Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Final Day Jan. 21st, 2010

If you take “the beauty out of your face,” push your nose at just right angle, and shoot air up into your brain, you can successfully say NG’URUHE.

Red dirt – it’s everywhere. On our shoes, covering our socks, dying our white shirts and promisingly stuffed in every corner of our luggage. Despite the anger it had given us, we can only hope that we are able to take a small piece of it home with us.

Red dirt – that has been our home for the past three weeks. We have walked countless miles around the village and on that red dirt we practiced our Kihehe and Kiswahili terms. On that red dirt we saw the smiling faces of mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the crying faces of babies who couldn’t handle the paleness of our skin. On the red dirt we came together with locals through playing soccer, reconstructing/building a house, fetching water, spreading grass seed, hiking to waterfalls, and dancing while watching stars. The same red dirt has come into our house and around the table where we shared countless hours of laughter, insightful conversation, cultural learning, candlelit eating, and competitive card playing. Here, we became family.

That same red dirt was carried upstairs where we spent each night writing in journals, reading or discussing the future, boys and bodily functions. Each night like a small girl’s sleepover with rolling laughter as new inside jokes were created.

As we leave the red dirt, I know that each of us will take part of it with us wherever we go. The world will look different as we have seen a new culture and way of life. Forever we will reflect on the endless memories we’ve created – Mohammed doing the tembo, Edward’s “HUGE” and “human being” phrases, the re-construction of windows, learning to follow African time, watching Marcia do “head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” cold showers, rice and beans, Mama Toni’s smile, Jennie’s birthday, Ben’s trip to Kenya, the young girls’ safari adventure (interrupted by the German), Greg’s daily interactions with Alfred, Sam’s fiancée, and the inability for Danielle and Kayli to respond to e-mails.

As we end this journey, I want to say a little thank you to each of you. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been to have my experience enriched by you – how wonderful all this has been.

Sam: From day 1 you have been a person of passion, devotion, and desire. I know your hard work will pay off so much in the future. You are going to do amazing things. I am so amazed at your braveness in coming here – especially on your first adventure out of the states. Thanks for all the nights of laughter – you are always willing to try a new adventure!

Jennie: I am so excited you live in Portland – we can re-live this experience often! You always surprise me with your vast amount of knowledge – you are brilliant! I am so going to miss your “my bed is spooning me” comments. I hope you know we will be spending lots of time together in the future!

Danielle: I could not have done this without you. Thanks so much for letting me barge in on your adventure. It’s been fantastic to have you as my emotional support – truly to laugh, cry, question, talk, and relax with. I am so thankful we could so this together.Greg: We secretly all needed a male figure like you on this trip! You have been such a strong support for all of us. Your kind heart and passion for tohers has shown us all a new look into the Tanzanian community. Thank you for always looking out for us and taking us on as your own. I promise to respond to your next e-mail and truly hope we stay in touch!

Marcia: Where do I even start? You have added something special to each of our days. Starting with our morning kisses to late-evening chats, you have been a rock to our group. Thanks so much for your kind and generous heart and for pouring your love on us.

Mohammed: You have given us the gift of safety and LAUGHTER! Yes, your driving was superb but I will truly miss having you around my meal table. You have such an intelligent mind, and an abundance of wonderful stories. You have shed so much kindness on each of us making us feel comfortable. Thanks for all you do.

Ben: You are a blessing to all of us. Being a fellow mzungu but having such a depth of knowledge on Pommern made us more comfortable here. We are so thankful to have you here. I wish you the best of luck on the rest of your time here and in your future. Thanks for being a big brother and watching out for us.

Edward: You are a master country manager for Global Volunteers! Not only have you shown us Tanzanian life by allowing us to interact with locals and by communicating with us, but you have shed an immense amount of love on each of us. Your sense of humor has brightened each of our days. We appreciate all you organization (even if it didn’t always go as planned) and your desire to let us help you. We will never forget you and the things you have taught us. We are so incredibly thankful for you – thanks a million for ALL you have done even during this crazy time in your life. We wish you the best of luck with your upcoming teams.

Much love to each of you! Team 139 you will truly be missed! See you ALL again soon!