Tanzania Journal

I can't believe that in less than two weeks, I will be in Tanzania! If you missed my big announcement about this special trip, you can read all about it hereI will be traveling with a small group of journalists and colleagues from Catholic Relief Services. Our work in Tanzania will focus on highlighting the ways in which CRS’s fantastic Rice Bowl program serves families living in that country.

As I looked at my calendar today and realized that we only have twelve days before the trip, I honestly started to panic a bit. So much to plan for, so little knowledge about some of our details. And then, as I felt my stress rising, I heard in my head, "First world problems, Lisa..."

When I wondered with a bit of anxiety, "Where we will be be sleeping?"

I read on the CRS website:

With roughly 75% of the population living in rural communities with inadequate access to social and financial services and transportation infrastructure, East Africa's largest nation still faces many development challenges that continue to hold down the poorest of the poor.

When I wondered about adequate wifi service to share our stories, I read on The Citizen:

Historically, Internet services in Tanzania started in 1995. Five years later, in 2000, the country had only 115,000 people connected to the Internet. That number has grown significantly since then. Currently more than 6 million citizens, out of 45 million people, access the Internet on a daily basis –reaching a penetration rate of 11.5 per cent of the population.

When I mentally questioned what kind of currency I should be bringing with me, I learned a few statistics from UNICEF:

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day (%) 2007-2011 - 67.9%
Child labour (%) + 2002-2012 - 21%
Use of improved drinking water sources (%) 2011, total 53%

My needs, however frivolous they feel right now, will be thoroughly taken care of. And while the more I read about Tanzania helps me to see that they face critical challenges, I can't wait to get there and start telling the stories of CRS' work on the ground.

Catholic Relief Services' programs in Tanzania include:

As we progress through the next twelve days, I'll be sharing my preparations with you. In the mean time, you and I don't need to wait to begin praying for this special country and her people. Also, today might be a great day to order your CRS Rice Bowl supplies at CRSRiceBowl.orgIf each of us would give $1 for these next twelve days and the time that I'll be in Tanzania as a bonus to our Lenten giving, just imagine the good that we could do!

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of Tanzania, pray for us!

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