Thursday, September 27, 2012

Extra Motivation

Again, it’s been quite long while between updates,  I apologize.  It’s seems I’ve embraced the rate of work here in Tanzania J

So, “extra motivation”….
I have to say, although I’m not trying to brag, that Tabitha and I our pretty motivated.  In the grand spectrum of motivation, I would say we’re definitely near the top.  We’re pretty self-driven and committed to what we’re trying to do here in Tanzania.  So, I would probably say, we don’t need much more motivation.  We’re pretty motivated already. 

However, the Tanzanian government has decided to give us EXTRA MOTIVATION!! And for that, I guess.. we’re… thankful??? I’m not really sure.  I mean I guess you can’t be mad at someone for motivating more.  You have to thank them and appreciate what they’ve done for you.  It’s a like the teacher that pushes you to work harder or the coach that pushes you to do more reps when you’re ready to collapse in a ball on the floor.  So, I guess the Tanzanian government is like a good coach or something because whether they intend it or not, they are motivating us to work harder than we’re already working. 
So how did they motivate us, you ask? (you did ask, right???) Even if you didn’t, you and I both know there is a lengthy email coming to explain J

So, when I last left off, we were dealing with the Tanzania government.  I explained that the land had been measured, a letter drafted, and all we needed was for the letter to be signed by the government officials. And now,  after more meetings, a few more trips to the district office, we’re still basically in the exact same place…. Well, I guess not exactly the same place.. we do have a SHED! A beautiful temporary corrugated tin shed that we built after we were told we had the land (but before we had the signed letter).  We were ready to move forward with building our house, we drafted up the floor plan and everything but then that was put on hold as the final letter is still in processing.

Basically, according to people at the district office, we have the land.  All 30 glorious acres!!! Apparently, the first measurement was off quite a bit but this measurement is exact and it’s AMAZING! 30 acres HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But despite having the land, we don’t yet have all the documents we need to build on the land.  It’s still on the way.  And it’s been on the way for over a month…. And it’s been frustrating to say the least.  Extremely frustrating. 

The way we see it, we’re doing something that will help the entire community.  And after meeting with the entire community, they agree that what we’re doing will help all of them and they are on board with the project.   The problem lies not with the people in the village, but with those with the big tummies, sitting in the fancy offices who appear to be thinking only of themselves.
So basically, the government is corrupt.  There is no question about it.  Instead of doing things to help the people, they are only doing things to help themselves.  And if that were the extent of it, then that would one thing.  BUT it appears that there are people in the government who are actively attempting to prevent the project from happening, which means not only is the government NOT doing things to help the kids, they are doing things to prevent others from helping kids.

So, that means we have two options.
We can give up, let them win, pack our bags and blow this popsicle stand OR as they say in Swahili, we can KAZA MOYO (grip our heart) and not give up.  We can remind ourselves that what we’re doing this for the kids.  The kids who are being forgotten by the government and who are paying the price.  We can complain about the government and about how they aren’t helping the people but complaining doesn’t get you anywhere.  I’m sure there is some wise quote somewhere about complaining.. I won’t be pretentious a second time and quote myself again J.
So, after many stressful days and more than a tear or two, we have decided to use the government’s actions as EXTRA MOTIVATION.  We’ve decided to not give up because what we’re doing is for the kids and if everyone waits for the government to do it, the only ones who suffer are the kids.  So, we’re going to KAZA MOYO and we’re not going to “KATA TAMAA” (cut hope) and we’ll see what happens.  Good things don’t come easy, so what we’re doing must be an extremely GOOD thing!! J

The positive side is that there is a new District Commissioner (top dog) in the district office.  It’s a woman.  She seems pretty awesome. We’re hopeful that she’s going to be able to bring a bit of shake up to the office.  Unfortunately they have been busy with the national census so things have been a bit backed up.  Hopefully in the next week or so we’ll see where things will go.   We’ll keep crossing our fingers and our toes and we’ll keep believing that what we want to do will happen!!!!   

And I guess we’re hoping that you’ll keep believing with us!!  Our journey is a long one that can’t be rushed.  We we are making sure we follow all procedures and jump through all the right hoops so that at the end of it all, we have the most amazing HERO HOME possible!
We’re going to keep following up with the government procedures and we believe that things will work out and in no time our tears of frustration will become tears of joy and we see buildings going up around us on the Hero Home property!! Wouldn’t that be sweet!!!

With the down time I’ve had, I’ve started a new project (I’m not totally convinced I don’t have ADHD, the idea of sitting idle is a scary thought!!).  So, I’ve found an amazing tailor in Kisesa.  He’s 19 years old kid and he’s an amazing sewer!!  His nickname is Bonge (which means Tubby or Fatso, in Swahili, a name I am familiar with, but it’s one of those ironic nicknames as he probably weighs all of 100lbs (when wet).  He’s extremely talented and we’ve been working full steam on making awesome shoulder bags, purses, and wallets using colourful Tanzania fabric!!  I’m biased of course, but I think they are GORGEOUS!!! We’re also in the process of creating a reversible strap for yoga mats for all the yoga lovers out there!  Everything looks really good, excellent quality, super strong and all of the bags are double stitched!!!  I’ll be selling the bags at craft sales in Winnipeg once again get back, which is shockingly in less than 1 month.  I’m back in Winnipeg on October 10th and will be attending my first craft sale out in Otterburne, Manitoba on October 20th. If you’re in the area, definitely come check us out!  I’ll be at a few craft sales in Winnipeg as well and will not only be selling bags, but the  beloved Zanzibar scarves will be available and this time I’m bringing back gorgeous hand-woven Rwandan baskets, Tanzanian batiks and handmade earrings and bracelets from Kenya.  Like always, all the proceeds from the sales go to support the construction of Hero Home.  I’ll be posting my sale dates on our facebook page once they are confirmed and of course, you’re always more than welcome to call me up and come check out the stuff yourself!  They make excellent Christmas presents!!!
The last little bit of news is that I was back in Rwanda last week.  I went to check on the nursery school.  I got to deliver tooth brushes courtesy of the Charleswood Dental Clinic and pencil crayons and pencils for all the students courtesy of Claire Cassidy Kojima’s mom out in London, England.  The kids were super excited and really thankful! Please check out the uber cute pictures on our facebook page!  The nursery school door has been repaired since I was there in May and it looks great!! Marceline is doing really well and in exciting news, some of the parents have started paying school fees! I mentioned in the last bulk email that the goal is to have the parents start paying 500Frw (approx. 75cents) per term for school.  The small amount of money will allow Marceline to buy chalk and some supplies for the school and have a tiny bit of income for herself.  Eventually we are working to have the parents pay enough so that we can afford to pay another teacher.  It will take a while to convince the parents, but like we’ve seen with Hero Home, good things take time!  So we’re being patient with the parents!  We’re also working on a proposal with a university in Edinburgh that we’re hoping will result in a library, a play structure and a rain water catchment system! Fingers crossed we get accepted!!!

Okay, that’s all for now!!! 
I hope everyone enjoyed the summer! I hear it was a beautiful one in Winnipeg!
I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back.
Take care! Tupo pamoja (we are together- in Swahili)