As I emerged from the airport into the overwhelming heat and vibrancy of my new environment I remember feeling a sense of awe and disbelief to know that I was now in the process of fulfilling a part of my life’s purpose. Eleven hours earlier, I was in balmy Birmingham, boarding the National Express coach to Gatwick and wondering what I could expect on my visit to Tanzania and Kenya.
It was incredible to believe that since wanting to visit Tanzania from the age of 14, I was now on my way! It was even more incredible to know that this 2 week experience had become possible because I had acted upon a thought just a few months earlier. Quite simply, I had an idea that is as crystal clear today as it was then. Some may call it the voice of a higher power or an internal satellite that comes into focus when we are still and recognise the magnetic pull that keeps us on track with our life’s intention. Needless to say, this powerful thought compelled me to make real an idea that I wanted to deliver training in Tanzania and enabled me to realise the wonderful opportunity of making a meaningful contribution to enhancing the lives of others.
On 16th July 2009, I arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The sights and sounds of Africa resonated deep within as if stirring a distant memory from centuries gone by. During my two weeks in Tanzania, I recall feeling that the country was strange, yet familiar; the language confounding, yet nostalgic; my hosts strangers, yet like a long lost family. I was truly at home.
During my 10 days voluntary work, I encountered groups of teenagers who aspired to greater things and who wanted to break free of the restrictions of poverty. They had dreams to fulfill and ambitions not only for themselves, but for their families. Most of all, they were naturally talented, determined and totally focused on creating a better life.
“People are people. The similarities we have are much more powerful than the differences.”
The young people I met were in danger of succumbing (quite easily) to Aids and HIV infection, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, drugs and crime – not due to any lack of ambition, but due to a lack of support, care and guidance from wider society and from those who should know better. It was a harsh realization to see how a lack of positive intervention can quite easily set into motion a chain of events that leaves a legacy of poverty that impacts upon generations.
Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson from the young people in Tanzania. It is that we should have a vision and do one thing every day to work towards this. I encountered young people who lived their dreams – perhaps not on the scale that we in the West may determine as significant, yet the smallest achievement towards a goal for some of the youngsters I met were against the odds for many in Tanzania.
Transferring my thoughts, knowledge and awareness of ‘life goal mapping’ was empowering for the young people. Amongst some of the positive outcomes was that from 24 year old Mponda. He asserted that as a direct result of the workshops, a new goal he implemented was to open a bank account and to save a set amount of money each week.
His learning from goal mapping was to stop taking money out with him every day and to become accountable for his daily expenditure. Rachel wants to be a dancer. From the workshops, she learned that creating a Vision Board would help her to keep her goals focused and real. Juliette wants to be a journalist. She agreed to keep a journal and write something every day in order to sharpen her skills in writing.
How many of us here would be as excited at carrying out (what may seem) small steps that serve a vital purpose of massively shifting the current reality?
In my recent podcast interview with Mbeke Waseme, I learned more about her specialist coaching that helps people experience profound benefits of living and working overseas. Mbeke explains some of the practical, emotional, mental and physical considerations, that when taken into account, can make the journey so much more of a heightened and invaluable experience. She shares why living and working abroad not only reconnects you with yourself, reframes your mind but enriches your life in a myriad of ways.
If you have ever wondered about the practicalities of immersing yourself in another culture and environment you will gain much from this podcast. You will be ready to take the next step in your life journey of self-exploration and self-growth that comes hand in hand with working and living overseas.
© Adapted from a blog written by Rebecca Gordon in 2009.
Rebecca Gordon is the Self-Actualization Coach at Satellite Life Coaching in Birmingham, UK. Visit www.satellitelifecoaching for free coaching tools and access Self-Actualization Coaching.