May 16th, 2011. Coaches Colin and Jessica
pass the games on to the kids the next morning. Over the course of the week, we worked on everything from teamwork and leadership to HIV awareness and life-skills – all through various soccer drills and games. It was, we believe, an unqualified success – not only were the kids all receptive to the lessons and thoroughly enjoying themselves, but the coaches really seemed to absorb the drills and lessons that we covered. By the time we left Geita, we felt certain that a number of coaches would carry forward the subjects we had worked on, long after our departure.When we weren’t coaching, Jessica, Nate, and I enjoyed trying to blend in with the flow of daily life in Geita,
a small mining town in the northern part of the country. We rented bikes and would commute to and from the fields with the throngs of other bicyclists around the city, ate ugali for lunch, played soccer with a local U17 club team, went to a track meet, and would generally have at least one visitor drop by our hotel each night to chat over a Kilimanjaro beer. Like all the other people we met in Tanzania, the people we met in Geita were incredibly friendly and welcoming. Nothing seemed to delight them more than seeing a trio of Americans sampling their food and attempting to speak their language. By the time we had to leave Geita, we felt like we had made a number of great new friends.
The journey back to the US involved 3 hours in a Landcruiser, 1 hour on a ferry that crossed Lake Victoria, a plane from Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam, and a marathon flight from Dar to JFK through Dubai – but we made it. It feels great to be home, but we’re already nostalgic about our adventure. We couldn’t be happier with our experience in Tanzania. We saw some beautiful parts of the world, met some wonderful people, learned a lot about a fascinating country, and – most importantly – did some things that will hopefully have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact.
Thank you to all who made this trip possible. Your support directly brought so much happiness to, literally, thousands of kids across Tanzania, and it will continue to make a difference for many years.