During the summer of 2012, I was able to go on a rather splendid and intense mission trip to Tanzania with Teen Missions International. Around 20 or so years earlier, my dad went to Tasmania and Thailand with the same organization, once as a team member and once as a leader; which is how I heard of the unique opportunity. Two years before, I went to Western Samoa (located near Australia) with the same organization. But going to Tanzania was a different experience. Way more physically, spiritually, and emotionally challenging. Way better. But don’t tell anyone else that.
While there, we spent some time working on a missionary building (brick laying and things of the sort), and hiking around the “foothills” of Mt. Kilimanjaro, evangelizing to different schools.
The experience was extremely eye-opening. I returned realizing how much we waste in America, from hotel shampoo to food. No, I didn’t come home and radically change the way I live my life, but the event was still incredibly impacting. That’s why I love traveling – you learn so much about other cultures and ways of life- which is both humbling and important.
Someday, I might want to go back and climb Kilimanjaro. Not to mention interact with the people. Some of them are super nice. Some are a little creepy, I’ll admit, but some are really down-to-earth and nice. Just like everywhere, really. But the lack of technology and the lack of material objects affects the way people are. And it’s special to interact with people who don’t necessarily interact with Facebook every day.
For the record: Not all of Africa is made up of emaciated, sobbing, little kids. There’s a lot of poverty, yes, but you’d be surprised at the amount of happiness and productivity present.