I met Moshi over 10 years ago on the internet. I was looking for a safari guide to take my family to the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park. He was recommended on the Lonely Planet website. My dream was to see an elephant.

My mother had tragically drowned in the Pacific ocean earlier in the year and I wanted to leave Vancouver for awhile to figure things out so we sold our car, Loc (my partner) left his job and we pulled Zoe (my daughter) out of school for 3 months. This is where my friendship with Moshi began. I met him face to face, at a little roadside restaurant in Arusha where he pulled up in a safari jeep with his friends and we made our plans. The next day Loc, Zoe and I left to spend the next 2 weeks on the great northern safari circuit. It would have been so easy to walk away from him and go to a bigger company.

But we didn’t.

Today I met Bar from Innovation: Africa. Sivan, the CEO of Innovation: Africa was one of a very few people who responded to my emails about Iyoli and she passed my name on to Bar, director of Africa programs.  I talked to Bar a few times and she listened to me talk about the water situation in Iyoli.  Looking back on it now I realize that they get so many requests for help from communities in even more desperate situations and she could have easily brushed me off.

But she didn’t.

The donors who funded this entire project could have easily decided to put their dollars into another project or even enjoy the money for themselves.

But they didn’t.

Moshi could have walked away from the project when issues from the community came up, as they always do.

But he didn’t

And here we all are, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Atheist, working together in a tiny little village that isn’t even on the map because we listened to that little voice whispering  “Do it! This is for real.“.  We could have all walked away at points but we didn’t.

The world news can be overwhelming because the focus is often on chaotic differences – those things that divide us – but an unlikely group of people from different countries and cultures and languages walked around the project site, ate 2 meals together (our lunch was double booked) and figured out final project details in this stretch to the finish line.  We’ve had challenges and issues to work out along the way but it was common ground kept us all together.

It’s not that hard to find commonality – and it’s a hell of a lot more fun.

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