Somewhere over the rainbow....
Trip Start Apr 08, 2009
27Trip End Ongoing
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I write this post with a bittersweet tone. My time in East Africa is waning - fast - and as you can all imagine it is breaking my heart. I am flying to Cairo tomorrow evening and although I am looking forward to the second leg of my trip, I keep wishing I had budgeted more time here in Africa. (I went as far as almost canceling my time in Egypt but was convinced otherwise by numerous people who have traveled there in the past. Let's be serious - I love Africa, but know that amazing things are still on the horizon. The continent of Africa has been on this planet for quite some time, I have a feeling it will still be in the same place when I return in the future (and I AM returning). I have truly fallen in love with this place and its people have crept right into the center of my heart.
So! For the moment many of you have been waiting for .....
The TAFCOM fundraiser was a success! In the days leading up to the event (which was last night) I had over 90 people confirm places at our dinner. With an excellent turnout, a decent DJ, an impromptu amature rap/reggae session from a local and wonderful art on display from many artists we managed to raise a over 1 million Tanzanian shillings ........ over $1000 CAD! PROFIT! We had a generous donation from someone back in Canada (you know who you are!) so that our TAFCOM children can eat one meal a day for the next 5 months (!), for many this will be their only meal of the day and a much needed one at that. The profits from the fundraiser will go towards the additional costs associated with Amose's surgery and stay in the hospital, thank goodness. The rest of the money will go to those most in need at the moment and a small residual sum will hopefully be put towards start up costs for the next fundraiser. I challenged the new CCS TAFCOM volunteers to surpass our profit of $1000.00. Knowing them, they'll pull it off without any trouble.
Although I was ecstatic after counting our earnings at the end of the night, I couldn't help but wish that I could have done more. Maybe if I had planned better, we could have had a better turnout, maybe if I had stayed longer I could have helped with more fundraisers.... maybe, maybe, maybe. But today, on my 8 hour bus ride from Moshi to Dar es Salaam I was able to fully reflect on my time here. I am one person, visiting, for the first time, a strange and unknown country. I don't speak the language, I know nothing of their culture and as I struggled to immerse myself and get to know the people here, I realized I know very little about how this world really works. I feel so tiny, so small, so insignificant. There are so many negative things in this world, it is really easy to get bogged down focusing on the 'bad'. But there is a silver lining.... I grew as a person, I challenged myself, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone (planning fundraisers isn't excatly my strongest suit) and I managed to bring some hope to a small community on the outskirts of a developing town in East Africa. Maybe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Getting there is the hard part. It may sound romantic, reading it in this blog, but it was a very real, humbling experience that I will carry with me for the remainder of my days. It has changed me and for that I am grateful.
For those of you who have been following along, I hope you learned something, or at least were entertained in the process of my travels abroad. For those of you who, after reading are inspired to try your own hand at international volunteerism, please feel free to contact me - I'd love to share more with you.
I wrote a newspaper article detailing my work with TAFCOM. It is set to run on May 23rd in the Burlington Spectator (I don't know the URL but I am sure you'll find it if you google it.). I will post the link to the article on this blog when I can. I don't know how much internet access I'll have in Egypt, but I will try to keep everyone updated accordingly. Please feel free to follow along with me in Turkey and Greece as well, for the month of June. I'll be posting regularly :)
Thanks to all of you for the moral support (and for those of you who generously donated to my trip and to TAFCOM - Thank you, from the bottom of my heart).
(goobye for now my friends)