My Past Missions

Ipalamwa, Tanzania, September 2009

I had wanted a challenge- something to take me out of my New York City life… and well being in a remote village in the Tanzanian mountains with no running water, no electricity and no escape seemed like the perfect fit. A huge plus was that after I had signed up with Global Volunteers- my brother was at a crossroads and said he was interested in joining me. The idea of being able to experience this with my brother was a once in a lifetime event. I was so psyched and we were off….

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Tanzania 2009


Scrabble Playing


A treat of soda pop after a hard day


Cultivating land so the students can grow their own crops


Installing an extra door to address fire hazard


Building door frames- just missing my pink tool belt


Lunch time showing videos from the day


Afternoon Stroll for Sugar Cane


The gang


Day at the Market


Me, Pamela, (fellow volunteer) and General


Play time


On the way to see the water project that was out on hold


We took a two day jeep ride with two other volunteers and a fabulous driver Mohommed. His smile was like a teddy bear. Through the journey, I often reflected on what I was seeing and trying to absorb every little detail. The drive was amazing- you went through cities and you saw the poverty and then you went through the villages that had no modern technology, yet you heard the laughter of the children. I was in awe- both because I was just in shock and second because I wanted to jump out of that jeep and help everyone I saw. It was quite a long journey but once we were there- all of the children came around us.

They had a welcome dance and I was simply overcome with emotion (holding back tears) I jumped right in and danced with absolutely no rhythm but surrounded with this immediate love. I wish I could put into words what comes over me when I get to these locations. It is like I come alive and I don’t want to waste one moment.

The projects for this village were mainly centered around construction and teaching. I was way more interested in the construction. Looking around the grounds I could see there was a ton that needed to get done but you quickly learned that we had to follow the list mandated by the government. Sledgehammer in hand we began to knock down parts of the dormitories walls to allow for an additional door and make sure that both doors opened in the proper direction. This is a great example- of how without the proper help these people are in harms way. There was a neighboring village where 12 people died as a result of the doors not properly opening and that there weren’t enough exits. I must admit that every time a piece of the wall came crumbling down, I knew we were making a difference. We also were mandated to work on the science laboratories. We were able to work along with the students and villagers. It was hard work- but we were singing and laughing the whole time. However deep down- I knew that no matter how hard we were working this wouldn’t be completed by the time I left. It was at that point (and many others along the way) that I wished I had the ability to stay. Through your conversations- you see that they need help fundraising, managing the projects, and quite simply they needed help developing their remote village that most people didn’t know existed. But I remind myself- that I can only make the most of the time I have- so I was going to get everything done that I could possibly do- which meant that I had to get the villagers off of African time and onto my schedule. It became a joke because I am was making my lists and checking things off.

One of the greatest rewards of this volunteer effort is that you are living and spending the entire time with the students and the villagers. You see how they are so welcoming and appreciative that you are there. You can close your eyes and feel the love and then you also saw the fear- the fear they don’t know if there will be another trip coming, the fear that they know they need help and that you might just be that ticket for them. With every trip, I feel compelled to try and do my best to help spread the word and help them develop. It is my goal through City Chik on a Mission to find a way to continue to help and show hope to this community among others.