•April 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment


I’ve been looking around at the faces in all the places
Now I’m thinking we’re not so different despite our races
All of us be masking varied insecurities
Hiding who we are, scared of our impurities
Perceived imperfections force up the walls
Hurting and broken, we build barriers tall
Push people away, faking it till we make it
better to not love at all than to get hurt. Or is it?
If you and me are both insecure, broken, and scared
Then wouldn’t it be better if together our souls we bared?

What if we all tore down our defenses?
What if we weren’t afraid to be real?

Thinking what if they don’t accept me?
If I’m too fat won’t everybody hate me?
Or maybe feet too big or crooked nose?
Afraid I’m far too boring to ever get a rose.
But those secret thoughts I’ll never share
Instead I smile, though inside I’m bare
Left empty, alone, hopeless because I let no one in
I fake it till I make it, smothering the inner din
But you and me we aren’t so different
Masks we both wear, broken and bent

What if we all tore down our defenses?
What if we weren’t afraid to be real?

HOPAC: More than just a school

•April 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Over the past few months, as I was making my decision to renew my contract at HOPAC, it became increasingly obvious to me how special HOPAC is. HOPAC is far more than just a school, even more than just an international Christian school. The impact that HOPAC has on the community, both directly and indirectly, is enormous — and that is a pretty amazing thing to be a part of. So if you wondered why on earth I decided to stay in Tanzania…this is it. Or at least a big part of it.

See for yourself. 

Preview of PDF

(Click on the preview/photo to view the full PDF)


•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment
When I see you, my soul explodes with colors like the sunset.
I chase you, hoping to capture just an inkling of your brightness.
Your sparkling rays ignite my heart’s fires, leaving me breathless.
I laugh as you jump and glimmer across the water, evading every net,
Turning dewdrops to diamonds, stardust sprinkling the ground
I hear your breath on my ears though it whispers no sound.
Eyes sparkle with the dances of the soul, a photographer’s wish
Your caress reveals color and chases away darkness
In you is captured all that is joy, pure bliss
Yours is the power to reveal every flaw or hide every blemish
I gasp at your changing hues, every glimpse captivating
Fireworks exciting the mind, enslaving my body to your pursuit
I sigh with delight to watch you fade each night
And groan with unspeakable pleasure in your awakening
Your warmth is intoxicating, you’ve made me a whore;
Every encounter leaves me needing more.
Embracing you is like a drug, an unquenchable addiction.
For with you I have a love affair.
A love affair with light.

Spring Break 2015

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

For the majority of spring break this year, I was immersed in the beauty and glory of God’s creation. I explored the vast expanses of the famous Serengeti, entered the notorious Ngorongoro Crater, and dove in the clear waters surrounding Pemba. I saw lions, leopards, and cheetahs. I experienced the thrill of a drift dive. It was a great chance to slow down and reflect on all that God has been doing in my life over the last three months. But for all that, my favorite part of spring break was three days in Morogoro with a group of secondary students from HOPAC.

The 2015 YoungLife Camp in Morogoro was a total blast! We played field games, pool games, and glow-in-the-dark games. We slid down an enormous water-slide built into the side of the mountain. We made new friends and strengthened old friendships. We laughed with “Sasha” as he flaunted his “magic.” We listened as Micki shared about the person and work of Jesus Christ. We shared our hearts and lives with each other during cabin times. We partied (and slept) on the bus to and from camp. Through it all, my prayer is that God was glorified and lives were changed.

SEW Week 2015

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Possibly my favorite week of the HOPAC school year is the annual Service Emphasis Week (SEW). In the past, teams of secondary students have traveled across Tanzania to serve alongside existing NGO’s and missionary organizations. This year, two things changed: the primary students got involved with SEW, and the projects were centralized in Dar es Salaam and the immediately surrounding area in order to best utilize students’ time serving, rather than in long hours traveling cross-country.


