Life is Good!I just spent almost a month in Tanzania, working (and playing soccer) in a remote village at the N’getaeu Secondary School. I traveled with the Safi School Project (Safi means Life is Good in Swahili) a foundation out of Seattle, Washington, that has built this remarkable school over a period of years. How did I end up there?My awareness of the global water crisis, specifically in Africa, came to light when I was a 6th grade student in Mr. Ashworth’s geography class. I was shocked and saddened to learn that clean water was a privilege for some, and not for others. During the process of researching my project, I discovered that 25,000 children die from water bourn illnesses each day, and that it was not unusual for women to walk 8 miles every morning to get clean, drinkable water for their families. I asked, how could this be?The following year, as part of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, I needed to choose my project for Tikkun Olam, the Hebrew phrase for “repairing the world.” No question, it was going to revolve around water. I decided to raise and donate money towards building a well somewhere in Africa. Well, that somewhere, was in Tanzania, because of the Hosokawa family, who are members of the BCD community.Instead of gifts, I asked my friends and family to donate money to The Safi School Project, the foundation that the Hosokawa’s support. It was a start, but not nearly enough to drill a well. Dorree, (currently a 6th grade student) and I did some tabling on the streets of Great Barrington and raised more. USA Rotary and the International Rotary got involved, through the foundation, and this past spring, after three years, the well was built on the school grounds.They say little by little fills the pot. It is really the truth.

This summer, I was invited by Safi to join them on a volunteer trip to see what my efforts have helped to provide. It is one thing to look at a photo and another to actually drink the water and feel it going through my fingers. Amazing.

Now there’s a kitchen, so that the students and staff can have rice and beans for lunch. There are sinks in the chemistry lab, so that they can do real experiments. And all of the people in the village are welcome to walk up the hill and fill their buckets with water. Everything has changed for this community. And everything has changed for me. Safi will remain a part of my life. And so will the people of Tanzania.

I plan on starting a volunteer club at Proctor Academy, where I am now a junior. My goal is to raise money for Safi’s education program.

I sent Mr. Ashworth a facebook message while I was in Africa, letting him know how much he inspired me as a person and as a teacher. My dream is to go back to volunteer again, and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Who knows, maybe Mr. Ashworth and I will climb it together.

Harrison Newman
BCD class of 2011

Proctor Academy
Class of 2014