purchase from the heart

jambo! it was an incredibly beautiful day here, and for the first time, the clouds were thin enough that i could see the peak of mt kilimanjaro from the hostel. majestic and beautiful. every morning i check. every day too many clouds. today, finally!

tomorrow, we are going to meserani snake park and a maasai tribe museum. apparently we will have the opportunity to handle a ‘real live snake’. ๐Ÿ™‚ sounds crazy huh? but others have told us it is very interesting. sounds like a future blog topic?

today, i went shopping. i spent just a tad over $108 (which is 163,000 TSH). by far the best $100 i have ever spent. literally, i have wasted the same amount on clothing that was never worn, lovely dรฉcor items that i really didnโ€™t need, food that wasnโ€™t nutritious or fulfilling, crap that a month later was forgotten about. you know…what i mean?

this small amount of money purchased forks, spoons, cups, and plates for 24 mtotos ranging from 5-14 at an orphanage. it purchased a few utensils and pots to keep pre-cooked food warm. it purchased half of 50 kilos of beans. oh my. this just barely scratches the surface of the many needs just at this one orphanage. but this particular expense, this particular shopping day was special, at least for me because it was an expenditure from the heart.

during my one month here, i have been reading about various organizations that foot2afrika partners with; all of them have needs from volunteers to materials and supplies to funding for food and/or other projects. believe me – i would love to help every one of them. and i plan to help at least a few of them.

however, last week. one day – one visit – one orphanage had a huge impact on me. on that day, as we walked around the facility and met the kids โ€“ it was all i could do not to cry. in fact, fall to the ground and cry. in fact, days later, after subsequent visits, the emotion is no different, no less. literally this organization reached into my heart and spoke. loudly in fact. why this one, i donโ€™t really know but i am learning not to question. and not to analyze (ooh la la, that’s not easy for moi). but to simply feel and act.

it is difficult to adequately paint the picture of this facility that will be a good home for them but has so many inadequacies. they have been there 2 months with no power. one bathroom shared among 24 children and several adults. no dining area, no place for kids to do their homework, no place to store their clothing. the outdoor kitchen and the outdoor sink area are both inadequate for the volume of cooking and washing that needs to be done. rework of these areas is needed.

the list of needs and the resulting budget are yet unknown in entirety. but we know this – there is a shortage of beds, food, uniforms for school, shoes, clothing, shelving, plumbing, โ€ฆ.and it goes on. but there are only a few of us and we can only take things so far. today was a start – kevin purchased the materials for shelving in the kitchen storage area so that all of the food items did not have to lay on the floor. my shopping today will help with cooking and dining needs. we shared the expense for the beans. previous volunteers have done other work at the home and arranged to have some beds made.

i cannot afford to tackle everything, nor should i. but i will do whatever is within my power to either raise additional funds or find the right people to do the various ‘fix-it, build-it’ projects. but mainly just listening and responding to my heart on this one and letting it unfold as it should.

if this story touches your own heart, and you have questions…email me (debmarshall77@live.com) or message me on fb. or if you’d like to assist financially, do so at Paypal to send money online to foot2afrika@live.com. because of a variety of things, paypal cannot directly link to an african bank account. this is my account (separate from my regular account) and i will withdraw the funds out for this orphanage. you can see that we can accomplish quite a lot with fairly little money by our standards. i will let you know how we use your contribution. asante sana, nakupende!

here are a few things that i know about at this time if you would like to be more project oriented.

fabric and sewing for window curtains (cost unknown)
school uniforms ($140 would tackle this as 13 children need 2 sets, approximately $10 per child!)
additional kitchen needs (about $150)
purchase of school supplies and stationery
dining tables and benches, storage units for clothing will have to be built (cost unknown)

now for pictures! when you click on each picture, a description will show up.

it’s bedtime here and i want to get this blog posted so not a very long swahili section tonight. i will be sure to report in the next blog about the snake park. and a few other random musings that i have had.

pendaneni (love each other). kwaheri kesho (goodbye! see you tomorrow). lala salama (sleep well) tonight.