I was placed with a team of eleventh and twelfth grade students with the goal of facilitating a “summer camp” for students at the nearby DAIL Hope School. DAIL is a Korean NGO working in a low-income area on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, and the Hope School hosts a single class of about thirty students each year from ages 9-13 who cannot otherwise afford to have a good education.


On Monday morning, our group spent about two hours planning and preparing for the week before heading to DAIL for the first time. Two of the twelfth grade students had been volunteering at DAIL once or twice a week throughout the school year and they took the lead for our group, suggesting a schedule and activities, as well as giving many helpful insights into the environment at the Hope School.


The week flew by! Each day, we played games, facilitated crafts, hosted competitions, and danced with the kids at the Hope School. One day was themed after a birthday party, including cake, party favors, soda, and birthday hats to celebrate each of the kids, and another day was a sports day, complete with tug-of-war, football, and foot races. At the end of the week, when I and the HOPAC students left, the Hope School students stood outside their gate waving goodbye, and, according to the DAIL Director, were crying after we left. For many of them, this week was the first time that older students, especially those from a privileged international school, had deliberately spent time with them, showed them that they were valuable, and loved them selflessly.


For me, this week, and the weekly service learning classes/projects that HOPAC students are involved in, defines much of what HOPAC is. I love SEW week!!!

A Mini-Travel Guide to Tanzania

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Earlier this year, I was asked to write a guest post at Yes and Yes about traveling in Tanzania. That post has recently been published, and if you’re interested in coming to visit me and doing some traveling around Tanzania, check it out! Some of my photos were used in the post as well, which makes me excited!

Here is one of my favorite portions of the mini-travel guide: Food!

Must Eat
This is essentially rice and meat (usually goat) cooked with ginger and other spices. It is not like any other rice you’ve ever tasted—and so much better!
Tea Masala (chai)
Tanzanians love their ginger. Traditional Tanzanian tea, usually known as “chai,” but also occasionally listed as Tea Masala in restaurant menus, is a black tea with ginger, cinnamon, and liberal doses of sugar and milk. It is often served for breakfast with chipati, which is a bit like a thick flour tortilla.
Mishkaki are essentially kebabs, but somehow better. You can get them as chicken, fish, beef, or goat. The beef or goat mishkaki are my favorites, and typically come deliciously marinated. They are available everywhere—restaurants, bars, and along the side of the road.
Chips Mayai
Another traditional meal, chips mayai, literally translated is french fries and eggs, and that’s exactly what this is. Several eggs are cooked over a pile of french fries, then served with kachumbari, chopped tomatoes and onions with vinegar.
Fresh fruit
It would be ridiculous to visit a tropical country like Tanzania and not enjoy the fresh fruit. Mangoes, pineapples, passion fruit, avocadoes, and bananas are sold beside the road and oh, so delicious!

Dada Conda

•March 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Photo by _ncg | Used under creative commons license Source: Speak (http://speakjhr.com/2013/05/the-rising-cost-of-safe-transportation-in-dar-es-salaam/)

Photo by _ncg | Used under creative commons license
Source: Speak (http://speakjhr.com/2013/05/the-rising-cost-of-safe-transportation-in-dar-es-salaam/)

Its late. I’m tired.
I want to go home.
I squeeze through the door
No seat to be found.
We be bumpin’ and grindin’
total strangers
smashed together
sharing sweat
swaying to the rhythm
of potholes and missing shocks
Half-asleep, I stand
one eye open to not miss my stop
Then I see you.
You’re calling, “Acha Victoria,”
waiting, then “Victoria Haina.”
Dada Conda.
A woman!
“Makumbusho! Mwenge! Tegeta!”
Your voice is confident.
You stand firm against the
the sardine-smashing
the masses who fear you
A woman, in a man’s place.
But you are so much more.
I see you and I see beauty.
I see a better future.
I see equality.
Dada conda,
wewe nina ajabuu.


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