Giving Thanks

Written by Eliza

While we cannot be home with our families this year, Hailey and I have a lot to be thankful for, so we would like to dedicate this post to all those people who helped us get to where we are today. Our journey has certainly not been with out its ups and downs, but it is with the help of some close friends and even some not-so-close strangers that we find ourselves moving forward with the Tabora Project, 2Seeds Network, and our lives.

We would not have arrived in Tanzania without the great help and support of our friends and families. We are thinking of each of you today and as we sit down to carve up our own version of a Thanksgiving dinner; we hope you know we are thankful for each and every one of you. As many of you may remember, we spent long days and even longer weeks trying to fundraise $8,000 each to finance this adventure. With over 200 donators, we have met and surpassed our goal of $16,000. It was a humbling experience that reminded both of us how interconnected we all are in this world. We depend on each other both financial and emotional support. We would not be here where we are without all of you!

Every single person who made this all possible is now connected with our ever-growing network of friends supporting us on the ground. From Hamisi, who sells us spices and food coloring, to Omari who works at our favorite mgahawa (restaurant), to our pikipiki (motorcycle) drivers who have had to carry increasingly larger amounts of potatoes to Tabora. These people on the ground, who help us out in every situation, help us survive each day.

Hamisi (left)–he has helped us out so many times and he always has everything we need from blue food coloring to cinnamon!

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Salimu is one of our piki piki drivers–he has the brightest smile and the warmest heart. 

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While we have a variety of people in Korogwe who are helping us to succeed, we are also so very thankful for the community we have become a part of in Tabora. The first of which, is our group members who are enduring our failures and improving our successes. These women that we work with are an inspiring, outgoing group who always continues to surprise me. They continue to defy all our expectations of what we thought we were getting into. They support us when we are feeling down and they teach us to think differently about the world and ourselves. In return and we push them to work a little bit longer and think a little bit differently about the work we’re doing and the world we want to live in. That being said, all this learning going on in Tabora has not always been smooth sailing, but we knew it wouldn’t be and we are working together to grow.

Tabora is not however made up solely of the eight women we work with. It has a variety of people who continue to make our days interesting. We are so thankful for our friends in Tabora, whether they are children, adults, or the very elderly they are warm and welcoming. We are thankful especially to those people who supported us throughout the first quarter. They listened to our broken Swahili, they helped us through our homesickness, and they stuck around during our struggling attempts to organize and run a business with minimal businesses/economic education.

Bibi Maimouna (left) and Mama Moki (right)–our Tanzanian grandma and mom!

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Babu Salehe–always a positive person and a friendly face to greet in the morning

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Even though these kids play on our porch at all hours of the day, their laughter is infectious and their youthful spirits keep us energized. We are thankful for all of those days dancing and coloring together and they have helped us improve our Swahili!

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While this post comes a little late, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the people we are thankful for. While we were sitting in the airport in DC waiting to take off we knew the year ahead of us would not be an easy one. We knew we would need time to adjust, we knew we would miss our families, we knew we would fail sometimes, but we also knew that those failures would make our successes that much more meaningful. We knew a lot before we left, but knowing and experiencing are two entirely different things. We could not go through this experience with out the support of the people who helped us get here, to our donors, our Swahili cluster leader Abby, the 2Seeds stateside staff, our mentor Shawn, among many others. We could not go through this experience without the everlasting support we feel from our new friends here in Tanzania from the people in Korogwe, the 2Seeds ground staff, our community in Tabora, to kind strangers we meet in passing and interacting with other project sites.

And last but certainly not least; we could not go through this experience without our families. Our families who listen to our rambling rants as we attempt to understand the sometimes difficult realities of the work we are doing this year. To our families who understand that our need for goldfish crackers and couscous is never ending, despite how far away we are. To our families who support us when we feel lost and overwhelmed. To our families who miss us and who we miss dearly everyday. To our families who spend long hours battling with Skype or Google phone, poor reception, and screaming children in background to call us. To our families whose, support and unconditional love and pride. They make us realize that this work is worth the work. What we are doing here may not be easy, it may be slow, but it is worth it. When we doubt our path, they help us shine the light a little brighter. They remind us that while the journey may be long and winding we are all in this together.

Our network connects all of these people. The at times complete strangers who helped us get to Tanzania by making financial donations are now connected with Mama Kimaro who sells our potato chips and kettle corn. Our families are now connected with Baba Asha who never fails to greet us with 100% energy and enthusiasm as if he had not seen us for many days. While you all may have never met and you might not ever meet, your lives are intertwined in this ever-growing network of people.

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