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Lara Kroeker Interactive

POST 13: Pamoja

Most mornings I wake up and think “What the hell am I doing here?” I originally came with the idea that I would join up with Moshi and another partner to start a safari company which would direct tourists to Kondoa and ultimately to the environmental projects. It made sense because the company would make a profit and everyone would benefit but I pulled out. I got cold feet. I would have been a little anchovy swimming in a sea of sharks and I was WAY out of my league.

So now I’m focusing on cultural program that pairs VERY small village tours with community and environmental projects. The kind of travellers that come here are the ones that don’t freak out when they use their last piece of toilet paper, who don’t mind a little dust in their eyes and feel comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s a really really small niche of people and in some ways I hope it is never more than that because when you go over a certain number in tourism it ruins a place.

In our society we base success on money so, for me, if I think in those terms, this venture is VERY unsuccessful but when I take away the idea of money it makes total sense.  I love working in the small villages with the woman’s groups.  I love the children and their boldness.  I love coming up with ideas and making them happen the next day.  I love watching Moshi work with the leaders to forge longterm relationships.  I love seeing how much Moshi connects with the communities, he is on fire when he gets to the villages.  There is not one single thing about this that makes me question it… except for the money.

Kondoa is just a little speck of dust on the planet. The people here are like Dr. Suess’s whos in whoville where a whole life is taking place on a tiny piece of dust and you have to really listen to hear what’s going on.  There is a beautiful, harsh and sometimes even ugly reality that is happening simultaneously with our own.  I want to listen.

Today I am thinking “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

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