July 9, 2013
One of our sponsored student’s homes
Many people ask, “Why Tanzania?”
I think the following answer speaks for Jillian and Kerri, as well as me.
When each of us ventured here for the first time to volunteer and experience a different life, we encountered in a personal and intimate way a level of need that we had never encountered before.
Not everyone in Tanzania wants education and not everyone is willing to work for a better life. But the individuals whom we met and taught were not everyone. We came to know them as individuals – not the ubiquitous photo of the adorable, sad African child. At their core was a desperate hunger, not for food (although that was in short supply as well) but for education. Education represented a lifeline, and we soon realized that there was no one to throw out that lifeline if we did not.
Political and economic arguments aside, the reality is that there are no local, state, federal or church agencies that offer any real assistance to those we serve. There is no “safety net,” no community outreach, no local philanthropies, nowhere for the poorest, however talented and motivated, to turn.
So, why Tanzania? Because we are “it” for those we assist, and from a pure financial standpoint, we can have an impact here that we could never have in the Western world. For example, a teacher’s annual salary runs about $4,000, the costs of a 4-year boarding secondary school (the only reliable educational option) total $5,000 and a 4-year pre-medicine/medical university course of study comes in around $15,000. For $1,200 we can organize a workshop that will yield new awareness, programs and opportunities for the autistic and special needs community.
The saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” Home for Kerri, Jillian, many of our volunteers, and me is the U.S. It is a country of freedom and opportunity like no other. But if you met the people whom we serve, you would understand that Tanzania also has become a bit of home for all of us.
Another student’s home.