To the ends of the earth…and back!

Until we meet again…

Though I’ve known the decision for quite some time now, it is still hard to fully process its magnitude: Simply, tomorrow (Friday 21 Feb) will be my last day in Karatu, Tanzania, for an undetermined length of time. Tanzania has been a huge part of my life–most of my 20’s actually, so clearly leaving here brings many mixed emotions. I know I’m ready to leave though bidding adieu and saying my goodbye’s have brought many emotions, specifically since this is the first time I will be leaving Tanzania without a specific return date in mind! The fact that I will be departing nearly 6 years to the day from when I first arrived to climb Kili seems especially bittersweet. Additionally, having dear friend and fellow ’08 Kili climber, Tom Stevens, with me has brought much comfort. Tom spent a month here last year and was able to attend the beautiful water well naming ceremony at Tumaini. Likewise he’s a huge supporter of the work here in Tanzania and such a fantastic friend. He’s also been resident photographer so I’m especially grateful for that, as I’m usually behind the camera snapping the shots, rather than in them!

Over the last few weeks I have, almost daily, answered questions about my departure and have found that only one answer suffices: “Mimi, sijui nitarudi, lakini Mungu Anajua.” (I do not know when I will come back but God knows.) While I have learned so very many, many things during my tenure here, one of the most refreshing lessons I’ve learned is just how little we can control. Note: by “just how little” I mean, “NOTHING. We can control nothing!” Also, “refreshing” can be used lightly in some cases, as at times this fact has proven quite challenging!! Having been an event planner in NYC for several years kept me looking forward, sometimes 12 months out in order to make all necessary arrangements long before actual events. Living over here in Tanzania has really shown me how to live in the NOW and truly be present, appreciating every moment for what it is, rather than looking towards later, tomorrow, next month, next year etc. I believe I’ve shared this in the past, but just to drive this point home, please humor me. When saying “See you later” to friends at home, I may mean later that day, in a few months, in a few years…But when saying it here, I’ve found that it is understood that I mean later that same day. Further if I mean anything beyond today, I must say “Tutaonana Mungu Akipenda”–We will see each other if/when God wishes. So true.

Anyway, I will continue my volunteer work with Journeys of Solutions so stay tuned for updates regarding the phenomenal children supported through JOS. As for my work with Tanzania Education Corp, TEC has just welcomed a great team of 2 to continue its meaningful work in Karatu. To that end, you can subscribe to TEC’s new blog to stay up to date with glimpses from life at Tumaini. And of course, check out Facebook pages for both JOS and TEC.

Thank you for your unending and immense support…Hope you enjoy these (and others coming) farewell photos with glimpses of some of the extraordinarily beautiful souls I have come to know as dear friends.

Caroline, Angela and TEC founder Carol Hall being introduced to Tumaini
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New Uniforms!

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Visiting some Maasai friends who draped us in beautiful beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings! One of TEC’s sponsored children comes from this village

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Perusing the mamas’ work–most of which they proceeded to drape upon us!

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Tom showing some photos to one of the children

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Special Goat Roast celebration/farewell at Shalom

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Tom joining the football game
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Enjoying girl time

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One of the newest Shalom children sponsored to attend Tumaini, Samwel

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Dance Party!!

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These two were babies when I first stayed at Shalom in 2009!

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Headed out to Alalailei Village inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Along the way we weren’t alone on the road!!

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Six Tumaini students come from this beautiful village–and here is the gorgeous matriarch
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After enjoying delicious food and chai, Tom and I were presented with lovely beadwork. So too did I receive a load of items for my mom. The unending generosity was overwhelming.

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REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!! After a full few days of farewells, Tom finally made it to Tumaini where he promptly settled in with Mr Jimmy!

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Tomorrow is a farewell bash at Tumaini so stay tuned for additional photos soon!!

2 responses

  1. Barbara Burns

    My thoughts, prayers and heart are with you today as you move into your future. I know how I feel today and I can only imagine the feelings and memories you are bringing with you. Will keep in touch looking for your updates. Barbara

    21/02/2014 at 10:16

  2. Susan Rickert

    Dear Elizabeth,

    Today is a day full of pathos for you and your beloved community at Tumaini, I am sure. Thank you for writing to those of us who have known you and your tremendous commitment of time, talent, resources and expertise the last 6 years. You have been a bright and shining star at Tumaini and representing them to us who relied on you and your updates through your Adventures of a Delicate Flower, keeping us informed. You will never be replaced in the hearts of Bayo and Lightness, the staff and students and those of us who know you.

    May your future be bright and shining, just as you are. Please keep me on your mailing list. I genuinely care about you and the choices you make as you reenter this other world! I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers in the coming few weeks as you transition, adjust to the different time zone, pace of life, culture, weather and continue the path that is uniquely yours.

    Blessings and love,

    “Until we meet again”

    Susan Rickert

    21/02/2014 at 20:17

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