It’s Called Hope

I wrote this piece for Teamwork City of Hope, but I thought I would share it here, too.

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There seems to be no place as inspiring as here, a tiny speck on the map miles north of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. Where the rolling hills meet the dusty dirt roads and the blue roofs rise over the treetops, you will find a place like one I’ve never been, a place called Hope.

Here you will find stories of courage and hope among great obstacles. Where dreams are fulfilled and the sadness of a hard life is somehow forgotten. Here is a place of bright futures and even brighter smiles. This is a place where hope is restored, where aspirations long ago set aside are brought back to live again. It is a place where friendships are created and families are renewed. It is a place called Hope.

The day begins early here. Even before the sun begins to peak over the trees the rooster crows and the sound of joyful singing fills the air. Many little voices united together in one beautiful sound and the day is ushered in. The cows begin to pull their plows towards the fields. The huts begin to puff with smoke as each fire is lit to boil porridge for breakfast.  The children head to the fields to tend to their crops before they begin their school day. Bananas, beans, maize, and vegetables, they grow it all. Soon the children return home and the roads begin to fill with bright red sweaters, their wearers headed to school to fill their minds with knowledge and dreams. Each new morning brings with it new hope.

The drums begin to sound and the trumpets play as the children file into line, ready to learn. Their songs are songs of destiny and they believe every word. The days are full of learning as desks line up and chalk begins to fill the boards with lessons and ideas. Each little mind begins to fill with knowledge as they find out about the world around them. In the afternoon the bell will ring and the yard will erupt with children laughing, running, and playing games! They have about 100 siblings to play with, after all.

If you visit here someday you may be surprised. It’s not so much like an orphanage, to these children it’s just home. Home on a much larger scale. Each child goes about their daily chores, attends school, does their homework, laughs with their siblings, and plays soccer. Each bowl is heaped with plenty to eat and each belly gets filled. And in the evening, like many homes across the world, children sit on the floor of the living room laughing, talking, and hanging out with Dad as they share about their day. Not so much like an orphanage, but so much like home.

What is different about this place is not the fact that there are over 100 children living under one roof or the fact that come from such difficult circumstances, or that there is much sadness in their past. What is different about this place is the amount of hope. What is different about this place is the children, full of excitement and wonder, full of dreams and aspirations, leaders in their own right ready to make a difference in Tanzania and throughout the world.

Though much has been done, there is so much more to do! Many more children are living in difficult circumstances where all they long for is to come home. Come home to a place where they can sit on the living room floor laughing, talking, and hanging out with Dad. They need a home, a place of hope.

There seems to be no place as inspiring as here, a tiny speck on the map miles north of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. Where the rolling hills meet the dusty dirt roads and the blue roofs rise over the treetops, you will find a place like one I’ve never been, a place called Hope.

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