Tanzania gave me my kipawa
My trip with BeSomeone in Tanzania was more than an adventure, more than a typical volunteer experience and more than an expected perspective provider. My time in Tanzania gave me my first insight into the tangible difference I could make in the world through even the smallest of actions, thoughts and attitude. Because of that my life has entirely changed.
Namelok school, the school built and nourished by BeSomeone Worldwide is the drop pin of where this happened. The smiling, joyful faces of just 26 children running excitedly toward the seven volunteers that stood before them in May 2017, was immediately symbolic of what those with more than they need can do for those who need only the basics but unjustly don't have comfortable access to. My expectation was to feel sympathy, sadness and powerlessness in this situation, that was not the reality. What I felt was an urgent sense of motivation, an immediate awareness of what can easily be done and all I had to do was to be there to care and contribute in any way I could.
After getting to shake the hands of the tireless teachers and to hug, kiss and play games with the most glorious children I have ever had the honor of being around, we set to work on building teachers housing at the school. My construction experience is humorously questionable, but realizing the huge impact on the quality of life and education improved by the proximity of the teachers to the school, each barrel of cement and each brick was a simple pleasure to lift, and somehow my body worked harder and happier than it ever has.
Waking up every morning in the most basic of conditions, to have coffee with my fellow volunteers and share our inside jokes of what we laughed about the day before was and will always be some of the purest moments life has given me yet. The shared knowledge that although what you are doing is outside your comfort zone, knowing that you and others are better for it, is an incredibly bonding feeling.
The most poignant part of my trip was the day we spentintroducing the children to arts and crafts and give the teachers an insight into how this could be introduced to the children's itinerary. I have never seen eyes brighter and smiles wider. Watching the children interact, ask questions and grow confident in their choices of colour, pattern and shapes was a very small insight into how education and autonomy is key to building confidence in an entire community.
The same enthusiasm and vibrancy could be found in the older generation of Maasai women leading the jewellery project established by BeSomeone, namely 'Kipawa', which translates to 'Gift'.
Watching the women create, all the while exercising their independence and their potential to plant an entrepreneurial seed, was so incredibly promising in the future of the village and Tanzania as a whole, so long as we guide them in the direction they are destined to be, a job that BeSomeone works passionately on.
Volunteering with BeSomeone Worldwide felt like an unfair exchange. BeSomeone made me feel secure in my schedule, made a point to use me in a way that would develop me too, and immersed me in the work, play and culture of one of the most beautiful, hopeful and promising countries I have ever been to, all the while I got to spend my time with the most enriching human beings. My volunteer trip introduced me to a world I will never mentally leave and will physically return to regularly. BeSomeone gave me my 'Kipawa'.