After weeks of long goodbyes, putting the final touches on projects, and preparing for our departure from Tanzania, the time has finally come – we are headed home. By the time most people read this, we will be in Ethiopia. Melissa has some close friends from Ethiopia through her last job where she resettled refugees in the Denver Metro area. We will visit a few friends of those friends on our way off of the continent as a conclusion to our year in Tanzania. We hope that this time on our own will give us a chance to process everything that has happened over the past year. We also hope that we will have an opportunity to contemplate our future.
As of this moment, it is difficult to know what this experience has meant to us. This may be one of those experiences that we won’t be able to fully appreciate until much later in life. We have no way of knowing the long-term impacts of our experience here and it may be impossible to ever discern how this experience has altered our path in life.
Right now, there are only three things that we know for sure.
The first is that we want to work for human rights wherever we end up. To know that humans struggle with their daily lives many places in the world, and to not work to relieve that struggle, would be very difficult for us at this point in our lives. For us, this is not a cause, but more of a way of life.
The second thing we know is that we have learned far more than we have taught. We continue to contemplate events that have occurred here, how to best serve children with disabilities in developing countries, and what it means to walk with people instead of do things for them. We are eternally grateful to the staff at Building a Caring Community for welcoming us into their work, their culture, and their families.
The third thing that we know is that we are headed home. Back in June, we wrote ablog about chickens in Tanzania. Many of the homeowners in Tanzania own chickens; every day, the owners let the chickens out of the house and into the streets. The chickens roam around the streets all day. Once the sun sets, the chickens return home. Throughout the day, no one really knows where their chickens are, but the chickens return to their home every night.
Initially we thought this was humorous. Now we think that we can relate to the chickens. For the past year, we have been roaming around. No one really knew where we belonged, but in the back of our minds we knew where we were going. Finally, the sun is setting and the chickens are returning home.
Here is a picture of us at our going away party. In order from right to left: Rich, Melissa, Kaaya, Genevieve, Barb and John.
We would like to thank everyone for reading our blog throughout the past year. Also, thank you to everyone who has provided support through positive thoughts, prayers, and financial contributions. If anyone is still interested in Mosaic’s work internationally, you can subscribe to Rich and Barb’s (our supervisors) blog.
To our friends and families, thank you for supporting us in our life goals and dreams. We cannot wait to see you!
To the staff at Building a Caring Community and Mosaic, thank you for providing an opportunity for us to learn. This experience and the knowledge we have gained will be invaluable throughout the rest of our lives.