One aspect of Tanzanian culture that continues to impress us is the sense of community. This culture is very communal with anything and everything they do. Pain, death, happiness, wealth, and celebrations are all communal in this culture.
Recently a child who receives services from BCC has made a huge breakthrough! When Brian started receiving services from BCC in 2007 he could not walk and had difficulty with mobility. Thanks to physical therapy, the proper equipment, appropriate nutrition, and staff training, Brian is now able to walk on his own! For the past few years he was able to use a walker to walk. Very recently he has become completely independent in his mobility!
The day center Brian attends is located in the Moshi parish. During the Sunday service two weeks ago, someone announced Brian’s success and the work that BCC had done to make his success a possibility. The church community decided to celebrate with a thanksgiving offering that would benefit BCC. Even though most people who attend this church make about one to two dollars a day, the congregation gathered an offering of 460,000 Tanzanian Shillings (tsh), or about $290 for BCC!
We, and the management staff at BCC, are incredibly humbled by this offering. The church community was so selfless in their donations and they were all very excited about Brian’s successes. This is a true example of what communal living looks like. It is generosity, such as this, that makes the Tanzanian culture so different from many other cultures we have experienced.
Another inspiring thought relates to the general culture regarding individuals with disabilities in Tanzania. Five years ago, Brian was kept inside the house and hid from others because the family felt shame due to his disability. Now, because of his successes and the efforts of BCC, the entire Tanzanian church community celebrated his successes.
Moments like these do not seem like much sometimes, but they are the very moments that create change in a culture. We congratulate Brian for his successes and we congratulate the Moshi parish for working to advocate for individuals with disabilities. Together, this community is changing the Tanzanian culture on disability one celebration at a time.