Saturday, January 23, 2010

Destination Tanzania!

Attention all world travelers
(and yes, world traveler "want-to be's" are certainly included)!

Today's destination?

Tanzania, Africa – home to the precious orphan and at-risk children who are held so close at heart by all those who support the mission of Hearts in Unity.

Let us give you a brief tour... Tanzania is the proud home to:
Mt. Kilimanjaro -- At 19,000 feet, it is the highest point in Africa and a destination for some of the world's most adventurous and dedicated climbers.

The "Big Five" -- lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino. "Big Five" is a term originally coined by big-game hunters to refer to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, but is used commonly now by most tourist and wildlife guides that discuss wildlife safaris.

Some of the most beautiful national parks in the world are in Tanzania (Our Hearts in Unity website includes videos of some of the national parks and also includes links to the official websites for each national park in Tanzania).
Located in East Africa, the eastern border of the country is on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is also bordered by 9 other countries including: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mosambique, Malawi and the island of Madascar. The island of Zanzibar, along with mainland Tanzania, make up the United Repuplic of Tanzania.

The influx of refugees from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi and Congo over the last decade has placed a heavy burden on a country already struggling to care for its own people. Tanzania is the 5th poorest country in the world with families living in heartbreaking poverty -- struggling to survive on an average household income of less than $1 a day.

$1 a day?
Can one even buy a cup of coffee these days for less than $1?

Maybe "living on less than $1 a day" in Tanzania is easier to comprehend when put it into some sort of familiar context.

Let's compare it to poverty in the United States. Our government has established that the "poverty level" for a family of 4 is approximately $21,000 per year -- or about $58 a day. Yes, it's all relative, and one must put the numbers into context, but the difference between $1 a day and $58 a day is both striking and alarming by any measure.

But for all the ways that this crushing poverty affects the daily lives of the people in Tanzania, they are a people rich in culture and hospitality. Perhaps they don't know what they are missing -- other than the basics of life such as food, clothing and education for their children.

But they seem to have their priorities in order. Their foundation is their family. Their strength is in their faith. Their hope is in a better future for their children. Though complicated in so many ways due to the poverty of the generations before them, their lives are simple.
And they simply need our help.

To learn more about the many ways that you can join us is in making a difference in the lives of the orphans and at-risk children of Tanzania, please visit our Hearts in Unity website.

Asante sana – Thank you very much.

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