What a tumultuous week it has been. The short of it is we are leaving Orkeeswa, Tanzania and in fact Africa!
There have been numerous issues from the onset. Our existence here has been fraught with environmental impact: the drain on the precious water supply and the drive to school being those, which most distressed us. We also have grave concerns about the entitlement mentality that charity and volunteering seem to engender. Having the night watch security, laundry, cleaning, and sundry other household chores assigned to paid locals has also made us feel uncomfortable and in fact we have persisted with doing most such tasks ourselves, which is in retrospect is possibly another source of conflict between the management and us. The school has been a source of frustration with respect to the administration and lack of processes and accountability. So all in all we can now see that this has not been a happy time. Nonetheless it came as something of a shock to be told that we would never be happy here and that as far as the current leader is concerned it would be better if we just left. This message was delivered to us personally at home on Thursday and it certainly set our minds spinning.
This was not on our agenda at the time and we concede that it has been a struggle but leaving has in fact become the current game plan. We were determined to make it work……That is until this week. We returned to school to inform the Leadership Team of the decision on Friday morning and then chose to walk back into town before classes began. We have been told that we are “just not a good fit” and that may or may not be true but I don’t want to hear another “Pole Sana.”
We had placed our focus firmly on the students and it was no easy task to win them over initially, but we felt that we had. The turn over and relative lack of experience of the staff is perhaps what makes students reticent to trust newcomers but our assurances that we intended to stay 2 years and our determined and committed efforts in the classroom brought about results. There have been some very precious moments and there are some amazing kids out there at Orkeeswa. We felt unable to explain our departure to them and are feeling not just rejected and humiliated but in some ways as if we have let both them and ourselves down. I only hope that they are told the truth and not fed lies. It was not our decision to leave.
Having said that after the initial shock subsided there was also a sense of relief!We feel disappointed that we will not see the wildlife, or the country but our gut reaction tells us to return to Asia. We will take a little time to travel and to collect our thoughts before deciding where to next but we are not ready to give up the game just yet.