Sometimes life can blow your mind. At other times life can simply seem too damn tough. Many times life is a joy. At all times life is an unfair balance of these things.
Like the iconic justice scales which symbolise a fair and equal administration of the law, life is also a balance which is rarely equally split between the scales. In fact I would beg the question, “does the balance of life ever sit equally across the two scales?” I think not.
For me personally, the challenges of the life I have chosen to live in Tanzania seemed overwhelmingly difficult during my month-long trip back to Europe. The proverbial scales felt heavily weighted against me. The distance and differences between my two lives was so great that it made the challenges I face in Tanzania seem insurmountable. Several personal factors have weighed in heavily and added to that negative side of the scales, pulling them down to breaking point.
However, my trip has given me a better perspective on my life personally and being back here for less than a week has balanced that perspective. There is a need for massive reforms and financial support within the Tanzanian education system in order to give the kids here a fair and equal opportunity for education. But I am not here to set the scales straight for the whole country. My frustration at a government system that outlaws children as young as twelve for the sin of a failed exam and precludes them from every form of government sponsored education from that miniscule moment of failure is huge. But I am not here to set the big picture straight, I cannot do that.
I am looking for an organisational structure where I can make a
difference to children’s lives and help to impact on their future…
My original application to join the Amani Centre way back in May 2013 made this statement and that is what I am here to do. I finished my contracted time at Amani (with the satisfaction that there are individual children from within that organisation whose lives I have helped to make a difference to) and have moved to pastures new with different challenges.
As an aside this is one of the first of many wonderful pictures dedicated to me by the kids at Amani. This boy clearly also feels that life is a balance. Interesting that he depicts me (Donald Duck?!?) as having to weigh up the balance between books and money, says a lot I think.
I have chosen to step into a vastly different arena, Good Hope Community Support and have boldly taken on a start-up fledgling organisation which has survived a helter skelter, sometimes rocky beginning of three full years fuelled by nothing more than love, dedication and a strong moral feeling of community obligation within the management team that founded and structured the organisation. Plus a plethora of willing and loyal volunteers that remain supportive long after their return to their homelands.
Sometimes life blows your mind. Yep, that’s how I felt! Sitting in the comfort of my family’s home with my Grandchildren cuddled up next to me watching TV in Norway, chatting with good friends over breakfast of pitufo Iberico and good coffee in Spain, laughing and joking comfortably over a beer and olives with good friends in England, sharing that familiarity that history with people gives. Yep, the sheer enormity of the challenge of life in Tanzania blew my mind.
I am back, I am frightened, I am over whelmed but… I will do my utmost to ensure that I can remain in Tanzania for the next year and in that time I will help to make a direct impact on individual children of Good Hope’s lives. I will help create and map career plans and do my best to provide the means to follow them. I will attempt to ensure the organisation has the basic structure and systems behind it to survive into the future and grow.
I will do none of this alone, Good Hope already has a growing number of dedicated, generous, caring and loving people helping and supporting them across the world and here on the ground in Moshi.
Why will I do this? Let me introduce just a small selection of the reasons in their own words:
My name is Amina and I am 15 years old. In my life, I would like to be the President of Tanzania. I’m the only girl in my family. My hobby is reading books. I finished standard seven in 2014, but my mother does not have the ability to pay for school fees.
My name is Julius I like Good Hope because Good Hope helps children and because children can study for free.
Good Hope is a centre which help the orphans, the children which live in hard environment. Good Hope reduces the increas of street children. Evance
My name is Yvonne I am 18 years old, I want to be a good teacher for nursery school and I want to help the children who do not have the ability to go to school, such as street children and orphans. I finished secondary school, I got my result but my mother does not have the ability to pay for school fees to go to college.
Good Hope is important because it help children who not got education. Yvonne
My name is Philipo and I was born in Moshi. I am 15 years old. At Good Hope my purpose is to study because I want my future to be good. I want to be a tour guide. For me education is life and that is why I like to study.
The students of Good Hope like to study and learn more in their subjects. In Good Hope we have some tools for teaching like maps, books, blackboards. We have no kitchen to cook lunch. Schola
My name is Richard. I was born in Arusha. When I lived in Arusha, life was good for me and my mother, but one day my grandmother wanted me to live with her. I went to my grandmother when I was 5 years old and my mother went back to Arusha.
Various students responses when asked what Good Hope meant to them:
It helps me with my problems. It helps me fulfill my dreams. It gives me advice.
Good Hope has taken me away from my problems and hardship.
I will share this journey with you and introduce the players in this real life drama over the forthcoming weeks, prepare to laugh, prepare to shed a tear and prepare for life’s imbalances to shock and dismay you.
I am back, armed and ready for life to blow my mind.