Monday, July 22, 2013

HERO HOME- The Next Chapter

For anyone who has been following GO! through the years, you know we have had our ups and downs, our triumphs and our struggles. Throughout it all, we have tried our best to keep positive, keep motivated and stay focused on our goal which is providing love and support for kids and communities in need. It has not been an easy journey (feel free to read over past blog posts for a reminder) and many a tear has been shed in the process. 

When I left Tanzania last October, Tabitha was still in discussion with the District Government. If you remember the very last blog post (“Extra Motivation”) from last year, we were waiting for the District Government to deliver the promised building permits so that we could begin construction. Tabitha talked to a variety of people in the local and district government offices, but days continued to speed by with little sign of progress. We waited patiently, believing that the government officials would realize the value of our project and the positive impact it would have on the community. We believed that the government would give the community what they wanted and deserved. In the end, to our greatest sorrow and regret… we were wrong. 

After waiting patiently for a response, we learned from a variety of sources that the government had no intention of delivering the permits. No intention of supporting our project… until we delivered a sizable bribe in the form of a SUV. All I can say is that we were devastated… beyond devastated… but fortunately not entirely defeated. 

When we learned that the government had no intentions of allowing our project to progress without a substantial bribe, we sat back and re-grouped. Well, first we cried, ranted, I’m sure I threw a few things, cried some more… and then we re-grouped. We know that our goal is worthwhile and we know that we have the ability to make it happen, despite the road blocks set up before us. It was devastating to think of all we lost.... the time, the energy, the well, the bricks, and most importantly, the money. But fortunately, after re-grouping, we realized that we didn’t lose our heart or our motivation… so we made a Plan B. We realized, though too late, that nothing is free in this world, and the “free” government land in fact, had a huge hidden price tag. If only foresight 20/20… So, to not encounter the same problems, we decided that Plan B was to buy our own land. It would give us the freedom to build whatever we wanted without having to constantly deal with intrusive and corrupt government officials. 

So, that’s what we have done. Tabitha spent January and February looking for a piece of land and in March, she found the perfect piece. Our new land is 6 acres and it is in Bukama, a small village in North-Western Tanzania. We are still only a few kilometres away from Lake Victoria, and only five hours north of Mwanza. Although it is not the 30 acres we started with, the difference is that it is ours! All ours and it is beautiful! There is a stream running beside the land, which means water and sand for construction is not an issue. There are rocks on the land which can be dug up and broken down and are perfect for construction, there are gorgeous trees, including two beautiful mango trees and guava trees!!!! And the best part is that the community, including the government officials, have all been incredibly supportive. Everyone is thrilled about the project and cannot wait for things to get started.  Check out the slideshow below to see a few of the initial pictures! There are more updates on the way and videos coming soon!

So, that is the latest news. It has been an extremely emotional time for Tabitha and I and everyone at GO!. It has taken all our energies to keep positive and keep moving forward but I do believe we are finally on the right track. I spent all of May out on the land with Tabitha and our new workers. We have already begun clearing the land, we have put up a shed, and we have already started measuring out the sports fields. Things are moving along and we have incredible support in the community. Tabitha and I are thrilled to be in the new location and cannot wait to see what the future holds. I guess our only worry is whether people back home will continue to believe and support our project. We hope so. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask. We hope that you will continue to believe in our commitment to making Hero Home a reality for kids in need. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us thus far. We would never be able to get where we are without your support 

Thanks so much! 

Amanda &The GO! Team