Tanzania #12: Gratitude

Lauren Smith, 24, shares a letter of gratitude with the Mainsprings community.

Dear Mainsprings,

Today is the day I have been dreading- Departure Day. We woke up at 4 am with puffy eyes from the hard goodbyes of yesterday. We reluctantly shut the door to the dorm, sad to leave behind all of you, who we consider good friends. As we made our way to the Land Cruisers, I was surprised that many of you woke up before dawn to say one final goodbye. This unbelievably kind gesture is just one example that showcases the benevolence of the Mainsprings community. The kids, mamas, faculty, and administrators that create this community make this campus a truly special place. After living here for two weeks, my gratitude toward the amazing Mainsprings people is overflowing.

Thank you, Jonas, for leading our group every day. From the moment we stepped off the plane in Mwanza, you have been at our side, guiding us towards success. You willingly answered all our questions and translated when necessary. Without you this trip would not have been possible.

Asante, CJ, for being the best mwalimu (teacher). I will never forget our Swahili lessons together. The patience you showed our group did not go unnoticed, even though you liked to randomly call on someone to have a full conversation in Swahili without notes. The laughs that followed were bonding moments as we tried to help break the language barrier. Also, thank you for teaching us about the educational system at Mainsprings. It is truly inspiring to learn about the vision of the school and see these dreams being adapted in the kid’s everyday lives. You constantly brought our group joy and you will be missed.

Thank you, Lazaro, for our permaculture lectures. The progress that Mainsprings has done to create a self-sufficient, sustainable farm that not only gives food but also shade and a cooler climate, is amazing. While I value your knowledge of permaculture, the honesty you exemplified when teaching us about the Maasai culture was very eye-opening, especially after our time in the Serengeti. We were heartbroken to learn about the eviction of Maasai people in this area, and hope that this issue gets resolved so that your family, friends and community will keep their ties to the land.

Thank you, Mamas, for being incredibly welcoming. Without fail you greeted us with a smile followed by a hug. Every day you made us feel comfortable by cleaning our rooms, making our beds, and securely tucking in our mosquito nets. You welcomed us fully into your home through your hospitality and the great food that you cooked for us. Thank you for teaching us how to be caretakers to those around us.

To the girls at JBFC, thank you for everything. I can honestly say that I have never met more happy, welcoming, and talented people in my life. From singing, playing basketball, dancing, making bracelets and sharing science experiments at school assembly, there is nothing that you can’t do. Even though my abilities are incomparable with yours, you welcomed me with open arms. You taught me to surround myself with happiness and to always make friendship bracelets for the ones you love, so that we can be connected no matter the distance.

Thank you, Mainsprings, you have, in a short time span, had an enormous impact on my life. I will never forget all the wonderful people that I met through this organization. I hope to visit in the future, but right now I will cherish the memories that we made and wear the numerous friendship bracelets as a reminder of how wonderful this community is.

At Deerfield we like to say “Be Worthy of your Heritage,” and I am honored to have been worthy enough to be a part of your traditions, culture, community, and lifestyle for this short time. I look forward to seeing how much more this community and all of you will grow in the future.

Asante sana (thank you very much) and Kwaheri (goodbye)

Lauren Smith, 24