An Intro to this blog... 

Working with several NPO’s (non-profit) and NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) throughout the years have given me some pretty amazing opportunities and experiences.  This blog is to record my journey back to Africa - a country I love so very much – where I will be visiting the Gerladina Orphanage and Education Centre (GOEC) in the  town of Bukoba in Tanzania.  As a Board Member with this organization, I consider it both a privilege and a pleasure to be a part of our volunteer team here in Canada.  I am so looking forward to meeting the children & staff at the orphanage as well as the local community, working with them along with our board of directors to further the goals for the future of the Centre.  Be a part of this experience with me by following my blog, Tweets and posts on Facebook. I will be attempting to post when internet is available, however if this becomes difficult I will update my blog with posts and pictures upon my return to Canada. To learn more about GOEC read my introduction below and visit the website here. 

After our visit to GOEC, Derek and I will be extending our stay while travelling throughout Tanzania, with visits to Mwanza, the Serengeti and Stone Town, to name a few.  I hope to post updates about the amazing places we see and people we meet.  Follow my blog throughout the month of June and be part of this journey!

I close with my favorite quote by someone I wish I could have met and whom I have the upmost admiration for:

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~Harriet Tubman

Asanteni sana - Thank you all,


Operations Director,

Canada Support Office for the Gerladina Orphanage & Education Centre  


Stay tuned for updates on this blog as well as throughTwitter & Facebook:

Twitter:  @YIMBYNation


CLICK HERE to begin reading the very first post on this blog!


So where do we go from here?

October 12, 2012

As many of you know, after we left Bukoba Derek & I continued our journey travelling throughout Tanzania.  This was quite an adventure, with far too many stories to retell and pictures to post through this blog.  Besides, it seems more fitting to conclude with our Journey to ‘Bukoba’ with the incredible people we met there and the inspiring things we witnessed.  If you are just catching up on this blog now, please read the intro. at the top of the main page then begin at my earliest post , it will definitely make more sense and you won’t want to miss notes from our first days in Bukoba!  You'll find all my photo's from this Journey on Flickr as well.

I had an incredible amount of difficulty trying to post on this blog while in Tanzania (even when I returned I had numerous technical ‘quirks’ with the site), so I was originally limited to posting on Facebook.  However I will post a link here in the future to some of my photography from our journey through the rest of the country, beginning in Mwanza, continuing through to Arusha, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and on towards our final destination - the Indian Ocean Island of Zanzibar.  If you want to hear more about our adventures in these places then let’s grab a latte and chat!  Otherwise, I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and the photo’s on Flickr as well, and if you’d like to get involved with supporting this wonderful grassroots organization, be sure to check out the GOEC website and our Facebook page.

In conclusion of this blog and our Tanzanian journey, the big question remains: What next?
The first half of this question is...where do we go next?   As mentioned in this and my previous blog to Zambia (& Botswana) the love I have for the air, sand and water of the continent of Africa – not to mention the incredible spirit of the people - runs thick through my veins and my desire to return keeps me planning!  Tanzania has been by far one of my favorite places ever visited (and I’ve travelled a lot), and I would definitely love to return there someday.  Tanzanians are extremely friendly, down to earth, honest and loving.  They put family first and yet inspired me with their kindness towards their neighbors and friends as well as visitors to their country, such as a  'Mzungu' like myself. Their generosity and goodwill towards those in need was reflected in their willingness to help others.  Even those who had few material possessions did whatever they could to help someone in need.  There are many people doing great things in the country and making great strides towards positive change, including both Tanzanian and international organizations... helping to alleviate poverty, disease, injustice and more. But I find it is the small grassroots 'acts of kindness' by both individuals and smaller organizations such as GOEC, that give us a true testament of how love endures above all things and the human spirit was created to fight for what was right.  Some people just seem naturally attuned to this I guess, and I’m thankful to have met this kind of humanity and resilience.

So that said, Derek & I are already thinking and planning our next journey. To where? We‘re still sorting that out. Dreams are hard to consolidate into just one adventure at a time. But Tanzania is definitely on my 'must return' list. Who knows, I may even pick up this blog again...

Until then, thank you for joining us & please keep in touch with our work with GOEC (see below for an exciting upcoming event!). 


The second half of the question is, what next for the orphanage and for the work in Bukoba?  Our journey continues with GOEC  (maybe not while 'literally' in Tanzania, at least not right now) and we are continually working hard back here at home to raise funds and awareness for this cause.  There are many exciting initiatives planned for the near future so please 'Like' us on Facebook so we can keep you posted! 

For now, please check our our website for details on an upcoming event, our annual Fundraiser "Brighten our Future" on Oct. 21stat Lula Lounge in Toronto. The goal of our fundraiser this year is to raise support for the construction of a much larger home for the Gerladina Orphanage and Education Centre, with 100% of the funds raised at this event (that's funds raised, not just proceeds!!) going towards this construction project. The more money we raise, the more children we can support. Even if you can't attend this year, please help us out by forwarding the event invite on Facebook, ReTweeting us and extending this warm welcome to your friends, family and co-workers. You can also contribute to the fundraising initiative online.

At GOEC, we know we may be a small grassroots organization but we have a big dream for the children of Tanzania!  So we hope you'll join us for this incredible
 event for a worthwhile cause! 

I hope you have enjoyed this journey through my blog...

Asanteni Sana, thank you all!





Reluctant goodbyes...

