a bright spot: a pleasant or successful event or period of time when most other things are unpleasant or not successful
it’s no surprise to you all that i have a love affair with tanzania – the country. the people. the lifestyle. i cannot explain fully how or why that happened but it did. but as with any love affair, there are good days, bad days. there are days in which you want to run away, and days in which you want to run towards. there are days in which you say – who ARE you and how did i END UP here? and then days in which you thank your lucky stars. just in case, i am speaking of my relationship with tanzania and not a person LOL.
for some reason, the past 4 months that i have been here THIS trip has brought to me a variety of challenges. changed plans, loss of clarity, emotionally draining. confusing. i won’t go into details as really i don’t want to bore you and really no matter who we are, where we live and what we do, we have those damn tough days (and days and days). and let’s be clear. i KNOW KNOW KNOW in my heart that i’m to be here, and that these are just lessons and challenges that will open to new ideas and opportunities.
so. in this moment i wish to focus on a few bright spots that have lifted my heart and spirit, giving me a surge of hope. and making me smile.
The story of chichi
i learned about chichi through my friend bekka who operates (in tanzania) an organization called The Small Things (TST). many of you have seen pictures of the babies and toddlers when i have visited the orphanage. they also have an outreach program of which chichi is part of. she is a young woman working in a small shop when the owner said he could no longer afford to pay her. to help her along, TST put out the word that they needed someone to provide a small ‘grant’ to help her start her own used clothing business. for someone reason, i immediately knew i wanted to be that someone and so sent $70 – which allowed her to purchase a bale of clothing, and she was on her way with her used clothing business. $70! think of what we in the US typically blow $70 on. crap. stuff. a great bottle of wine. a nice dinner for 2. and here! $70 gives a new start of life and opportunity to someone!
well, in addition to operating her used clothing business, from her profits, she has also started a small chicken project. it warms my heart that she is not only getting the grant, but provided with good mentorship from TST. chichi is empowered to explore her options, spread her wings and find ways to learn how to be a good business woman! here’s a couple of pictures with her smiling happy face!!! i wish all good things and success to her! YOU ROCK, CHICHI!
the story of a chicken project loan
this is a bit of a re-cap from a previous blog. i am not disclosing names to protect their identity. but 2 years ago a friend who lost his job met me regularly about his situation. he was unable to take his sick daughters to the doctor or school; finding no work, they were all very hungry and thin, and losing hope. we had many discussions about business ideas and plans – and settled on raising chickens to be sold as meat (called a broiler chicken project). i can’t remember the total amount of the loan, which was to be paid back over a few years – but it was around $600. he kept in good touch with me through the first 6 week cycle, and then….due to my departure from the area and other things, we lost touch. about 6 months ago, i started hearing from him again, learning that while the project failed (the 2nd batch of chickens were caught in a rain flood and he lost too many of them to drowning.) he HAD finally found a job. 3 months ago, he contacted me to thank me for believing in him and investing in him; and that he and his wife wanted to do the right thing to pay me back. trust me. this is not typical and his offer alone was encouraging.
yesterday, i met him for lunch, first time to see him in a few years. his goal when we made the loan was to put his 3 daughters in school as he felt he wasn’t able to complete his education and he wanted better for the girls. they are currently in english medium school (nursery and standard 1) and they are doing marvelously! while his intent was to make a payment to me at lunch, he was sad to tell me that these funds had to be allocated to the school as the girls were sent home until dad made payment. but we discussed an arrangement in which they could make a few payments and not sacrifice the education. it was clear to me that it is important to THEM to be able to pay this back and to ME for restoring my faith in their honesty and integrity. i am beyond thrilled that they are happy, that the girls are in school. and that they have hope for the future. and while it isn’t about the money for me, in a way it is because to recoup those funds means that i can help someone else.
which was the goal all along. get repayment, and loan to another person. i still do not have the money in hand but believe that they will do the right things.
soon i will update you on what has been happening the past month, but that’s another story for another day.
thank you for being bright spots in my life. and may we all shine our lights to be brights spots along the way for someone else. seriously i have learned that sometimes the smallest of things can make the biggest impact.
be love. you are loved!