Abundant Gratitude, Sincere Relationships

Dear Tumaini Family,

Many sentiments filled each day of the visit I made to Tanzania last month in the wake of my friend Mbwambo’s death, but the most profound and enduring one was abundant gratitude. I was grateful to Mbwambo for all that he had dedicated to Tumaini Tanzania over the last decade of his life, grateful to his family for inviting me to share in their mourning, and grateful to the local community for allowing us to further his legacy through our collaborative support of the students and schools for which he cared so deeply. More than anything, I was grateful for the sweet reminder of what this organization has always been about and what continues to drive it forward: sincere relationships.
Tumaini Tanzania is built on the belief that authentic relationships promote human flourishing. That’s why we travel to Tanzania each year, why we visit each student’s home, why every scholarship represents a combination of local and foreign support, and why we have maintained an all-volunteer model on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s also why we invest in education—not only because education provides practical tools for these students to unlock their own potential, but also because schools in Tanzania serve as the central interaction points of these villages, places where genuine relationships transform that individual potential into community-oriented character and compassion. Mbwambo’s roles as teacher and headmaster lent him a prominent voice in the region. Over the past ten years, we’ve witnessed that voice transform into a chorus of tumainihope—as his determined colleagues, these brilliant students, their loving families, and caring friends here in the United States have partnered to uplift each other. It has been a complete joy to be a part of these relationships.
One of my favorite aspects of each trip to Tanzania is helping to grow that network of relationships by adding new students to our scholarship program. This year, eight new Form One students joined our team: Angellight, Jennifer, Rose, Hilda, Raymond, Ebenezer, John, and Fadhili. These four girls and four boys, pictured below, are now beginning secondary school thanks to your generosity, their hard work, and their family’s contributions.  I’ll write more in the coming weeks to introduce you to these wonderful students.
Welcoming these new students was an even sweeter privilege this year because we did so alongside a few of our oldest students who returned to Sakila for the week. Martin, Godwin, Godlisten, Neema, Emma, Elias, and Emmanueli joined us to visit the new students’ homes, pay our respects to Mbwambo’s family, lead the workshop, and discuss the future of our organization. I was especially touched watching these young men and women hand a flashlight to each new student and explain its significance with great passion and sincerity. While the gifts have the practical purpose of illuminating homes that otherwise lack electricity, they also represent the light and hope these students and their faith provide to their communities, a metaphor that is already being borne out in these oldest students’ lives as they work toward careers in medicine, engineering, and education. I am delighted to see their desire to invest in future generations of Tumaini Tanzania as they embrace leadership roles in the organization.
Anchoring all these relationships are the teachers in Sakila and Nkoanekoli who volunteer their time and talents to run Tumaini’s operations. Mr. Msoffe, headmaster of Sakila Secondary School, continues to provide wise direction, while Mayo and Kiwale, teachers at the Sakila and Nkoanekoli Secondary Schools, tirelessly serve our students. Although we continue to grieve the loss of Mbwambo, I am confident that the organization remains in strong and steady hands, and I am indebted to these dear friends for all they have sacrificed for this cause.
Finally, I am thankful to my longtime friend Andrew Matthews for joining me on this year’s trip and for taking fantastic photos, which we’ll share in the coming weeks. Andrew’s presence was an encouraging reminder of the community here in the United States that consistently pours out its love for these families who live an ocean away. Even though many of my friends in Tanzania have never met many of you, please know that they cherish their relationship with you, they regularly pray for you, and they remain as blown away as I by the depth of your generosity to them. You can continue to support these Tanzanian communities by clicking here.
Nashukuru sana (With abundant gratitude for you),