Tupendane [Swahili]: love each other.
Breaking out of your comfort zone is scary. But what if a single leap of faith could change the world?
In August of 2014, when Nancy Bushek was 28 years old, she found herself at a crossroads. Stuck with a job she hated, and in need of a change, she decided she wanted a fresh start at life. She had always wanted to travel abroad and volunteer, and through the International Volunteer Headquarters, she found an opportunity to do both. Her heart led her to choose Tanzania as her place to serve, although she knew nothing about the country except that it was in Africa. Before long, the plan was set; she would leave in January 2015 for a three-month stint. As the date slowly approached, Nancy began feeling increasing doubt and anxiety, She was encouraged by her brother Anthony, who was extremely excited for her to go on this new adventure.
But on November 18, 2014, tragedy struck. Anthony died suddenly, utterly rocking Nancy and her mother, Anne, to the core. Nancy was, again, at a crossroads and needed to make a decision. Would she cancel her trip and allow her heartbreak and fear to stop her, or would she move forward and let Anthony’s enthusiasm for her planned journey bolster her along the way?
Nancy knew the only way for her was forward, and after the devastating loss of her brother she was sure this was what she was meant to do.
When Nancy first walked into the Tupendane Orphanage in the Arusha district of Tanzania, she was understandably nervous and hoping to make a good impression on the children, but she needn’t have worried. Within minutes, she was on the floor laughing with the 32 children piling on top of her and smothering her with their love and friendship. She describes her emotions about that moment as the most amazing and wonderful feeling she’d ever had – and that was the moment that started a whole new future for Nancy and forever changed the lives of many, many children.
During her time at the orphanage, Nancy found that the children of the impoverished district had a love for learning, but often could not receive a proper education due to their circumstances. From this realization, combined with Nancy’s determination to make a difference, she discovered her calling. In May of 2015, just five months after she first arrived in Tanzania, Nancy and her mother Anne, an oncology nurse, established the Educating Tanzania Foundation.
In just a year and a half, the Educating Tanzania Foundation (ETF) has already had a huge impact for the children at Tupendane. With the help of sponsors, the family-run organization has renovated the orphanage into a true home for the children with a new kitchen, glass windows, two new bathrooms, and a new classroom, named for Anthony. They have also established a two-acre rice farm, a fully sustainable project that will help to feed the kids and generate income. ETF believes in staying actively involved in every aspect of the children’s lives, maintaining relationships with them, and encouraging their success.
Spotlight on Halima (as told to me by Anne): “Halima is an eleven-year-old girl who “aged out” of the orphanage system in Tanzania. When I learned of her, she was working in a rice field to help support her family. Her father has abandoned her mother and her four siblings and they are living in a brick hut with their chickens. Halima was kicked out of the local public school because her clothes had too many holes in them. Her future was pretty bleak.
But we changed all of that!! Educating Tanzania Foundation found a sponsor for Halima and she is now in a boarding school where she is learning to read and write, speak English, eat three meals a day, and most importantly, attain dignity and a future with opportunity and hope.”
Nearly two years ago, Nancy took an enormous leap of faith. She wanted to go on an adventure and do some good in the world, but she could never have known how it would change her life. She says, “I gained a new found respect for relationships, trust, decency, courtesy and love whilst abroad. I gained perspective in a way I never imagined. I gained hope, and I gained my power back.” Tupendane indeed.
Get involved: ETF is a 501(c)3 and 100% of all donations go to the children; it is run completely by volunteers. You can help by donating (any amount), supporting a specific project (bee farm, livestock stable, daily meals, and many more!), or become a member-donor by sponsoring a child ($1200 a year).
Educating Tanzania Foundation
P.O. Box 852
Capitola, CA 95010
Sweatpants & Coffee is proud to partner with ETF in offering specially designed Educating Tanzania Foundation t-shirts, totes, and sweatshirts. $5 from every ETF themed item will go directly to the Educating Tanzania Foundation. Look good and help a child today! Available here: https://sweatpantsandcoffee.com/product-category/educating-tanzania-foundation-merch/