I’m going to Tanzania in just a little over a month! Here is a copy of a letter that I sent out:
Dear Family and Friends,
I just graduated from Seattle Pacific University, where I have spent the past four years of my life working towards my B.A. in Economics. So what am I going to do next? As you may already know, I have decided to follow the trend in my family and volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee through their one-year SALT (Serving And Learning Together) program. Although I originally had my heart set on going back to Central America, none of the assignments there seemed fitting for me. Instead, I am excited to be going to Tanzania to volunteer for the Kigamboni Green Hope Project in Dar es Salaam. It’s kind of cool to think that collectively with my two older brothers we will have covered three different continents for MCC! (To learn more about MCC please visit their website: www.mcc.org)
The Kigamboni Green Hope Project was started under the Youth of Tanzania Mennonite Church as an Integrated Environmental Pilot Project to improve the Tanzania Mennonite church & the local communities' abilities in resource development and management. The project’s emphasis is on managing natural resources and conserving the environment in order to address the local economic and development needs. I am not entirely sure of what my duties entail, but I will be the “technical advisor” that reviews/edits new projects, helps with project implementation and capacity building, as well as working towards strengthening the local church and government partnership. My project description also mentioned that it would be useful for me to have experience with microfinance, so I am hoping that microfinance operations will also be involved somehow.
Although I have some experience in living in another culture for an extended period of time, I know that this is an opportunity unlike any other. I will most likely be confronted with challenging situations, and it will for sure be hard for me to leave my favorite emerald city of Seattle for a year. However, I realize that SALT offers me a unique chance to be adventurous and explore life outside of my familiar comforts. I hope that I will be able to make an impact by helping with the Green Hope Project, but I also appreciate the fact that this experience will be a time of great personal learning and growing as well.
As my family, friends, and church community, I would really appreciate it if you would keep me in your minds and hearts while I am in Tanzania. Knowing that I have such a loving and supportive group that is thinking of me will be very encouraging for me while I am away. I plan on keeping a blog (rachellynnwarren.blogspot.com) that I will hopefully be able to update frequently to keep everyone posted on my happenings. Since I am going to be living in Dar Es Salaam, the largest industrial city, it will probably be relatively easy to access the internet. I will also update my local mailing address once I know it, because snail mail is still always fun to get.
I wish that prayers and communication were enough to sustain my trip, but unfortunately I am also required to raise money to help pay for my service term ($4,300). I hope that fundraising will not only help me gather financial support, but also will build a community of spiritual, moral, and prayer support. If you would like to support me financially in any way, I would greatly appreciate it! Donations are accepted online at http://mcc.org/donate/donate.html (under “designation” write “Rachel Warren SALT#626177”) or checks can be sent with the attached green form (please also designate “Rachel Warren SALT#626177”). All funds raised go directly to MCC where I have an account with them, and are tax deductible. Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for any contributions.
Thank you for taking your time to read this letter! If you would like to hear more information about my service with MCC, please feel free to contact me (Facebook, Blogspot, email, phone—I have it all!). And if you would like to continue to hear about my time in Tanzania, let me know and I’ll be sure to keep you on email lists, etc.