i hope you enjoy this video that clearly puts into music and video what most of us and certainly i have experienced here in africa. i have truly found love here – in the nature, in the children, in the people, in the generosity of spirits, smiles and courage.
Yellow diamonds in the light And we’re standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine What it takes to come alive
It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny But I’ve gotta let it go
We found love in a hopeless place
Shine a light through an open door Love and life I will divide
Turn away cause I need you more Feel the heartbeat in my mind…..
i am merely one person here trying to follow my heart and what i believe God has intended for me to do. truthfully – it’s not always simple, clear or easy. but my heart speaks strongly to me that i am here for a reason. i have met many people, learned so many lessons, changed my perspective on issues, explored deep within, and clarified what i believe my purpose here is. i suspect that in the coming time, i will meet more people, learn more lessons, and change my perspective more…but isn’t that life, and how we continue to learn, to evolve, to become the people we were meant to be? to fulfill a purpose that we were born with?
TWO YEARS. sometimes i find it unbelievable! that i have been ‘back’ in tanzania two years (on october 1). it still seems to me like just ‘yesterday’ i stepped off the plane. it has been a roller coaster of a ride in some ways….i came here in march 2011 taking a leap of faith that God wanted me to be doing His work here, and along the way He would work on me too. that led to a commitment of one year of service to a local NGO, and when that ended, it led to me realizing that the work was not yet done, although to be honest I didn’t quite know what the work would entail. and while there have been a few (very few) weak moments in which i said to myself, maybe i should just go back to the States, i immediately was filled with a knowing that it wasn’t yet (if ever) time for that. i can’t explain it to you very well, but while i truly would love to see my family, and friends to visit and do some speaking for the causes – i have no desire at all to return to the western way of living. i seem to have found a tolerance beyond most people (surprising even myself) to deal with lack of conveniences, wants, etc. perhaps i would actually enjoy a proper shower, and a change of menu. perhaps i would dream of a day in which i could just pop into town and get things done in a short efficient time. however, as someone very close to me recently said – maybe tanzania is now your america. indeed.
TWO AREAS OF FOCUS. well, because i cannot save the world, Africa, or even this country all by myself (although i dream of it), i realize that i can only help a few. so. my focus in the coming year(s) will be on two areas – education and agriculture – both sustainable programs that i believe that will help families find their way out of the cycle of poverty. it is overwhelming, the needs here. and in light of my experience so far, the research i’ve done, and what my heart speaks to me – i know that helping to empower people to support themselves is the key. handing out money, while necessary time to time, for short term expenses isn’t sustainable. how, HOW, can we educate, inform, and provide means so that children are better prepared for their future. so that mama or grandmother can do some small business or grow a small farm, so that she can feed her family and add on a room to her house. so that young man can learn skills and how to properly run his business so that he can support his wife and children in the future.
1. education of children and youth, including vocational skills, provides pathways out of poverty and brings opportunities for children to support their families and change things in their village as they grow up. i also hope to find ways to help these children be showered with love, self-confidence, self-awareness and to understand that despite their current lifestyles, they are beautiful and they can do anything that they choose.
2. agriculture provides food and earning capacity for families. lack of capital, along with lack of water prevents many people from even growing their own vegetables but i have seen that this is a key asset for the country and i am devoted to finding ways to help people in this area.
TWO ORGANIZATIONS. there are so many organizations – and individuals – that need someone like me….or you. but i cannot support them all. so, i will focus my resource and fund raising efforts on two NGOs that share the same values and principles as i do. plus there will be accountability and transparency, something i find rather challenging to find in the developing world – for a variety of reasons.
CHANGE IS COMING….AGAIN: i have lived in the same general area for the entire two years. 1 year in the hostel while serving with the volunteer organization. and now nearly a year living in a rental house on my own which is just minutes from the hostel. moshi is far from being a fancy city but it is more urban, and i am close to town, to places to eat, to shopping, albeit limited. i have running water (most of the time), electricity (again most of the time) a comfortable bed, and shower (sometimes cold water sometimes warm). i have fairly easy access to internet although that too falls into the ‘most of the time’ category. but change is coming.
soon- in the coming weeks, i will relocate to another part of Tanzania, living on the grounds of a school, in partnership with the ngo that i have been serving under since January. focusing on the areas mentioned above …..all the ‘normal’ things that are key issues in every village. i will be living in an area which has no electricity (but generator power at night). not so nearby a town with ‘options’. no running water (yet but that is being worked on). a big change from my current living lifestyle which to be honest i have come to appreciate and enjoy while sometimes feeling a bit guilty that i live in such better conditions that those that i serve. but i think that now is the time that i immerse myself into African life at a different level. and i embrace it fully.
coming next….more about the new location, raising awareness and funds, and all other good and interesting things. and it is my prayer that indeed i find ways to shine my light through the open doors.
with love. i miss you all. and for those that have been chatting about coming to spend some time here with me – WOO HOO. i am ready for your visit!