With the house empty of 27 extra people, what does one take themselves to do? Seems like the most effective use of my time could be used to confront the endless streams of thoughts that have been passing through my head over the past few weeks.
I’m Lindsey... Swahili teacher extraordinare, resident “fun” co-ordinator, evening activities guru, extra body at the work site, answerer to the strangest of questions, money exchanger, daughter and sister to a few on the trip and most recently I’ve found myself to be the person with a few big decisions to make regarding my future. I never would’ve thought that a group of high school students would be the the people who would inspire me to immerse myself within what I’m most passionate about and never look back.
A year ago today, I was over half way through my nearly four month stay in Tanzania. I was jack of all trades at Camp Moses; volunteer co-ordinator, bread delivery person and budget creator. Most of all, however, I was somewhat of a sponge. I absorbed everything and relayed it through my blog; an attempt to convince my parents that they had made the right decision in agreeing to let their 17 year old daughter spend four months alone in Tanzania. I guess this might’ve been one of several catalysts for the trip the group is on today. How I weaseled my way into it, I have no idea.
My biggest worry in accompanying this group was how I would overcome my jealousy of them sharing in on those extremely intimate and for me, life altering, experiences I had last year. It’s one thing to share them through words and another thing completely to physically show a group of (to me) somewhat strangers, where my memories were created. In the end, turns out I had nothing to be worried about.
The passion, hutzpah, emotion and dedication that these young people bring forward would be enlightening to anyone. I realized through this that maybe what I’m most passionate about isn’t having these experiences for myself, but helping to give incredible and out of the ordinary opportunities to people like myself who just want to see the world a better place, experience its challenges first hand and try and understand why things are the way they are. Everyday I smile a little more when a different student expresses a new view of the world, however small, or even has the guts to observe out loud what is different about life here and why it is just different and not better or worse. With every bucket of sand carried, or swing-set sanded, I know these kids are all coming closer to unearthing their own unique concept of what this trip means to them.
My role here has been to act as somewhat of a liaison between VolunteerAbroad the group of students. I’ve planned most of our outings, ironed out a lot of unexpected details and learned how to bargain the price of a daladala for a group of 30! I’ve rented out movie theatres because the showing wasn’t to the groups liking and planned for a restaurant to show ‘The Lion King’ just for us. I’ve worked from breakfast to bedtime everyday since I arrived the second week of July, and not once have I wished I was doing something else.
If I could work abroad, with people like the ones in this group, for the rest of my life then I would have my dream job. For now, I will cherish every moment I have left on this trip and will continue to to give my all to them... watching, learning and becoming inspired every step of the way.