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Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Blog, Change, Teach Abroad, Travel, Volunteer Abroad |

Give Heart, Give Hope

Locals and Volunteers in TanzaniaStories change us. It is why we tell them to children to teach them about how to live life. It is why we share them with our friends. It is why we blog.

This week, I was touched by the stories told by Ellen Hartman and her friends. Ellen volunteered in Moshi, Tanzania through Cross-Cultural Solutions and formed powerful bonds with the women and children of the Jipo Moyo center and the Hard Life artists. She has kept in touch with her friends which grew into a partnership called Give Heart, Give Hope.

Even though I see Ellen on a regular basis, I had no idea how much her time in Tanzania impacted her life. This is a curious thing about travel. It is difficult to convey how the experience inspired permanent change in us. We simply live the changes and tell our stories.

I was also touched by the photos, videos, and blogs written about people who come from very different worlds but still found ways to communicate, build friendships, and care for one another. I sometimes cast a wary eye when I hear about a volunteer project in a far-away place. Personal and professional experiences have taught me it is unhelpful and even harmful to assume something labeled ‘volunteer’ is positive for the majority of people involved. But sometimes we reach across our national border and find something as humans that runs so much deeper than that arbitrary line.

Read the story of Give Heart, Give Hope. Tell it to someone you know. Think about a way you can share a story that is meaningful to you today.