Thoughts: Back in the US

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I get back to the states. We have so much- I have been given every essential my life ever required, plus a lot more, taken for granted that all of my needs are met comfortably and without the sacrifice of those immediately around me. Every time I return to Africa I revel in the contented nature of daily life. In the United States, during my daily life as a student, somehow there is some power urging me to compete, to create efficiency, to be the best. I buy things because I can. Get a latte without considering where the 12 oz. of milk originated, much less stopped to wonder at the options- do I want skim? 2%? Whole milk or soy milk? What about sugar? Syrup? Flavorings? Sugarfree?

In Tanzania, I feel like you know where that milk came from- because its source is staring you straight in the face when you buy it from the market. You kind of humbly want to …shake that cows hand (pardon me, hoof), or show it some offering of mutual respect for providing you with something to put in your coffee.

But in all seriousness, I want to explore this feeling I get when I am in Africa. The blessedness. The respect that everyone has for one another. The time that I take to stop and revel at the way light hits the gravel road. Why is it that here I am I so much more inclined to smile, stop to talk to someone on my way to do an errand? How can we learn from the community of Imbaseni, to better our programs, and create sustainable change? There is so much that I want to better understand about the daily lives of people we met on the trip…

To me, AIDSTanzania is not just about HIV and prevention, it is about the health of the entire community we visit. More and more I feel that we need to develop discussion among mothers, youth, students—people who maintain and grow the structure of the community. There is so much to do, but here they say “pole, pole…” (Slow, slow…) …. In any case, I hope I have done something to help at least one person in Imbaseni, I certainly know I have been changed for the better.

–Marigene

"Pole, Pole" : Imbaseni kids waiting for their turn to get water

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