Do Something That Matters: My Safari Njema (Good Journey) to Tanzania

Originally posted on Also posted on the YCI blog:

17th December 2011
Who knew that this Youth Challenge International card would change my life and set me off on a whole new adventure?? It was April of last year and, having heard my last rejection for grad school, I was feeling pretty down and at a loss for what I was going to do next. I had a clear plan for 2011 which included starting my postgrad studies in either international development or communication studies in September. Coming from a B.A. Honours in English and Minor in History, I knew it was going to be more difficult getting into the international development field, especially at the graduate level, but I didn’t anticipate that I wouldn’t get in at all. Kind of felt like my world was crashing down.

After some tears, moments of looking up at the sky and being like, ‘WHY??’ and consoling from my mum and friends, I regrouped and made a new grand kickass plan for 2012. Part of this plan involved a visit to McMaster University’s Career Office to seek guidance from a career advisor on my next steps, programs I should apply to, internships and other fields to consider, like communications. As I sat in the office waiting to meet with the advisor, I noticed a pile of cards sitting on the table with the YCI logo and the words ‘DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS’ printed boldly on them. Naturally, out of curiousity, I picked one up and it definitely caught my interest. At the time, I was on the hunt for both local and international internships, knowing that gaining more experience would not only be beneficial and a fantastic learninge xpoerience, but also boost my chances of getting into grad school. A lot of emphasis is based on practical experience and despite getting my toes wet last year in Cape Town, I knew I had to find something to build upon that experience.

So I took said card, put it in my bag and during my meeting, excitedly took it out after the advisor mentioned YCI! She had heard nothing but great things and encouraged me to look into it. After that, I admittedly never did get around to checking out YCI until May, when I remembered the card and made my way onto the website to learn more and peruse. Things were a bit up in the air and I was still trying to decide what kind of internship I was for sure looking for. I am so glad I read about YCI because I loved the sound of the mission, the work and the different projects. I applied not knowing what to expect and I’d heard it was pretty competitive so I filled out my application in June and sent it in, hoping for the best. A week later, I had my phone interview (an intense half hour!) and a week or so after that…well the rest, as they say, is history.

I told this same story to Cheryl Turner, our Country Manager, Brian Cox, the Executive Director of YCI and Steve Brown, the Chairman of the YCI Board when they visited Arusha at the end of October. They were impressed at the impression the card had made and my willingness to learn more based on the information on this card. It was eye catching and basically told me everything I needed to know.

This card followed me to Tanzania and back. I kept it in my journal and looked at it a few times, reminded of the reason I was on this journey to do something that mattered. And let me tell you, it was definitely a safari njema (good journey) 🙂

xoxo Avi

For more about my journey, read my last entry which reflects on my time in Tanzania two weeks after arriving back in Canada:

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