Mambo vipi! (What’s up?)
As we enter into our fourth week in Tanzania, a hot topic of discussion among us team members has been the amount of impact a group of eight students can realistically have over the course of three months in our host communities. A misconception about our working abroad is that we are donating our time to help those in need, when in reality the amount we gain from this experience far surpasses the amount we actually have the capacity to give. And as we begin to meet with members of community who have their own expectations of SIHA, this can be a very overwhelming thought.
Nonetheless, awareness of our limitations as a student-run organization is an important step. As the impact of the change we strive to make is not always immediately apparent, it is important to be patient and remember the “little victories” that we accomplish along the way. For example, during a recent meeting, a leader of the Maasai notified us that as a result of SIHA providing subsidized bed nets to people in his community last summer, there were no Maasai deaths from malaria over the past year. Comments such as these reminds us that although our efforts favour our personal development over tangible impact in the community, our small accomplishments are appreciated and should not be dismissed.
|Thought-provoking discussions at our weekly Strategic Planning Meeting|
Although three months is not a long time to be in-country, our lovely community consultants, Charles and Gladness, are in Tanzania year round to continue with project activities after our departure. As this is the first year community consultants are working with SIHA, we look forward to observing how their presence maximizes the impact we have, including improvement in project continuity, community engagement in projects, and community relations with SIHA.
Thank you again for reading. Next week we take a mid-summer trip to Zanzibar! Talk to you then.
SIHA Team 2016