Human Rights & Solidarity

This is my third year leading a team in VIDEAs Global Solidarity Challenge, but it feels pretty different this time around. Yes, I want to raise money for an organization that I personally think does really good work (and continues to offer me employment, which is also great) but I also want to take a moment to thank the people who have done more than just talk about human rights over the last year. You have taught me so much. Asante sana!!

Human rights need to be fought for! We need to lobby our leaders and demand better  for our vulnerable citizens both in Canada, as well as internationally. While protests and picket lines are important and definitely have their place, sometimes all of that can feel too big or too overwhelming. Some days we need the person next to us to really see us and recognize the humanity in each one of us. Opening up your home, regardless of how little you have, is one way that I have seen Tanzanians tell people that they matter. So, while I will continue to find ways to be an advocate, this year I am choosing to make a lifestyle change that goes beyond the one week that makes up the Global Solidarity Challenge. This year, in honour of the amazing, hospitable people who have welcomed me into their homes over the past year, I am trying to be more like them!! So, it looks like I will be cooking a lot of meals in the foreseeable future 🙂






On Holding Babies (and why it is important)


IMG_4917I get it, I am a complete cliche but I’m sure its no surprise to anyone that I’m pretty happy playing with the kiddos and holding a baby or two when I get the chance. It’s especially wonderful because I get to give them back to their mommas at the end of the day. Perfect!!

I have been a little surprised though at how willing the moms are to hand me their kid after knowing me for a whole minute and a half. It just wouldn’t happen in Canada (although I always wish it would)! From football tournaments, interviews to workshops, I seem to find myself surrounded by a group of children and often have a little one in my arms. The CDF driver thinks it’s hilarious and loves to document my shenanigans with unflattering photos – thanks Leonard!

But let’s think about this a little more. Imagine if you had to do all of the work for the day including difficult tasks such as – carrying buckets of water on your head from the river to home, doing laundry by hand for your whole family, cooking multiple meals on a single charcoal stove and just for fun let’s throw an income generating activity like selling bananas in to the mix – all with a baby on your back!?! You would trust the strange muzungu lady who wants to hold your baby too. You just need a break!

This is where I have found my place at CDF. One of the projects CDF does in Tarime are income generating workshops with young girls and women who had to drop out of school and in many cases were married when they were very young (think 14). The trainings cover skills like soapmaking and battique (fancy tye dye). Many of the young women who attend these workshops have small children and as you can imagine, it is very difficult to learn a new task when your baby is demanding your attention. This is where holding the babies is actually kind of important – I don’t speak swahili, I can’t make soap, and no one wants me to teach battique! One thing I can do though is take a kid for a few minutes and comfort/scare them with my weird english songs and stories. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that count and if holding someones baby can give them a few minutes to grab their water or learn how to make soap – well, sign me up!

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