Kaylee Dawson Experiences TanzaniaAugust 27, 2019 4:32 pm
Kaylee Dawson visited Tanzania for the first time in June on the Experience Tanzania trip. She talks a little bit about the trip and how it impacted her perception of life.
As I made my way halfway across the world, I was filled with anxieties and worry. I had never been on a volunteer trip before, yet alone a place like Tanzania. I had no idea what to truly expect, but from the moment I landed in Mwanza, I knew I was there for a greater purpose. However, it was not until I arrived at the Mainsprings campus that I finally felt a calming sense of ease. As I pulled up to the center of the campus, there was an indescribable feeling of joy and love as the forty-seven girls who live at the girls home swarmed us with open arms and tight squeezes. From this moment forward, I knew this was going to be a life changing experience.
Growing up in a privileged household, I took most things for granted, like having a dish washer, air-conditioning, or even ice cubes. I have always looked at these things as if they were necessities that everyone should have. It wasn’t until I had to hand wash 300 plus plates in a round plastic, 3-foot tub with a bar of soap and wash rag, that I thought to myself of all those times I had complained about having to rinse a dish or empty that wonderful machine that did all of the hard work for me. It was mind blowing to me how much I depended on these luxuries to be satisfied in life. There is no question this trip has helped me understand that these luxuries are simply just that- luxuries. They are not necessities to live a happy life. The men, women, and children at Mainsprings are the ones who helped teach me this.
At the end of my trip, I was asked by founder, Christopher Gates, “What did you learn most from this trip?”, and after some thought I came up with these two big learning experiences.
The first: Life is too short. Many of us, including myself, live each day filled with stress due to our day to day responsibilities. We really use so much of our time and energy just trying to get through our stress filled days without recognizing or acknowledging the wonderful things that surround us. Life is too short to live day by day like this. Everyone across the world has stressful responsibilities, but we all respond to them differently. While in Tanzania, I observed how hard everyone works, and let me tell you, they work incredibly hard just to have drinking water and food on the table. But to my surprise, not a day goes by that a smile, laughter, or welcoming spirit is not seen or felt. This is the life they have been given, this is how they live, and they are going to live each day to it’s fullest.
The second thing I learned was-we are so unbelievably privileged! We should all have a general understanding of the privileges we have, but most of the people I am around do not realize how truly blessed they are. When most people learn or comprehend the level of privilege they have compared to those who live in poverty, a feeling of shame consumes them. This happened to me as well, butI recently learned that we should not feel ashamed or embarrassed of our privileges, because that is the life that God has blessed us with. However, we should use our blessings for the better. I had the opportunity to fly to Africa and volunteer, showing the girls at Mainsprings love, care, and thoughtfulness because that is what everyone deserves to feel. But all of us can use our privileges to help those who are struggling to have a life with basic human necessities. Nobody is any less deserving of living a happy life simply because they were born in a place that does not offer the same opportunities.
This trip has forever changed my perspective of the world around me and the much larger world as a whole. I cannot encourage everyone enough, regardless of anxiety or worry, to go on an adventure and explore a world different than yours. Try to not let the stresses in your life overwhelm you and deter you from enjoying the little things. Appreciate the blessings around you and take the time to do something for someone else who needs your help. You never know what impact you can have in someone’s life, even with the smallest of gifts.
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This post was written by Mainsprings