Where do I start?? I was so impressed by all aspects of my recent trip to Tanzania…
Shall I share about meeting my coworkers, the amazing Mentors who daily inspire hundreds of young women both in and outside of our two programs, the Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu?
Or should I share some experiences of meeting Kisa Scholars who, when briefly interviewing me, asked me questions that I was unprepared for and challenged by — they put me under fire about why I wanted to work for AfricAid and why educating women was so important! These young women certainly are a force!
I could tell you about my short safari experience and some of the interesting conversations had with our guide…
But I think I will tell you about Glory. Meeting Glory was a happy accident.
In exploring all aspects of the work that AfricAid Tanzania does, I set out to stay the night with a family in a village. I was connected to a local community pillar, Mrs. Victoria Ngobei, who welcomed me into her home in the village of Losinoni for the
evening and let me ask all sorts of questions.
You must be thinking – oh, Lizzy speaks Swahili?? Or maybe — oh, Victoria speaks English. But NO to both. Victoria said yes to hosting me because she knew her granddaughter Glory would be visiting since she had just finished school. Glory was to be our translator.
So here’s how it went: Oscar, the AfricAid driver, took me out to Losinoni on a Saturday afternoon. When we arrived, Victoria was still at the market down the road, but saw us driving down her dirt driveway toward her homestead.
She hopped on the back of a motorcycle and caught a quick ride home to greet us. Just as we were stepping out of the car, she came racing in, a large dirt cloud in tow. She was wearing big sunglasses and a helmet, with a matching purple polka dot dress and shawl – she jumped off the bike and ran up to shake our hands saying “Mambo!” We replied in the customary way, “poa!” with gracious smiles.
A few minutes after that, her granddaughter Glory comes walking up. After extending a greeting to me, she turned and said “Hi Oscar! What are YOU doing here??” It was in that moment that we realized that Glory was a Kisa Scholar!! What a moment! To see the reach of the Kisa Project… launching seven years ago in just
two schools with 22 Scholars, and now, traveling to Losinoni and discovering that Kisa Scholars come from far and wide! We shouldn’t be so surprised, given that 2017 will close the year with 1200 Kisa Scholars… but still!
I spent all evening and the next morning talking with Glory and Victoria, learning about village life, learning about her experience in Kisa, learning about what Victoria thought about her granddaughter as a Kisa Scholar… it was all so impressive!
Glory told me the most important thing she learned from Kisa was how to set realistic goals and make a plan to accomplish them. She said that she, like many young girls, used to talk about wanting to become a doctor or lawyer when she grew up. But “that’s just something that kids say. You don’t really know how to make that happen. In Kisa, I discovered that I want to become a Lab Tech. I know that Tanzania is in need and there are jobs; I like working with microscopes. I will go to University and study science. I know I can accomplish this.”
Meeting Glory was by far the best surprise of my entire journey in Tanzania (even better than being five feet away from lions on my safari!). I have said it, and I will say it again – I was so impressed! Her clarity of vision, her ability to articulate her path, and her confidence! I am so proud to be a part of AfricAid and all the work we do… girls like Glory show me exactly why we do what we do, and what a difference it makes in the lives of young Tanzanian women.
Would you like to hear more about my Tanzanian adventure? Comment below!