About six months after returning from Iyoli, my dad told me that he thought I had already finished this well and had started another, which made me realize just how much I talked about the project and how much he must have thought that talking meant progress—and he wasn’t alone. A few other people also thought that the Iyoli project was done.
After another six months, we finally found a partner to help with funding, Innovation: Africa, but before I could board a plane, the organization needed to acquire the actual money. As one might imagine, they were more suited for finding money than I was during the Cheku days, and it wasn’t long before they found an anonymous donor who said yes, but that meant more waiting. The organization had to make sure that the right companies were working together and doing their due diligence in making agreements. This, of course, took time. Every morning, I woke up wondering whether this would be the day that the contracts would be signed. Finally, after two more months, in March of 2018, I got the thumbs up, so I wasted no time in booking a flight.
It took two and a half minutes to walk off the plane into the Turkish airport and breathe the unfamiliar smells of a new place and watch the people walking by, who were the same—but different. Airports are a safe transition where the world still feels normal because you hear things that you recognize, like mothers hurrying their children and yelling at them to stop whining. Even if they’re speaking another language, you can immediately recognize their tone of voice. Everyone has the same goal—to make it to their destination. No matter the airport, you see the same boring global shops, but subtly, little changes appear, like coffee shops that sell Turkish delight instead of a double cappuccino, and you realize that the world is slowly shifting beneath your feet.
I waited and dreamed and hoped as I sat in Turkey before the last leg of my trip to Tanzania, waiting to build a well in Iyoli.
I already knew that this trip was going to feel like two and a half seconds once it was done—which today, as I sit and write this, is true. Time has a tendency to fly like that. Zoe had just turned twenty, and just a few chapters ago, she was a child, and then a little bit later, she was a teenager. And now she’s an adult. All of this occurred over the course of a few thousand words. It it was a similar feeling to that. All the time I had spent raising a human being was only just a beautiful memory that went by way too fast. This, too, was going to feel like a blip in time, just like my previous trips. So I was going to jump in with both feet and embrace the challenges, the joy, and the frustration of working on a big project with a team of people.
On the ground. In Tanzania.