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msamaria means good samaritan

“let your light shine. be a source of strength and courage. share your wisdom. radiate love”. ~ wilfred peterson

i visited two centers for children this past week, about 60 kids overall. these two organizations barely touch the surface of the children that are on the streets (beginning often at a very early age), orphaned, in or out of orphanages. each elicited a different emotional response in me. but in both cases, the lovely innocence of these mtotos was real and touching. they have done nothing to deserve the situation that they are in. they have had no good chances in this life. but they are survivors and with the help of those that run the organizations, that volunteer, that provide something, they will eventually escape (we hope) what is inevitable for many in this situation – detention center, crime, death, no education opportunity, no way to support their families. they have a right to dream and hope, and those that devote their time and lives to them share their own dreams and hopes for them.

we can theorize and discuss ad nauseum about why this is the case, cast our opinion on what needs to be done, rant about the irresponsibility of parents, yada yada. but that rhetoric does not help these children. as one person, certainly as a mzungu, i will not be able to change the culture here, nor make policy changes or financially support the endless needs, etc. as one mere human, i can only share love and do everything in my power to make a difference in these particular children’s lives. whatever that may involve – physical labor, securing necessary funds for selected projects, sharing the day, a smile, a hug, my heart with them.

today’s blog is about msamaria center for street children. In kiswahili, msamaria means โ€œgood samaritanโ€.

msamaria was founded in 2007 and they have limited incoming funding. everyone on staff is unpaid. foot2afrika sends volunteers to assist in a variety of ways. it is very important to the founders that these kids to have an education opportunity – and there are some costs associated with that. previous volunteer teams have helped provide beds/foam mattresses for kids and other needed items, helped with food costs, painted/organized dormitories, performed needed electrical/plumbing/maintenance work. among many other things.

there are typically about 30 or so kids permanently at the center – they often come here after periods of surviving on the street where they were forced to live due to a variety of circumstances – cruelty and abuse, poverty, parental irresponsibility, etc. they are not all orphans.

imagine for a moment – a child perhaps 5, or 8 or 10 – caring for younger siblings and the household. parents? missing, dead, not available, irresponsible, the list goes on. so they end up in the streets. can you really see your young child/grandchild living in such conditions? does this not break your heart to think of any child having to face such a situation?

and living at a center is so much better but you and i would not see it as livable by many standards. but they have a bed, a way to wash their clothing, a meal of rice/ugali and a few vegetables, a place to watch TV, an opportunity to go to school, a family of others in the same situation, a sense of safety, security and love.

here is a collage of some of the kids. they are all precious and have their own unique ways of communicating and showing that they like you. note: i realize that the images are small. if you click on it, it will open in a bigger version.

these photos of msamaria facilities show the cooking area, classroom, the girls dorm room (that a recent volunteer painted, and improved on greatly. the girls are quite proud of their room), washing area (for hands, laundry, etc).

i feel compassion, love and joy with these kids at msamaria. while there are needs, great needs here, it appears that they have a tolerable place to stay, people to care for them, an opportunity to go to school and perhaps some stability. i realize that there is much more for me to learn about the msamaria kids and i look forward to the opportunity to do so.

the next blog will be about the other orphanage i visited. the response in my heart was much different and it occurs to me that i should pay attention to this response. anyway, stay tuned.

and thanks for reading, thanks for your prayers and support, so appreciate your comments on the blogs.

lala salama, nakupende!


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shift is happening….life in africa is becoming more like home

so…it has been almost a week since i’ve blogged (thanks to those who have checked in on me to make sure i’m okay!) and i have tried to post a few things on facebook but realize that not everyone is on fb. i have a lot of things to share so i’m going to do this blog first, and follow up with one on the experiences at the orphanages.

can you believe that it’s been almost 4 weeks since i arrived in moshi? wednesday night is the actual benchmark.

and shift is happening…

i have finally been here long enough that the locals recognize that i’m not new white mzungu meat so i am not hounded as much to buy this or that.

i seem to have adjusted to walking, being sweaty and dirty much of the time. hamna shida.

