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
Visiting some Maasai friends who draped us in beautiful beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings! One of TEC’s sponsored children comes from this village
Perusing the mamas’ work–most of which they proceeded to drape upon us!
Tom showing some photos to one of the children
Special Goat Roast celebration/farewell at Shalom
Tom joining the football game
Enjoying girl time
One of the newest Shalom children sponsored to attend Tumaini, Samwel
These two were babies when I first stayed at Shalom in 2009!
Headed out to Alalailei Village inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Along the way we weren’t alone on the road!!
Six Tumaini students come from this beautiful village–and here is the gorgeous matriarch
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.
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!
Tomorrow is a farewell bash at Tumaini so stay tuned for additional photos soon!!