Written by Eliza
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”
The title may be deceptive as you are most likely thinking “How can that be possibly look like Christmas where the average temperature doesn’t ever drop below 80?” You would have a point there. As the “rainy” season comes to an end, the temperature is steadily rising and there is not a chance of rain for the next 2,3, or 4 months (it varies depending on who you ask) let alone snow. There are no pine trees or shinny wrapping paper only sisal plants and newspaper. So on the checklist for what makes Christmas, Christmas we aren’t checking to many things off. But I challenge that it is not the ornaments that trim a tree or a stockings hung over a crackling fireplace that make Christmas special. Those physical things have become a part of Christmas, but the actual spirit of Christmas exists all around us with or without those material elements. We don’t need things, but people. We don’t need presents but love and kindness. Both of which we have an abundance of in Tabora this holiday season. So, while it may not look a whole lot like Christmas, though the amount of crafted decorations may challenge that statement, it certainly does feel like it.
The day has been a somewhat quiet but nonetheless whirlwind of excellent food with good conversation strung in between hurried bites. Hailey and I may have set a record for the number of meals we attended at a whopping four! In before, in between, and after meals we were able to play elves and deliver our homemade Christmas presents, a combination of pictures, braided bracelets, and trail mix, to not only our partners but also our new friends who have helped make this place our home.
Being here, in the company of our friends and talking with our families back home made this one of the best Christmas’s. Yes this year was a little different than what both Hailey and I are used to, but in a way that made in all the more fun and exciting. We embraced the new, the unknown, and the sometimes confusing and found ourselves on the other side with a new perspective and a reminder that Christmas is so much more that the material
This spirit carried us on into our project site meeting just days after. From December 28th to the 29th Tabora played host to three other project sites, Jen and Evan from Bombo Majimoto, Sophie and Monique from Masoko in Dar es Salaam, and Timmy and Amanda from Kwakiliga. We wanted to create an agenda that combined both work and play in a way that really reflected what like in Tabora is truly like. While we waited for our guests to arrive, we began to appreciate this opportunity to spend the holidays together. As our wageni (guests) slowly trickled in stories began flowing about the different Christmas adventures we all found ourselves in.
After everyone has arrived safely and feasted on a watermelon basket carefully crafted by Hailey we set out to see Tabora. As Tabora is actually quite small the walking tour took considerably less time then we had expected, so we all sat around the kitchen and continued to get to know each other through the way we know best, games!
We had a spirited lunch with our partners and Ana during which Monique may have become an honorary Taboran and Timmy was stuffed, which he may try to downplay, but don’t be fooled, the food was just that good! Feeling Full we returned to our house to discuss the vast topic of “The Future”. Rather than tackling the whole topic we provided a narrow down discussion question centered on long-term planning and goal setting. We felt that it is important to think about where we each see our projects going in this year and the following years to come. We wanted to think about how we can intentionally use the network to guide our decision making to build support for future PC’s and to create self-sustaining projects.