Eager Anticipation: Prepping for Trip to Africa
The following post was written by Evan Seitz, senior associate for service-learning programs with the UU College of Social Justice.
I am not graceful when preparing for trips. I fret about everything from which type of trail mix to bring to whether our hosts will meet me at the airport. However, for the upcoming UUA-UUSC supporter journey to Tanzania and Burundi my usual pre-trip jitters have been largely replaced by eager anticipation. I have never been to Africa, and I can’t wait to visit two great partners: the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP), based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the Assembly of Christian Unitarians of Burundi (ACUB) based in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Tanzania is currently rewriting its constitution and our partner TGNP is working on including language on the human right to water in that new constitution. Our delegation will be meeting with TGNP leaders to hear firsthand their stories on this process. We will also be visiting community partners of TGNP that have struggled to access safe, sufficient, affordable water for daily human consumption. At the end of our visit with TGNP, we will be visiting a representative of the Tanzanian Water Ministry to express our hope for a successful inclusion of the right to water in the new constitution.
In Burundi, we will be meeting Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence, the minister of the newest Unitarian Church on the African continent. ACUB has an active social outreach ministry, and we will be meeting with community members who have benefited from this service. There will also be plenty of time to meet with members of the congregation. I am personally most excited about attending the service on Sunday; it will be only my second Unitarian service outside of the United States.
I am also looking forward to spending eight days with a stellar group of supporters and social justice activists. The seven delegation members come from all regions of the United States and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. Joining me as trip leaders are my colleague Eric Cherry, director of the UUA’s International Office, and Patricia Jones, manager of UUSC’s Environmental Justice Program. Return for more updates from me and other delegation members as this exciting journey unfolds.