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Published: November 21st 2008
Tuesday Nov 18 2008
Travel to Dar Es Salaam
Fell asleep last night watching TV, it was right after supper around 8:00. I woke up at 10:00, wrote Denise a text and fell asleep. I was feeling a bit better, took my diarrhea pills and think that made quite a difference. What did I learn? DON’T drink ANY milk products! Woke up a couple of times throughout the night, but was for the most part OK.
Got up at 6:00 AM, had breakfast at 7:00 and left for the airport at 8:00. Once there we found out that our flight was delayed until 2:00. So went across the street and waited. We decided while sitting there all that time that maybe we’d try to fly out today!! We left at 2:00 and arrived in Dar at 4:00. Fortunately we were able to book all the way home, so today is my last day in Tanzania ….
It has been an amazing trip, I finally got to do what I’ve wanted to do for some many years. It’s more than a check mark on my “Bucket List”, it was an opportunity to learn about how I can do more. How I can be a part of something that can make a difference in the lives of others … NOT what I can do, but what can be done for others!!
Traveling wit Sam was an adventure in itself, but I got to see almost all of the kids that are Sponsored. I saw a representation of each one of the environments with the exception of the Refugee camp that is about 22 kms away. The Inala folks are by far the most desperate. We did not go into the town, in fact we turned off the main road and travelled another 2 kms inland to see he families … and they were poor!
God created all of us, but this place made me stop and ponder how fortunate I was to born where I was born. How did I get fortunate enough to be who I am? This realization became the strongest for me when this young lady from Inala came to the house we were at. She was an attractive lady with 3 or 4 absolutely gorgeous kids. The baby was tiny, with gorgeous features. In our world she could be a model. There’s a family that you would love to pluck out of this environment and a poster family out of.
In spite of all of the filth, the lack of modern conveniences, the poor education, the lack of jobs, the diseases and sickness, along with the bleak outlook for change in the future, I saw smiling faces and generally happy people! They knew their neighbours, they relied on each other. They visited when we arrived which showed a strong sense of community. You could see kids playing together and laughing all the time, and they had no TV’s for entertainment!! Friends greeting each other with a hand shake of true friendship …ask me to show you when we meet next time! DO they have so bad, or do we just think they do? Should we try to change their lifestyle to make it more Western or should we provide them with the skills and the tools to teach them to help themselves? I believe the latter, they have to want to change and then change it themselves. What we have to do is to give them the basics so that they can achieve these desired changes. The basics of life have to be given to them so that they can learn … education and medical being the biggest two. One little boy I met made himself a dump truck … it was a board with an axle nailed to the back, by using some metal to create springs. On the axle were wheels that came from somewhere, each of the 4 wheels was different. The front had a small nail to hold the steering axle. On top of the board was the bottom of a plastic jug, this is the dumper part. In front of the plastic container was a bottle cap. He has a long stick at the one end is a steering wheel built from wood and reeds tied to make a proper circle. The other end of the stick goes into the bottle cap, string comes up from each side of the steering axle and is tied in opposite directions … get the picture? He can run behind his truck and steer it. As he turns the steering wheel the string rolls in opposite directions to turn the axle!! I don’t know how original this idea is, but it was the ONLY one I saw in my travels. I saw some adaptations, but nothing as elaborate. Could he be and Engineer some day? Maybe! He has Sponsorship so the opportunity exists more readily for him, without that he would become a farmer just like his father, and the cycle would continue
How will this affect me? I don’t know, what I do know is I want to do my part. I want to be able to do what I can do to give the folks the support they need. I want to be a part of Empowering them!! I hope the shelf life on this trip does not expire too soon. I hope I can surround myself with enough reminders and become involved in some way so that I can continue to support this effort. God has given me an amazing gift in so many ways. In fact I have been given gifts well beyond what I deserve. My prayer is that I will use my talents and gifts properly. I also pray that the next time I go is soon, and that I can take Denise. I know she would enjoy it. I’m also glad she didn’t go this time. It was a tough week adjusting to some of the thing I experienced for the first time. I will be better prepared next time and maybe I’ll be able to do more and be more involved so that the impact I have can be even greater.
I gave away 14 soccer balls all of which I bought at a 30% discount. I gave away a bunch f dollar store items, and I gave Alafati some gifts that he was excited about receiving. The smiles I got and the excitement in the faces that I experienced pales in comparison to what I got back from these people.
I got a lifetime of memories stored in my head, I got a lesson about living within our means, I got an understanding that my hardships make no sense in comparison to theirs.
I got a live goose from a woman, hand picked from her flock of 4 birds, in appreciation for a soccer ball and 60 minutes of my time to sit and chat with her and her family. I got the woman’s equivalence of a freezer full of food because I represented one of the people who support 2 of her 6 grandchildren …
…. WHO REALLY GOT THE BIGGEST GIFT???
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