October 10, 2012

As I sit here pouring over photos and thinking of all our memories from of our journey to Tanzania, while trying to ‘prioritize’ which pictures to post (if that's even possible), the names I can’t allow myself to forget, the amazing memories I’ll remember forever, it seems like I was there only yesterday.  I see the faces of children and people who are no longer simply in our hearts and our prayers while the distance keeps us separated, but whom I now feel eternally bonded with afte...

Continue reading...


October 10, 2012

I must dedicate a post completely to Eugenia, the housemother at the Gerladina Orphanage, who is an amazing woman with a heart of gold. She has a warm spirit and wise soul and I gained so much respect and admiration for her. She took time to help me sharpen my Swahili, and just as she is with the children, she was endlessly patient with me. She works very hard to ensure these children are nurtured and properly cared for. We were so happy to see how some of the newer children looked so much ...

Continue reading...

Why I believe education is integral to Community Development

October 10, 2012


As I mentioned in a previous post, we had the privilege of visiting local schools where the children from both the orphanage and the 'Neighborhood Children' program attend through the support of GOEC. By ensuring that vulnerable or orphaned children can stay in school throughout the primary and secondary levels, and by working towards increasing their access to a primary education in English, they will have a better chance at  success in pursuing a post-secondary educational, vocational AND/...

Continue reading...

Construction on the new Permanent Centre

October 10, 2012

We visited the site of the new GOEC Permanent Centre several times while in Bukoba, witnessing the laying of the foundation and the construction that followed.  Check out my Flickr album highlighting the work completed while we were in Bukoba, as well as the beautiful surroundings and idealistic location Thadeus chose for Gerladina Orphanage & Education Centre’s new home.

The build begins for the new GOEC Permanent Centre with a beautiful backdrop of trees, homes, green hills & golden feilds...

Continue reading...

"Naomba Kupiga Picha yako?"

October 10, 2012

"Naomba Kupiga Picha yako?" means 'May a take a picture of you?" in Swahili, and is a very important question to ask before snapping up photos around you in Tanzania.  For the most part people were happy to have their photo taken (after gaining permission) and then to view it afterwards, especially the children!  While there was 'wait times' in between our busy itinerary, I would pass the moments by taking photos of the children with my camera's LCD screen positioned so that they could see th...

Continue reading...

Family, friends & sights around Bukoba

October 10, 2012

While out on our community visits, Thadeus stopped the Toyota just as we reached a plateau with a spectacular view of Lake Victoria. We began hiking down the hillside with an unknown destination, as at first Thadeus kept quiet about where we were headed...

Hiking down the hillside

We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at the home where he grew up and meet some of his extended family! We all took a walk through the lush green landscape that cascades down towards Lake Victoria, meeting the ne...

Continue reading...

Day at the Market

October 10, 2012

We went shopping at the market with Thadeus, Eugenia & Fred for supplies/food for the orphanage and seen many familiar foods as well as several interesting items we couldn't identify. I took a chance and bought a spice I was sure was Cardamom to bring back for my sister. Turns out I was right!  But I wish I had remembered what they called it there. 

There was such a variety of products being sold - from jewelry & clothing to meat and nuts - and so much activity and talking, it made your head ...

Continue reading...

Busilykia Secondary School

October 10, 2012

We visited Busilykia Secondary School, which in recent years GOEC has supported through the 'Brighten our Future' program (annual Fundraising event & campaign).  It was such an honor (not to mention inspiration) to see so many young people dedicated to learning and reaping the benefits from GOEC's support towards this goal. 

They impressed us with their singing, dancing and speeches and it was obvious how much they had practised and prepared for the day. Everyone did so well, especially con...

Continue reading...

School visits & the 'Neighborhood Children'

October 6, 2012

In addition to visiting the schools where the children from the Gerladina Orphanage attend, we were able to meet a few of the children sponsored through the ‘Neighborhood’ program and deliver gifts & letters to them from their sponsors. These children were identified as being vulnerable due to their life circumstance. The program ensures they do not lose the opportunity to attend school by providing economic and social support, uniforms, shoes and supplies. If you are interested in spon...

Continue reading...

Wondering where we'll be?  Tanzania is located in East Africa,  bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern border lies on the Indian Ocean. We'll be spending our last few days in this Coastal area, in Dar es Salaam and on the Island of Zanzibar.   

Information on Tanzania:

“Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.” Mother Theresa


A bit of background on the Gerladina Orphanage & Education Centre:

 The Gerladina Orphanage & Education Centre (GOEC) in Bukoba, Tanzania is a home to 23 orphaned and vulnerable children from the surrounding community. Founder and President of GOEC, Thadeus Mutarubukwa, has dedicated his life to provide these children with a brighter future.  Working towards his dream for the future of these children is a team of volunteer board of directors and volunteers and supporters who assist in various ways - fundraising, promotion, web support, child sponsorship, through prayers and more.  Through the successful yearly Fundraiser ‘Brighten Our Future’ event, hundreds of children have been able to attend school in Bukoba. 

GOEC has recently launched a program to assist the children in the surrounding neighborhoods who are considered to be in vulnerable situations and at risk of losing their education.  We have found sponsors for 16 of these children, but 8 children are still in need of sponsors in order to ensure their continued education.  For only $20 a month, you can help to ensure one of these children continues to attend school.  Please visit the ‘Neighborhood Children ’ section of the GOEC for more information on how you can help. 

It is our hope that we can continue to help even more children and that the work of the organization will grow into a Long-term Sustainable development program that will affect the entire community and many generations to come.  


Translate This Page

Make a Free Website with Yola.