What have your own international travels entailed?
I love traveling and believe that a world would be more united and more peaceful if we traveled more. Traveling debunks a lot of myths in different societies and it gives a sense of shared humanity. I have traveled mostly in East and South Africa i.e Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Zambia & Malawi. Outside Africa I have travelled to Cambodia and the United States of America.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is connecting with communities, sitting in the village meetings and discussing different developmental ideas, that sense of oneness because of a shared purpose. Seeing the unity and the passion that communities bring to each project and how they try to make connections with Rustic students speaks to a stronger sense of a shared humanity. Also sharing this different kind of Tanzanian beauty with students from different parts of the world makes me excited every time to receive school groups and summer students.
What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?
My favorite project has been the building of Simha Primary School. The village had listed this as their priority project but we did not have the budget and also the building site was very remote and so we could not undertake this project. Every year during Thanksgiving the Rustic Foundation conducts a one week Giving Week challenge. In 2019 the challenge was to raise $60,000 to build the school. I was amazed at the commitment of our student alumni community and also our Rustic staff. In one week we were able to achieve our goal and build a school and a teacher’s house. This is my favorite project because it reaffirmed my faith in the work we are doing seeing the commitment of the students made me realize how impactful our programs might be for students to want to continue to engage with communities even after they finished the programs. It also made me proud to work with colleagues that truly believe in the work we are doing, it’s truly an honor to be part of the rustic pathways global community.
What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?
When I first heard about Rustic Pathways I thought it will be like all other companies that come here, do projects that are not sustainable in the name of community service. But when i started my first summer i started learning the approach that rustic pathways use when creating a community service project. Being on the side of the world that has been used and abused by donations, RP’s approach was a welcomed change. The approach that RP uses is a partnership with the community, letting communities decide what’s their need and supporting them in ways that the communities think is meaningful.
Ultimately the project is owned by the community so for it to be sustainable the community has to have a sense of ownership and to feel that they are the major stakeholders. This is the true developmental approach that should be encouraged by any person or organization that wants to undertake a community service project especially in a developing nation. I am always proud to explain to other stakeholders in our field the approach we use, it’s not a well refined perfect approach each project we undertake we are learning how to do better. This approach is a big step towards the right direction and I am glad to be part of this change.