It was in the beginning of July, I have just arrived two or three days before and hereI was in the back of a truck, the dust and the crazy-driving were the best signs that we were far from our little Canada. I was finally getting to Msitu Wa Tembo. The women that we have been hearing of for months were at only 30 (adventurous)minutes away. The first time you take this truck, you might think it will also be your last. But it then became one of the highlights of my day. Every morning the ride was a little hard but it worked well in waking me up… And at the end of each day, you got the chance to enjoy the sunset, the lands, the Kilimanjaro, and the quietness.
After the truck travel, you arrived into the community of Msitu. I have to admit: I was highly impressed by the welcoming that we received the first time we encountered all the women. 100 persons who do not share your language might be a little bit scaring and yet I spent more than one month with my partner Mika enjoying every meeting, every discussion, every class we had with these women. And I have to say: it was more fun and enriching than scaring, believe me!
Our task was to facilitate to the diverse groups of women to achieve different projects which could allow them to be more independent and proactive in their activities. It was meaningful for them not to just wait for some financial help but really enable them to take their future and destiny in control. For this purpose, we first implemented the norms and rules of the micro-credit program. Everything was achieved with the great help of our translator Sara (whose work and patience were incredible, a big thank to her!), and then came the time of the classes with every group, teaching every women how to run a business (we started at the real basics!).
These moments that we spent, just us along with Sara (who became like our second mother), the small groups in the class or the big reunions with all the women, taught me so much about relationships. We were young, non-experienced at teaching, and not able to speak fluently in their language, but yet these “pupils” were amazingly willing to learn and they would show you that every effort you made was far from being worthless. I gained a lot of confidence in what people can achieve together even if the circumstances seem hard in the beginning. Nothing is hard; it only takes a little more faith and trust in each other’s capacities, even your own.
I know we might feel sometimes ourselves not to be ready yet, as if we have this whole life ahead of us and we will have plenty of time to discover other parts of our own person. But I can tell you something that these months in TATU Project taught me: do not wait too much to volunteer, to go out there and experience what it is like. First of all because you will never regret it and it is never too early to learn something about yourself. But also because even though you may not realise it yet, these persons, these women that I met (and helped as much as they helped me), are worth being encouraged. They are worth to be accompanied also in their desire to become freer and achieve their projects, and to discover another part of themselves too.