my new african hair makes me feel ‘good’/different (is that strange?) and i’m often stopped by locals, commenting kindly on my hair. I guess it makes me feel part of this country …. but i’m still mzungu.

it has become easier to let some swahili words roll off the tongue. still a LONG way to go to be conversant but there is a comfort level starting to happen.

i can see that while one can have a meaningful volunteer experience in 2-3 weeks here, it’s really ideal when one can spend at least a month. honestly, altho i miss some things and you, my family and friends, i cannot imagine leaving at 4 weeks. so much more to do.

as i fell asleep the other night, this thought ran thru my head…i’m right where i’m supposed to be. i KNOW that of course in all of my prayers, planning and plotting, i KNEW that i was supposed to come here, but it was the first time that i FELT it and the peace that slipped in. many of my thoughts have been along the lines that i am not in control, that i need to be patient and let things unfold, to release expectation of outcome. so, yes this was a consciousness shift.

i am thrilled to be part of the foot2afrika team and to help them in anyway i can. i have a huge list of things to accomplish. and it allows me to learn about each of the organizations that f2a serves. there is just something about johnson, the guy behind f2a. his commitment, his vision, his heart, his generosity, his integrity and honesty. his genuine love for his fellow africans. especially the kids. you can’t help but want to be part of helping him and his staff succeed in providing for the desperate needs in this community. it’s heart breaking, yet heart filling.

OH and….i am SO looking forward to going on safari at the end of this month! we will have 3 days 2 nights, spending some time at ngorongoro crater which i’ve learned is often called africa’s eden and the 8th natural wonder of the world. we will also be at lake manyara and tarangire national park, as well as stopping by a maasai village. did i adequately express how excited i am to get to go? VERY! just in case you didn’t figure that out.

if you are on fb with me, you will remember this from a week or so again. but i share it here for those that missed it or have forgotten it. these words were written by a previous f2a volunteer that shared her time at an orphanage. it speaks volumes.

and it is particularly meaningful to me because in the past several days i’ve spent time with orphans and kids that have spent part of their young lives on the street. i have eaten with them, hugged and kissed, been taught their fun little games, and had them hang on me. i am being made aware of the enormous needs and lacks here in this country of beauty and extreme poverty. and each time, it breaks my heart more. in the next 2 months (or longer) i anticipate that i will continue to see such love, and heartbreak. and what they are giving me in those simple, short moments is beyond anything i could ever give in return.

“go to africa because you can have the most beautiful dresses custom made. go to africa because you don’t need to live by a watch. go to africa because the food is amazing. go to africa because the dalla dalla makes a morning commute exciting. go to africa because children who seemingly have nothing will give you everything. go to africa because a rooster will wake you up each morning. go to africa because you will be welcomed like family. go to africa because you can see zebras run free. but if you go to africa with some idea in your mind that you are going to save africa, you will quickly realize that africa will save you.”

i hope with all of my heart that some of you reading this will consider coming to foot2afrika and experience volunteering and the wonderful things that it will bring to your life (and of course safari with them as well). as individuals, as an education group, as a family. it will change your life forever. or at least recommend to those that you think might be open to this. i can tell you of a couple of projects that will be ideal for college students as a group, construction/engineering groups, etc. open your mind…and heart…. ๐Ÿ™‚

ready for swahili? oh, today, i hand wrote interview forms for kids at the street center and we had to do in swahili. so after writing words over and over, and listening to a tanzanian say them, it was a great learning experience. so some of your lesson for today includes those words. if you need to, there is an earlier blog that gives pronounciations! it’s very helpful!

mvua kubwa – lots of rain, which we’ve had here
chakula – food
mbwa – dog
lala salama – sleep well
baba, mama – father, mother
umri – age
tarehe ya kuzaliwa – place of birth
kazi – occupation
matatizo yanayomkumba mtoto- current problem that child is having
mtoto – child
matarajio – dreams
utashi – wishes
mahusiano – relationship

badaye! it’s after 10 pm here so lala salama when you go to bed. i’m heading there shortly. i’ll work on the blog about the kids tomorrow.

nakupende!