Help! I need somebody..





Help! I need somebody.

I have never been so deeply into a banana jungle as I was yesterday. The maze of red clay pathways; banana, papaya, mango and avocado trees (among other species not yet known to me) created a labyrinth in which to reflect on. There is so much to reflect on here in Kilema that I find myself needing to be quiet; to sit by the river and process it all. This is “in your face learning” where we all question the best way to help.

Ideas come in smaller conversations: “what about a home based care program, what if the hospital were able to offer a discount to disabled patients who have to travel from far away villages, if only there could be a tutoring program, how can we get more people on board with solar education, what about sponsoring a specific child?”.

We all want to help. What is the best way to help? “It”, help, starts at the foundation; through meaningful discussion, slow observations and with self-reflection.

On Saturday last, we were at the CACHA office distributing some of the educational supplies we brought from The Compassion Warehouse in Victoria. We measured for school uniforms and for shoes. My job was to trace each student’s foot on a piece of notebook paper with a pen for the shoemaker in the next village to use as a template for new shoes. Most of the children I measured wore flip-flops, all had collapsed arches. This signaled something in me, the collapsed arches, as if suggesting a need for some support, for some help.

Indeed, support IS required for Tanzanian students at large. There are so many that fail. Some say, the system is set up so that students WILL fail, a sort of Darwinian application to education. Others remain hopeful.

Hope and faith play a vital role here, like smiling nuns offering an arch of support. There is hope with the newly elected government for change and faith that change will actually happen. My time here to help is short, very short. Can I help? Help happens over time, I think; with consistency and sustainability. Help happens when we enter into another culture as it is, rather than thinking we can change it in two weeks time. Help happens by spreading hope and faith with each handshake, each smile and by listening. People around the world want to be heard, this is a universal truth.

Today is medical supply distribution day and then a road trip to Arusha to visit more students, to witness how, over time, Pole-Pole (as they say in Swahili) help happens.







Leave a Reply