Dublin vet student Katrina Picariello volunteered with a VetAid project in Tanzania
I keep wondering even after the trip what I did to deserve such an experience.
I will never forget the feeling I had as our car pulled up to the first boma (enclosed family camp) and I was greeted by a large group of Maasai women and children. They opened the car door, took my hands and pulled me out of the car. They were all smiles and laughter as they spoke to me in Swahili. It was one of the warmest and greatest welcomes I have ever felt. I was overwhelmed by their willingness to embrace a total stranger and foreigner into their circle for a brief meeting. They were excited about the progress they had made in their community and education and grateful for all the help VETAID was giving them. They showed me all the beadwork that they had made and how they could write their names. I felt privileged to be part of their meeting.
It is with a heavy heart that I leave Tanzania and VetAid. They have done so much for me. You cannot address the problems facing African livestock without first addressing the people who are affected by their livestock and their relationship to them. I keep wondering even after the trip what I did to deserve such an experience. I think fundraising was the very least I could do. Vivianne in the Arusha office gave me a kanga (traditional East African cloth worn by women that can be fashioned in various ways as a skirt, top, etc.). It has a saying along the bottom that translates as, “We have stayed with you in kindness. Go and live in peace.”