For the students, it is a clear desire to help. They are starting to appreciate, though, just how complex aid is. They are already asking questions about sustainable development and the need for projects to be embedded in the community, involving local motivation.
NAE had worked hard to find appropriate Arusha-based projects, but still there are questions. What can be done at Kitefu School without creating a disparity with other schools? Should we insist that the teachers who will live in the new accommodation contribute to the construction efforts?
In Natron, one of key project goals was/is to motivate the village and extended community to experiment with the gardening and farming techniques demonstrated in our school garden. I can’t wait to see the tangible sight of this next week. Have we succeeded?
Now I’ve turned to my motivation. Whilst it is obvious I feel a connection to roots-up projects, it’s fair to say my motivation is much closer to home.
I’m sitting on our safari bus looking at four of my students (three are with Carly on the other bus). I think of the seven disparate students who applied for the expedition last fall- they somehow seemed hesitant and gung-ho at the same time. Now they are a group- where their ages, sexes, nationalities and languages are an enrichment. They are asking the hard questions about feeling they are gaining more than giving; learning more than teaching. Who decides what development means? Why does our western culture seem enviable to the population here, when we know the pressures of 21st century living?
So my motivation is watching these students take a few steps on the road to the incredible adults they will become. I’m incredibly proud of them and those of you reading this back in Boston should be too. This is just one part of their journeys, but they are drawing fully on each new learning opportunity.