Giving back and supporting others – that’s what makes the world go round. In fact, I forgot just how much immersing myself in a different culture, giving back and working alongside the people sets my soul on fire. The sharing of energies in these situations amazing.
While in Tanzania I took part in a volunteer project with UGO Travel For Change and we partnered with The Dare Women’s Foundation. It has been so many years since I partook in a group trip. Yet the values of UGO Travel For Change spoke to my core, so it was a no brainer to go on this adventure with them. Plus the group of women(and one guy) on this trip fit together like a perfect puzzle. It was amazing how much we all complimented each other as a group. I would for sure join UGO again.
The Dare Women’s Foundation does incredible work in Tanzania. It is an NGO working to empower Tanzanian women and girls, with a focus on rural areas, through poverty alleviation, social justice, economic empowerment, and gender equality.
The foundation had a piece of land donated to them, and with it, they plan on building a home where women who need shelter can live, heal and work on building a sustainable future. We came to help build them a fence to enclose their property.
I love hands-on work. There is something so satisfying about getting dirty and doing physical labour. Especially when you are doing it alongside an amazing community of locals. It was very hot, and that took to get used to, but the sweatiness just added to the whole experience. This is literally where the term ‘sweat hot mess’ is very fitting.
Every day the mama’s would come and out of nowhere they would build fires on the ground and whip up the most incredible meals. I mean unbelievable meals. Makes me think I need to step up my game next time I am camping.
Song and dance accompanied all the tasks and even the bus rides. There was always singing going on. It always amazes me how the people in Africa truly know how to enjoy life. Making the most of every day and every moment.
I would have to say the cement was the hardest part of the work. First, we had to mix it on the ground and then we had to carry it in buckets to the fence where we then poured into the ground to create the cement base. Most of the buckets didn’t have proper handles so that would be why I would say it was the hardest. It was more so just painful for the hands.
The baby goats made my day – every day! The neighbours were kind enough to let us use their outhouse for the duration of the project and on their little property; they had cows, goats and chickens. I had no idea that playing with baby goats is one of my absolute favourite things to do in life. Now I know.
Before we finished the project, we each planted a tree on the property. The significance being we leave a piece of us that will grow and be something beautiful when we return.
On our final day, we had a farewell party. All the mamas came as well as the construction guys for lunch and a little ceremony so we could thank them for all of their amazing hospitality. We all pitched in to prepare the food with as much love as they used to prepare all of our food.
We sang we ate, we danced, and we said our heartfelt ‘see you again’ to each other.
It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It encompassed so many of my passions all in one and it ignited this massive desire to incorporate more of this into my life once again. It is a good reminder we should always take the time to do something we love, whatever lights us up, even if it is just something brief, as that light we gain from it will overflow to all areas of our life.
The more you give the more you get, and I am starting 2019 off full of gratitude. It is about more than just giving back. On the deeper side, it is about community and connection on a global scale.