So…I’m back in America!!! I flew in to houston last night (11/17/09), and stayed with my brother and his family. I will complete the last leg of my three plus day journey when i arrive in Jackson this evening. There are white people everywhere…ahhh! My heart is filled with emotions as I rediscover all that I love about America while missing so many things about Tanzania. Nine months down the road and I’m completely an American citizen and a Tanzanian resident… I never anticipated the difficulty of having my heart so invested in two places so far apart. I am sure the adjustment will be great as I try to unravel the yarn ball of my emotions, of so many sad goodbyes and joyful hellos. The next few weeks will be spent sorting through all that I learned and accomplished during my first nine months in Tanzania. But for now, I am just soaking up every hug, every conversation, and every smiling face as I am reunited with family and friends.
Oh, so in case you didn’t know already, I will be in America from the mid’ November to mid’ February. I came back to spend the holidays with family and do more fundraising for my next year in Tanzania. The Courage House still has another phase of renovation, we need to buy a vehicle, and I need to cover my living expenses. I will also be raising awareness about child prostitution and human trafficking, and how we are trying to make a difference in Tanzania. I am also promoting several volunteer opportunities we have coming up: a renovation project in April, Kilimanjaro benefit climb in July, and more. Please let me know if you would like more information or if you would be interested in hosting an event for me to speak (at your church, with a service group, or just your group of friends and family).
Ok… So my last month in Tanzania was quite a whirlwind. I definitely ended on a high note. A team came to renovate the building that will eventually be Courage House Tanzania. We spent three weeks camping outside, using solar showers and squatty potties…back to the basics for sure! We worked hard every day, and gathered around a bonfire under the stars every night. By the time we left, we ran a water line from the well to the Courage House and officially have running water!! Additionally, we ran water lines to the village clinic, the nurses’ home, the school, and the church. We also ran a line to a tank a couple kilometers out of the village, which will supply clean water for three more villages. That in itself was a huge accomplishment! I am so glad that we are able to make an impact on the people around us. They welcomed us to the village with a HUGE four foot long catfish they caught in the lake. Let’s just say it looked cooler than it tasted. Ok, so back to the renovation… We also built an outdoor kitchen, reinforced the exterior fence, hauled out the bat infested ceilings (the nastiest thing I have EVER experienced) and reinstalled clean, pretty ceiling tiles. We hooked up solar electricity for the entire compound, and bleached just about everything we could. I am so excited about all the progress we made, but there is still quite a bit of work to do before the girls can move in.
Before the renovation team returned to America, several of the guys did some undercover work at the brothels in town. They got lots of information and footage that i could have never gotten, and were even able to talk to the owner. By the end of the night, they bought a couple of young prostitutes and spent some time talking to them and praying with them. The mission was beyond successful as we have plenty of information to work with now, and those two girls had a break from the hell they usually experience, even if it was only for a night. I am more excited than ever to get back and start working more intently to gather information and prepare to get girls.
Please continue to pray that my time in America will be sweet, and that I will raise enough financial support to continue the work in Tanzania. Thank you all so much for your support during this first nine months away, your words and encouragement got me through the tough times and brightened even the best of days. Hopefully I can see you while I’m home…