"It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting."
"it doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstacy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human."
"it doesn't interest me if the story you’re telling me is true. I want to know if you can dissapoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bare the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day,and if you can source your own life
from it's presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!’"
"lt doesn't interest me where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back."
"lt doesn't interest me where or what or whom you have studied. i want to know what sustains you from inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments."
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer (O.M. Dreamer 1999)
So, does it really matter how a person gets somewhere as long as they get there? I guess its a matter of opinion...in this case, my journey has not been easy to say the least. I recently realized,all this time since I came to the USA I have been too busy surviving that I never really processed the significance of what I have been through. Nevertheless, that’s a tale for another time. For now, all I can say is, through it all, I have considered and done many things...I have cried in despair, I have been so angry and cursed the fates, I have recognized my irrelevance in the scheme of things an asked the Universe, why me? I have seek to understand and accept my history, I have learned to look ahead and adopt.So what now? Why KISS?
Well now I wish to help, I wish to inspire, I wish to be the guide towards the light at end of the tunnel, I wish to share what I have learned, I wish to serve and encourage everyone I know now and the future to join me and lead this effort, so that together we can discover the joy of service and witness, as a reward how our efforts touch people’s lives, to make a positive difference in the communities we serve.
I have come to understand the African proverb that says, “It takes a Village to raise child”, because in my anger and despair, I met, Joseph Fiore who co-signed for my first apartment as a single mom in a foreign land. He sent me to Catholic Charities where I met Joanne Simcick a spiritual advisor who helped me start the journey to start healing the then very raw but invisible wounds. Family friends who first took me in, and help me find my way, those who encouraged me to apply a job at Texas Instruments Inc. where I met my husband Alan, the father of my two other children. My own first born Fiorenza, the most beautiful creature I ever beheld, for her I managed to muster the strength to carry on and make a better life that would afford her and any other children I would be blessed with, the opportunities I’ve had, and those I wished I could. My second born, Steffi Elizabeth whose pure spirit and complete trust I would never wish to disappoint. My boy Ethan, so quiet like his father, but his love and concern for those he loves is always felt if not spoken. My love and husband Alan, who accepted me for who I was, warts and all...his sincere smile and simple outlook in life that made me wanna lookout for the guy. Sharon Smiley at Chase’s Credit Service Center, who saw the potential in me and gave me my first shot in banking even though I never worked in the financial services Industry. Marc Cutler, my former boss at Chase who taught me what it means to understand credit. Aaron Strom, my former boss at Chase BLC, whose mentorship increased my credit knowledge by leaps and bounds. Jay Clingman from Chase, who through a chance meeting at an event he guest spoke inspired me, and helped me truly acknowledge the leadership quality inside of me that can be utilized for good. His belief in me finally ignited the fire that had always burnt in me, to seriously work towards finding a way to help folks in Tanzania using all the financial knowledge I have gain working as a commercial lender. Professor Betsy del Monte from SMU, who took time out of her schedule to come to my workplace so she could tutor me during one of my breaks. I was secretly considering dropping out of the Sustainability program, and that single act, moved me so much that I vowed I will graduate, no matter how hard or long it takes, because I felt that would be the best way to honor her efforts and expressed my gratitude.
It’s quite funny sometimes that, even the people who are rooting for your failure, actually inspire you to do better and become even stronger. In my case,it’s probably vice more than virtue in situations like those. Once I realize what’s going on, my pride would rare its ugly head, while my self respect would demand that I pick the gauntlet and show what I’m made of. I make it my mission to prove my capabilities, and I never stop until I have achieved my goal.
I envisioned building an educational center within the Village boundaries, something designed to be integrated within the Village ecosystem, become part of the Village socio-economic fabric. A Center that will provide a venue to showcase, and train the locals on green technology and sustainable living. Provide a bridge to the western world and access to resources and expertise. A meeting place for cultural exchange and knowledge sharing, where innovators can put to test relevant tools and technology, while the Villagers benefit from this knowledge by putting it to use to increase their earning capacity and improve their lives and wellbeing of their families, thus, ending the cycle of rural poverty. In time, create a system that ensures that those who need a shot to improve their lot, can get it. A place that will help to Introduce to children from a young age the World and knowledge of computers and relevant technologies, as they may very well be necessary for them to be able to compete in the economy of the future. To provide space for safe accommodations while hosting high school graduates, university students, faculty and other volunteers from abroad wanting to make their personal contributions through participating in various programs and projects carried out either at the Center or other Village facilities.
In the end, I concluded a nonprofit organization will be the best tool for bringing this vision to reality. That is how Kijiji Innovative Sustainable Solutions or KISS came to be. Through knowledge, experience and personal insight of the culture and society I grew up in, I felt starting a Nonprofit organization will be the best way to achieve this objective. It will offer the independence and flexibility required for successful operations.
This endeavor will need people with talents and expertise from various fields in order to identify and source comprehensive solutions that are customized to address specific issues that are unique to the root cause of the problems plaguing and hindering economic improvements a particular community.
Along the way I asked some brilliant individuals i knew then and came to know during this process to help me realize this dream and I am eternally grateful and humbled that they agreed to team up with me in this efforts. I’m also grateful and gratified by the help we’ve received from SMU Lyle’s Hunt Institute as well as resources and mentorship from the Clinton Global Initiatives University, where i am a commitment maker for the class of 2020. I am looking forward to welcoming more partners to join our efforts in eliminating poverty in rural communities in Tanzania and hopefully scale this to other parts of developing Africa.
The sages are right in saying we can achieve much through unit and organized efforts,by lifting each other up and paying the blessings forward. Our logo icon, which is based on an Adinkra tribal symbol of Cooperation and interdependence. It’s literal translation is “Help me, to help you”, and that is the core of our operations. It is a testament to our shared belief that we shall accomplish our mission objective of fostering sustainable rural development and eliminate the cycle poverty that has plagued folks living in these communities through cooperation and interdependence between us, our partners, our supporters, and the communities we serve.
Now I would like to take the opportunity to welcome every person of goodwill with desire to improve lives of their fellow earth dwellers to join this effort in any ways and/or means at your disposal. For those who prefer monetary contribution, please visit our website at www.ecokijiji.org and make a donation.
For those with talent or skills and time to share such blessings with our folks in Kasisa, we have a place for you through KISS CORPS, a volunteer program that will be launched at the completion of the Village Center Facility.
For those wishing to participate in knowledge sharing from the comfort of your home, we will have something for you as well through our virtual training program to be launched in a future.
If what you can share is not listed here, please contact our team and we will find a place for you to be able give back. It takes a Village, I am a living proof of it.