I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but recently a few folks in Tanzania have begun to leave comments here. I read a comment from a parent at the school the other day; he wrote:
There is is a common Swahili sayings – “Uchungu wa mwana aujuaye mzazi” which means the pain of the child is known by the parent. Mama Lucy is the one who bears this “pregnant” for a more than 9 month. She knows the pain that is why she is so careful to care of this little child who has only 4yrs old! If the vision comes from the owner the result will be 9 times than it could come from the donor/supporter. Many oversees have been providing fish but not teaching how to fish. Do you think there is a way for the project to be sustainable in a long run? It is good for the project owners to feel the the pain of bearing children and they would have the desire to see their children growing and bear fruits. That is what Mama Lucy is doing! Keep it up mama Lucy!
When I read it, I was actually moved to tears, not only because of its content, which presents a profoundly insightful perspective on aid, but simply because it exists.
It’s no small ordeal to use the web in Arusha. The school itself has neither electricity nor internet access. Electricity across town is spotty at best, and web access at anything better than dial-up speeds is nearly impossible to find. It’s also somewhat expensive, especially when compared with the cell phone text messaging that is their primary form of electronic communication. And yet, they’re starting to come here to participate in this evolving conversation. Real people in (nearly) real time.
Admittedly, many online forums provide an opportunity for supporters to engage in dialogue about a particular cause. Others exist that provide static progress updates, some directly from beneficiaries of charitable efforts and many more a layer removed, provided by intermediaries. I’ve found few, though, in which both the supporters of a cause and members of the community targeted by their efforts participate in interactive conversation. I’m just a little excited by the prospect – okay, maybe really excited. I believe there’s so much to learn from one another if we’re able to engage in meaningful, interactive dialogue and truly listen to one another’s ideas.
This is part of the reason for our ongoing Stories Matter video project. Already, we’ve received over 15 videos from London, Pennsylvania, Texas, Silicon Valley, Oregon – and even Elmo! – that include messages for the children, parents and teachers in Tanzania. If you haven’t already seen them, take a look at what’s been submitted, with questions ranging from “what superpower would you like to have?” to “what’s your favorite food?” to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and “what makes you happy?” These will provide an excellent spark to fuel online conversations, and provide topics to explore that are meaningful to us all. We’ve decided to do less editing than originally planned, so if you’d still like to participate, check out the previous blog post for details; we’ll now be accepting videos through June 15th.
A huge thanks to Nick, Zoe, Ashlee, Sanjay, Elijah, Isa, Laura and my twitterbuds Christian (@Documentally), Will (@wbboyd – w/ guest appearance by @Janetta), Moses (@mskpetigo), Wayne (@wayne_rowe), Fi (@firestar9s) Aronado (@Aronado), Maria (@MaThurrell), Scott (@greenskeptic) and Deidre (@Deidre), for taking the time to include their diverse, interesting and heartfelt videos! Thanks to Laura (@Pistachio) and Jason (@JasonJarrett) too for all their amazing help spreading the word!
We’ll be spending significant time over the coming weeks and months developing new technologies to support this burgeoning dialogue. I hope you’ll start to use these tools as an opportunity to engage in direct conversation with Mama Lucy, Gidori and future participants from Arusha who will undoubtedly soon join this community. What types of online interactions would be meaningful for you?
|Just enter your gift amount & click the donate button:|