This weekend, I had the chance to visit my future dream. A dream that has been going around and around in my mind like the wind mills of Holland. A dream that has been pulling on my heart strings and one that I wish to fulfill in the near future.
The whole trip to Arusha this weekend started on a bad foot. It was pouring rain here in Dar es Salaam but that did not stop planes from landing and taking off. My flight was delayed twice. Then whispers that there was no plane began to get louder. The possibility of not being able to meet my ex colleagues and students from my previous school in Bangkok put me into over drive and I had to find another way to get there.
Within an hour, I withdrew money from an ATM, bought another ticket for another flight, went behind the counters to retrieve my bag and then checked back in again. My faith in humanity and peoples' kindness was restored that hour. One of the passengers on my canceled flight found out that I had less that 24 hours to spend in Arusha. She had already bought the new ticket and wanted to change the name on it to mine. I was so touched by her gesture but thankfully there was another place available and we both got to go. The plane was full as there were others who wanted to change flights and so we were extremely lucky.
The reunion was awesome... I met the students' bus mid way between the airport and their trip to the snake farm. I nearly fell back out of the bus door because I was engulfed in warm bear hugs as soon as I stepped in. Great laughs and lots of catching up was done. I was so thrilled that I was able to find another flight to make it to see their sunshine faces.
The next morning, and before I headed back to the airport, I was taken on a tour of Peace Matunda. My ex- students and teachers were there to work with students and orphans on the Peace Matunda Project location. It is a project which one Tanzanian man established to provide shelter and an education for orphans in the area. It grew from a small daycare center to an orphanage, school and now a tours and campsite company (a certain percentage of it goes to the orphanage and school). It caters for the needs of 23 orphans and provides a healthy and nurturing environment for them. The school enrolls around 250 students from the area and of course the orphanage itself.
I was inspired... the whole project brought my dream to the forefront; helping the refugees in Jordan by establishing small schools around the camps. If one man with a clear vision of what he wanted to do could build such a project in the foothills of Meru, on the outskirts of Arusha, in a semi- remote area, then I could definitely do it for Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian refugees in the deserts and hills of Jordan.
Not only has this trip reestablished connections amongst friends and students, but revived and fueled a dream that I have. Let the research begin and the ideas of how to do it flow.
That trip was meant to be. I was meant to go to Arusha. I was meant to hug my friends and I was meant to witness such a great project and meet giving inspirational beings.
ps. Please visit Peace Matunda's website and check whether you would like to help out. To sponsor one students is only 25 dollars a month.