Last Thursday, before I left for San Francisco, I held a potluck benefit for the African Childcare Center in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. One of my first soccer coaches was the first through the door, followed by dear friends, one after the other. It was profoundly touching for me to see all of these people come together to make conversation and connections in my living room and at the same time invest in the education and care of a group of children more than 8,000 miles away.
The children at the African Childcare Center are those too poor to pay tuition for school, and many of them have been orphaned by HIV/Aids or malaria. On most days, the center provides them with a meal of porridge or rice, but sometimes they can’t afford this small offering. About 25% of the children carry the HIV virus. But despite the difficult lives they lead, these children are bright lights of energy and joy. They are a part of the future of Tanzania, and such a part of my life as well.
I am so proud and awesomely grateful to tell you that my friends, teachers, mentors, and neighbors contributed more than $600 to the cause of these beautiful and brave children. In San Francisco, my friend and co-founder of VolunteerAlliance held a potluck as well and raised another $200. To give you a general idea of what these funds will be able to accomplish, consider these numbers: $30 will cover one teacher’s salary for a month, $60 will provide food for the children for a month, and $80 will pay for all 60 children to have doctor’s checkups and medicine. I received children’s books, jump ropes, and baseball caps to give as well.
As soon as I can make a trip to Bagamoyo, I will deliver the donations and post updates here. Thank you so much–or as they say in Tanzania, asante sana.