Stu’s Journey

What a great trip it has been! To see our teens grow, both individually an as a group, was a joy. Their unity and readiness to serve the children at the schools and the orphanage was amazing. I so enjoyed returning to Maruponga School to reunite with the Mommas and so many of the kids. Many of their dreams that they set in motion when we went last time in 2009 had come true… including an indoor kitchen and a cement floor to replace the dining room’s dirt floor. Meeting the Mommas and the four hundred students at the Longuo School was truly heart warming. The first afternoon there, they all gathered and sang to us warm songs of welcome that they had prepared just for us.

Another of my highlights was the two-day teacher workshop provided for over 60 teachers from seven local schools. They commented on how much they appreciated learning methods to teach and engage their students in more cooperative, interactive, and affirming ways.

We left with hearts full of love and a greater recognition of the common the humanity we all share.

Achieving Greater Things – Kaitlyn Carpenter

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
-Mohandas Gandhi

We have all made a difference here. Through our service, we have given these children the light and love that they deserve and that they will forever cherish. And even though there is still so much to be done here, we have planted a seed.

As I sit on my bed in our hotel before we start the day off, I’m thinking how much all of the teens and myself, truly accomplished. From the first deposit on the trip to right here, right now. We have changed children’s lives by just letting them know that there is someone who cared for their dreams and knew that their dreams could be accomplished. As well as that these children can do whatever they set their minds to as long as they know that a clear intention is key. Which seems like such a small message to a lot of people, but to these the students it could be a life changing message. My experience with the students was at the beginning of the days I would ask them what they wanted to do in their lives, and a lot of the students would say that they wanted to be teachers or mommas and the boys wanted to be priests. Which are great goals but when I asked later on in the day what they wanted to be the children would say things like I wanted to be President or things like own their own businesses and it was amazing. That within less than a day of our seminars these children knew that larger things could be accomplished. An amazing feeling of completion fell over me when that had happened.

I’m sad to go but I know that after our trip here things will grow and the Longuo School will be better than ever because they now know things can be different for them. Just like it happened at Marupanga, they accomplished everything they had wanted and it makes me so happy to know that the same will happen at Longuo.

-Kaitlyn Carpenter, 15

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Completion – Gabe Morgan

Completion is an interesting concept; sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, as is with many of life’s great concepts. My call to completion came in August of 2009, the day I set foot back in American soil from the project that changed my life: Tanzania. I made a promise to see a kid named Eric, whom I gave my 1933 Brooklyn Dodgers hat to on my last trip. I noticed how smart he was, and though he might not get good marks in certain classes, he was persistent in following his goals and living his dreams. This was something he was taught by, non other than, all of us teens facilitating the seminars about dreams. He reminded me of a bullet, going in a straight line towards one goal. He reminded me of someone bright who has a lot of resources and friends to guide his light. He reminded me of, well, me. I told him, the last day at the orphanage back in 2009, that I would be back to see him again, and check in on him.
That, amongst many other things like the service project, was what I needed to complete. I told them that any thing was possible. I told them that their dreams are achievable. I wasn’t about to make a hypocrite out of myself.
Now, I’m here. I am mostly complete (well, going beyond the one English class I have left with the Mrupanga students). I thought my moment of completion would bring tears, emotions, hugs, whatever. It didn’t.
Really, it consisted of a smile, a sigh of relief and a thought of confidence. I found out that I could do what I preached this whole trip, to the kids. I can live my dreams if I set the intention to be complete. I am complete on this soil and this land.
It may be that I return with my father or mother one day, just to have a show and tell moment of what I went through. I may return to experience another lion 3 feet away from me, or to actually see a black rhino without using binoculars (but without having a territorial stand off that I am confident I wouldn’t win).
Ultimately, I did what I set out to do. I am going home complete, and that is the greatest aspect of the concept of completion: being complete
-Gabe Morgan

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Never Too Late – Tasha Marvis

