This past week has been non-stop for Team TWB-Bukoba, with on-going training, hosting guests, wrapping up our intern’s experience, and finalizing content for multiple US competitions. It has been exhausting, mentally and emotionally. And so overwhelmingly powerful and inspirational.
I have been told by others, and I have even told myself, that this thing I’m doing is an adventure. And in some ways, it certainly is. In the sense that this is a journey and an exploration, yes. In the sense that I like to think of life in general as an adventure, with unknowns and surprises and opportunities, yes. In the sense that I’m a young carefree American living it up abroad and “empowering women, ohmygosh that’s so cool!”… No. Not so much at all, actually.
This work is hard. It demands strength and patience and openness from me every single day. It requires that I live away from my family, my friends, my favorite activities, and my favorite foods. It makes me question what I have grown up with, what I believe, and what I assume. Often, it makes both my head and my heart hurt.
It means I leave the culture I generally know how to navigate, and enter into ones where I am often confused and frustrated, and sometimes so out of my element that I feel paralyzed.
And, just when I think I’ve had enough and am ready to throw in the towel, it slaps me in the face with something so inspiring, so powerful, so get-ya-right-in-the-gut-and-heart that I can’t help but think, “And this is why.”
This week, I am here because 8 women from all walks of life and from four different countries sat around a dinner table and shared. We shared our visions for the future, and the experiences that have led us to where we are now. With all of our unique backgrounds, different cultures, varying levels of education, and spanning several generations, we all have at least one thing in common.
We believe wholeheartedly in the power of women. We have all been transformed by experiences in our lives, and these have propelled each of us to contest the current status quo, and to build opportunity-generating avenues for women globally.
Faced with this, throwing in the towel is simply not an option.