My reasons for leaving my culture behind for two months are endless. Here are just a few... 

1. My desire to see the world. 
Of all my grandmother's lessons, the one I remember the most vividly, is her telling me to travel the world. While I've been on plenty of family vacations, I know she didn't necessarily mean Florida beaches. She knew there was a part of me that was burning to see everything, from the largest cities to the smallest corners. For her, I want to travel to Africa, a place so unlike my small Pennsylvanian community. For her, I want to travel somewhere I feel so out of place, that the only resolution is to push my way in. For her, I don't want to be the one listening to stories, I want to be the one telling them.

2. My desire to teach the world. 
My passion for teaching cannot be put into words. When I applied for my volunteer role with WorldTeach, I knew I loved to teach, I knew I wanted to use my passion for teaching to make a positive impact on others. What I didn't know, was the impact that teaching can also have on me. 

During the fall of 2012, I was a student teacher at a middle school in my area. To say my 7th graders changed my life, is an understatement. Throughout the semester, I realized that I live for the moments that the lightbulb goes off, the moment a student physically lights up at discovering new knowledge. The semester was valuable to say the least, but it was actually my departure that taught me the most. 

As I hesitantly packed up my desk, my students delivered me cards and letters, decorated artistically in a way only 7th graders can master. The hearts and stick figures molded my assumption for light hearted notes inside the cover. However, on the cold December night that I read those letters, I found deeply heartfelt motivation and encouragement. My growing fear for Tanzania morphed into hope. My students, my 12 and 13 year old teachers, gave me their most genuine encouragement, love, endearment, and more encouragement. Their letters reminded me that I have a purpose in leaving, that I've already started making the difference I hoped for.

You can learn more about their encouragement and excitement for my journey by reading my "What is a Bibi?" post, where I explain how my students officially dubbed me with my Swahili alias. 

3. My desire to change the world. 
It sounds simplistic, utopian, I know. But, only the simplistic, utopianesque thinkers see changing the world as only something a superhero can do. Like my 7th graders taught me, I can change the world, one student at a time. If I can change the world, one single person's world, that is enough of a reward for me. By changing the world for one person, they too can see that they have the power to change it for someone else. All of our actions are domino effects, I just want to initiate a new chain of events. This is my dream for the world. 

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