Jambo! It is our last night in Africa, and although I’m a little late on my blog post that doesn’t matter! It has been one hell of a trip. A beautiful, amazing, and eye-opening excursion. I can’t really put into words what’s been happening. The connections made between the group, teachers, and kids has been the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my life. It feels like I have been here for years, at the same time I miss home and my family, but there is also a part of me that doesn’t want to leave. There is something majestic about this place, nothing that you could ever understand unless you were here. Coming here, I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of this trip. I came unprepared, and was just going to let whatever happen, happen. Mama
Alice said things to me that I believe was the completion of the trip for me personally. Last night she told me how much of an impact our group made on the kids. They were cooperating, loving to others, and most importantly understand what it means to have dreams and believe in your future. Whatever you dream, you can achieve and that was our main message for these kids. THEY UNDERSTAND IT NOW! It warmed my heart hearing this. I have made a change somewhere in the world, I have helped kids that didn’t believe they had a future, and I gave my loving. I feel amazing, and want to do more service work. This is something I can see myself doing for a career and a lifetime. Too everyone out there reading this blog, thank you. You can live through our experiences, and I hope you enjoy it.

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Gabe’s Journey

Africa. The one place I thought I would never be. Yet, here I am. From Lions to Dick Dicks, cold showers to warm showers, Africa will always be a part of me. From the arrival day at LAX, the long layovers and airline food, to walking through the Uhuru Hotel door, Africa has been life changing. Yet, it wasn’t the trip here, or the amazing Safari, but the people that will always be a part of me.

Only one word can describe the people of Tanzania. Love. From the children at Mrupanga and Longou, to the heartwarming Mamas, Tanzania welcomes every Mzoungo. The people in this city are something different. A different kind of unique, inspirational and understanding people that live for the celebration of life, not for the celebration of stuff.

If this trip has made me realize one thing, its that Americans are over indulged. Too often, we look at the TV screen, computer screen, the video games and nice clothes, the clean water and fresh food. Too often we look at everything and take it in with entitlement, that with being an American, we deserve more than others.

People in Africa do not go home to air conditioning, fast cars, full stomachs, and living family members. Children in Africa go home to a hut with no roof, a toilet made from a hole in the ground, and a home where parents are either dead, ill, or struggling to feed their children.

Africa has changed me. Tanzania has made me their family. Its not too often in Los Angeles when you drive down the sidewalk yelling, “Hey buddy” and getting a “How you doing” right back.

This trip is unbelievable. There is nothing more incredible in my life than to be here for these kids, for this continent, and for these miracuolous, giving, people.

See you back in LA, but don’t expect the same Gabe Marvis.

- Gabe Marvis

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Mlongo – Emma Lambert

The beauty of the land, the spirit of the people, it’s like no place I have ever known and when I first arrived here I felt like I had come home.

Visiting the schools and working with the kids has been absolutely amazing. They have such a yearning to learn. I mean how do you really explain to a 10 year old who has torn clothes and lives in a two bedroom shack that they truly can achieve their dreams and have anything they want. And what I have learned is that they are simply kids, they are just like our kids. They want to laugh, they want to cry, they want to feel loved, they want to know that they matter and they too have dreams, dreams to be a nurse, a lawyer and a teacher. There is one girl named Agnes, she lives in an orphanage she’s 15 years old and her dream is to be a doctor. I look into her eyes and there is so much love there. She has so little and yet so much.

I love just being with these children, they have so much joy. And as I get swept up in the spirit of these kids I know that every one of them had a story of hardship, they have been through things that we can barely imagine. Most of them have come face to face with violence, with death and with shocking poverty. The schools we visited had dirt floors, broken desks and no windows. I spoke to teachers that struggle to teach with proper classrooms and school supplies. But despite the odds these kids seem to be teaming with potential. I have been so moved by their courage.

I came here to teach them but really it has been them teaching me. I have learned so much from them. I see so much of myself in them and although, we don’t speak the same language I feel so deeply connected to them.

There’s a presence, there’s a light and there’s a spirit in these kids like nothing you’ve ever seen in the world. It has absolutely opened up my whole life and to all of them I feel grateful.

- Emma Lambert

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Unforgettable - Lisi Angel

Embarking on this journey the first time in 2009 I knew that I would be facing an eye opening, and life changing experience. Even with this awareness, the depth of the impact was incomprehensible at the time. I cannot begin to explain how intense my experience in Tanzania was; I can however say that this experience resonated so deeply in me, and touched my heart in such a way that I jumped at the chance to return this year.

Leaving Los Angeles and my loved ones behind was extremely challenging and most definitely tugged at my heart strings, but I knew that what awaited for me was another unforgettable experience. As each passing day flies by I am constantly reminded of this. This country is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the culture is so amazing.

