Kwa Heri, Kayci!

September 23, 2013 3:04 pm Published by

JBFC’s Outgoing Administrative Director, Kayci Hebard, says farewell to JBFC and shares what she’s learned after working in Tanzania for more than two years.

Over the last few years, JBFC has been more than just my place of work it has been my home, my family, my everything from the moment I wake up in the morning to a “knock, knock” on my door, until the moment I fall asleep dreaming about it and now my entire life has been flipped upside down… How do you sum up two and half years of your life? How do you accurately measure your time spent? How do you determine if it was spent wisely or to the fullest extent? These are the thoughts reeling through my mind at 2 am while I am shoving my last item into my “20 kilo” bag.

Have I done everything that needs to be finished? No, Pendo needs a new flash light, schedules need to be printed, trees need to be planted, Mama Mary needs more soap, Quick books has to be done, Papa’s restaurant needs a new food stock, budgets have to be updated, I still need to write my goodbye blog (Ashli may take my head), Pili needs a business plan… Needless to say that was not the end of the list and my head was exploding. How could I be leaving with so much unfinished business? Projects so incomplete? Panic started setting in…

I began concentrating on my breath, breathing slowly and fully and focusing on calming my mind, I then had a realization; there would never come a point where I would feel fully comfortable leaving. JBFC is living and breathing. It will always be growing, changing, facing difficulties, taking new opportunities and there will

always be tasks that will need to be accomplished. JBFC is constantly striving for more, opening itself up for opportunity, ready for growth and change, and these are just a few of the reasons why it has grown so rapidly in the last 6 years and why it will successfully continue its growth in the future and that’s why I am leaving… Yes, just as JBFC changes and grows so should I, so I am able to offer more, to help more, to be better equipped for the challenges and to be able to take better advantages of the opportunities. I owe it to myself, I owe it to JBFC (if I have the chance to work with them again in the future) and I owe it to any

organization that needs the support and expertise in order to grow successfully. It is time for me to go back to school I can honestly say, I would of never had this mindset if I had never grown with JBFC, never learned what it offered to teach, never let it change me and I did, thankfully, and it is time to show my appreciation by taking what it has given me and doing something with it.

Coming back to my earlier question, how do you accurately measure your time, your success? Is it the number in your bank account, the number of pictures you’ve taken, the amount of people you’ve treated, the kind of car you drive, the number of promotions you’ve been given, or is it realizing what you have learned and how you have grown during that time? Maybe; or maybe it’s a mixture of everything but without analysis you will never really know or fully understand what that time spent has meant. It was well put by Socrates, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” I have made a conscious effort over my last few days away from JBFC to think about how I am different from when I first arrived to Tanzania, what has impacted my life and what is now important to me that wasn’t before and what was important and is no longer; I notice little things throughout the day and I will hopefully continue to learn new things over the next several years, and I will probably never fully realize the changes and impacts this experience has given to me.

Here are just a few little things I have realized over the last couple of days of things I’ve learned during my

time at JBFC:

· Respect goes a long way

· When a child does something wrong discipline is necessary no matter how cute they are; it will help them learn and grow

· Don’t ever take good, clean, non-smelly drinking water for granted

· The beauty of the earth alone makes it worth saving

· Very awkward classes about the birds and the bees are a necessity for adolescent girls (and boys)

· Admitting your wrongs and weaknesses to yourself and others is the first step to correcting and changing them

· A half hour tickling fight is considered a full body work out

· An awkward moment only occurs when someone allows it, but everyone needs those moments once in a while

· Communication is key at all levels; once it breaks down so does everything else

· Speaking the same language doesn’t always mean complete understanding… Even if it’s both parties native tongue

· Mulch everything; even the children

· Kids notice EVERYTHING, so always be careful

· Children can do more than what they are typically given credit for; believe they are able and they will believe they are as well

· Appreciate the US government 

· Singing and dancing at any age is good medicine- Bibi Nyamawa is a good example

· When finding yourself outside with no flashlight on a new moon, walk in a high-knees fashion

· Be as clear as possible on instructions and expectations

· An honest smile will help any situation

· Charades is a sport

· Be thankful to God for what you have, no matter how little you may think it is, because there is always someone who has less

· Hugs are a must

· Teaching young girls about confidence will help to build your own confidence

· Being silent, shy and giggly only works for kids four and under

· The health benefits of moringa are amazing and should be shared with everyone

· Make a to-do list, not a schedule, it will help to keep sanity

· Healthier food needs to be cheaper in the US, produce is too expensive, one MASSIVE Avocado is $0.30 in Tanzania

· Words with ‘t’s Americans tend to say with “d” sounds; thank you liddle Zai for that observation

· Kids grow quickly, don’t blink

· Students who have access to good quality education don’t appreciate it and students who are given little or no education yearn for it

· Step out of your comfort zone – always be willing to try new things it will help you to discover amazing new things (kisamvu- sautéed greens with peanut butter…. Yes it is delicious)

· Maxi skirts and dresses are so comfortable

· Having a kitchen garden is a gift to yourself, the earth, your wallet and your friends and family on bountiful harvests

· I am still bad at football (soccer)

· “If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make the change” MJ

· Learn another language, though I am blessed to have English as my mother tongue

· Enough is actually enough

· You don’t need 57 choices of ketchup

There are so many people I am thankful for during my time at JBFC and there is no way I could list

everybody here but let me just name a few; I am so grateful for Chris and the JBFC Board for giving me the

opportunity to work for this beautiful organization and thank you for taking the chance on me; a big thank you to all the staff and students who welcomed me so warmly and openly into your lives, and the biggest thank you to the girls of JBFC for opening up their family and accepting me for who I am, thank you for all your smiles, hugs and beautiful voices. JBFC has helped me grow in every way over the last couple of years and in return I can only hope that I have helped it grow.

Kayci Hebard volunteered for a summer in Tanzania in 2008, before coming to work for the organization in 2011. She has served as the Assistant Director/Administrative Director, big sister/mother to all of our girls, and was instrumental in getting JBFC’s Joseph & Mary School up and running. She’s leaving JBFC to pursue  post-graduate education and she will be sorely missed.

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This post was written by Mainsprings