Proposals, Privilege, and Purpose

Late post // Written 6/15/2015

I am in Tanzania, and my heart is heavy.  I knew this moment would come for me as it has for so many in the past.  After a  night involving marriage proposals from men who were no more than strangers, looking for nothing with regard to love and everything with regard to a better life, I’m stuck wondering why I don’t have to think about that when considering who I marry.  Through no choice of our own, these men were born in a land far away with few resources to help them along the way, while I have never been in need of the basic necessities and still have the chance to better my situation every day.  I was born in the U.S.A., the “Land of Opportunity”, while millions– billions– look wistfully at this place that I have called home for 19 years.

I like to think that I’ve worked hard, that I’ve earned at least most of what has come to me, but the truth of it is, this is privilege.  I live in a country of greatness thanks to the hard-working generations here before me.  I am so close to so many Tanzanians who have worked harder than I likely ever will have to, who would give anything to be where I am in life.  To call my situation anything but privilege is a slap in the face to my new friends here on the other side of the world.  I am blessed with more than I knew I had, and it overwhelms me.  After seeing this disparity that exists, I am left searching more fervently than ever for my purpose.   I don’t know what it is, but I know it is to help people.  That’s the only way I know how to accept what I have been given– to give it back.  Whether that means selling all that I have and moving, or taking a good job in the States and giving abundantly, or somewhere in between, I do not know.  All I know is that I cannot come away from this place and continue to live life as usual.

2 thoughts on “Proposals, Privilege, and Purpose”

  1. Since you’ve come back to America, will you still continue to keep up with the people that you’ve met while in Tanzania? You commented on how the standard of living was so different than that in the US, so will you do anything to bring other people’s awareness to how different the US compared other countries? If so, what will you do?

    1. Hi Abbi!

      I have been keeping in touch with my host family through email throughout this semester. It has been hard in a lot of ways to readjust to life here while still hearing updates from them, especially when we were all concerned about safety during their election.

      As far as your second question goes, I definitely feel like I sound like a broken record with my friends when I tell them how much we have here. I haven’t taken on a huge task to address the disparity, but I spent the semester doing my honors research on social entrepreneurship and development. Between that and my visit to Tanzania, I now feel I have a much better idea of what’s coming next for me.

      Thanks for your questions!

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