It began with our first visit back to Mrupanga Primary. I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact on other people, it’s the reason why I became so involved with Insight in the first place. When I left in 2009 my only hope was that I’d made a difference some how, that hopefully I had touched someone’s heart in a way that would impact their lives in a positive way. Upon arriving to the school I was overwhelmed with so much happiness; the mamas and children remembered me. Once again I was swarmed by children (which literally happens everywhere) who followed me to visit the dream tree mural. I went to see where we had painted our names and the kids ran and pointed to where I had painted Lisi. Just being there once again and seeing the kids and the mural I can honestly say that I totally left a piece of my heart here back in 2009.

My first weekend was extremely jam-packed, and amazing. For this trip we managed to expand our program and workshops into another primary school called Longuo. Like last time, we took on a beautification project. We were going to fix clean and paint a school building, as well as create a mural for the school. While some of our group led the teacher workshops on Saturday and Sunday for 60 teachers from the area at Mrupanga Primary, Kelley and I lead the work team at Longuo Primary. The project went on from saturday to Monday. I pretty much spent 3 full days cleaning, painting, and helping the mural team draw the mural (mainly painting as much as I could). Despite the amount of physical work that I did, I found that I had a lot of energy. I think it’s the painting; once again life is reminding me of how soothing painting is for me. Oh, and I’ve concluded I’m like a 5 yr old when it comes to big painting projects. My paint clothes are totally covered in paint, and I’m pretty sure I still have paint on me :) I LOVE IT. Anyways, the building looks amazing, the mural is still a work in progress, and I can’t wait to help with it.

This week has been a wonder! We started our student workshops and english classes and it has been a heart warming experience. I’m not going to lie, lunch time breaks my heart a million times over every day. We can’t help but give the kids some of our food and extra water. Despite moments like those, I’ve had a wonderful time connecting with the kids, playing with them, dancing, drawing. It still astonishes me how these kids that have so little (often barely enough to cover basic needs) have so much love and happiness that they share so openly with everyone. The workshops are amazing! We talk about communication tools, create sanctuaries, and talk about dreams. The kids always have such beautiful things to share. And the English classes are going well. We have a large group of talented individuals that have many different strengths, and the classes have come together beautifully.

If i knew anything coming into this journey once again it was that not only would I be teaching these children life tools, but I would also be learning a lot from them. So far I have been learning about loving whole heartedly, appreciation, gratitude, a passion for learning, and the importance of having faith. If anything my hearts expanded a million times (think of the Grinch). Honestly, it’s impossible not to. Everyone that we work with shower us with so much kindness and love. Sometimes life just goes by too fast and I forget how to really express the love that I have for the people I love in my life. This is like a wake up call. You never know where life will take you or when. Live in the moment, forget fear and insecurities just love. Seeing these children who don’t have parents, or live at the orphanage shakes me. I know my family is one of the greatest blessings in my life, but it is definitely one that I could appreciate so much more. I’m also extremely grateful for my education. If anything seeing the thirst these children have for educating themselves only motivates me more in my goals. And lastly, the faith that these children have really touches me. My mom taught me at a young age that in life one must always have faith even in hard times. She used to tell me that regardless of what happens if I have faith everything would be okay. Faith literally keeps these kids going from day to day and I can’t help but be moved by it. I’m so happy I’m here, and able to experience this again.

As you can see I’ve been having an amazing time here, and it’s not over yet! If you’re wondering, I’m doing well and don’t worry I have a million stories to tell and tons of pictures to share. I just wanted to share a little bit of this unforgettable journey.

-Lisi Angel

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING LONGOU PRIMARY SCHOOL. IT IS ONLY $15 A YEAR TO FEED ONE STUDENT LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR. IT IS $6500 TOTAL TO FEED THE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR AND WE HAVE USED $1000 OF OUR OWN MONEY SO FAR TO PAY FOR THE FOOD. ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHOOL GOES DOWN WHEN THEY CANNOT EAT A FULL MEAL, RIGHT NOW THEY ONLY GET HALF A CUP OF CORN MAIZE AND 6 BEANS…IT MAY BE THEIR ONLY MEAL EACH DAY SO THEY LEAVE MID DAY TO FIND FOOD ON THE STREETS INSTEAD STAYING IN SCHOOL. WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY EAT AND LEARN. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

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