“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
After watching the 60 Minutes story on Gemma Sisia and St. Jude’s last Sunday night I started flicking back through my photos. I was flooded with a variety of memories of my time away in 2011. That trip was such a special six months overseas. The first two months saw me travelling through Southern Africa, visiting some inspiring locations and meeting some incredible people. Then I had the chance to volunteer as a teacher mentor at St. Jude’s in Arusha, Tanzania for my remaining time away.
“Travelling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
For many years I’d dreamed about having the opportunity to visit the school, and maybe even volunteer. I’d been following their story as a sponsor over many years, receiving correspondence and news about Samwel and the schools progress. To live that dream was everything and more that I’d hoped for. Gemma and all those who form part of the St. Jude’s family are truly remarkable. What a journey it has been as they’ve navigated growing from 3 students in 2002, to over 2000 students currently being educated.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
The quote above is one of my all time favourites. I reflect on it often, and it’s the first one that came into my mind last Sunday night as I watched the 60 Minutes story. So many people from that time away I will forever remember for the way they made me feel. The photo I’ve included at the start of this post is one of my last days before coming home. At an upper primary staff meeting I was brought into the middle of the circle of teachers and thanked in traditional Tanzanian ways. Above I am being dressed as a Massai. Below I am then being shown and then encouraged to jump like the Massai (I definitely have work to do in that respect).
“Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody.” – Kid President
Thank you to all those who I had the pleasure of supporting and being supported by while at the school in 2011. If you didn’t see the story or haven’t heard about St. Jude’s before, visit their website (www.schoolofstjude.org) to find out more.