Friday, July 8, 2011


At the end of every day as I walk out of the office cross the 10 foot walkway to my back door I hear the words “Tizaonana Milo” (see you later, tomorrow). Tomorrow it will simply be “Tizaonana.” Tomorrow I am leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…la la la. But it isn’t all la de da. It is a profound goodbye. One that I never anticipated to be as humbling and appreciative as it is. I knew coming to Zambia would be an “experience” but as I have toiled with the drama, the landscape, the work, the language, and keeping my feet clean I have found more than any experience has given me...I’ve found a piece of my life, part of me. It is difficult to put into words and I will never pretend to do it justice but I will try by saying a few final thank yous to encompass the vastness of my appreciation for this place, people, and all that this adventure has been.

Thank you to the house that welcomed us in with all of its quirks. From the jenga-like floor to the standard house inhabitants (mice, cockroaches, maggots, wall spiders, geckos, etc.) I have loved your charm, your sounds, the projector screen and most of all the fact that you were never ever more than 10 steps from the office.

Thank you to the yard that evolved from dirt to grass and a garden in a short year. To the avocado, mango, lemon, papaya, and banana tress…without you, I am not sure how I would have eaten. Thank you to the hammock that provided hours of countless thought, solace, and appreciation for then web of nature that exists right behind my home. Thank you for the countless braais and events that brought many people together and provided space for shenanigans.

To Kamba. Dog, I love love love you and if I could I would cart you all the way back to the states. I love waking up to you and am so glad that you did not kill yourself in the first few months here. Be good, try not to bark so much at night, and keep working on your tricks.

To Ping…well, you’ve grown on me and I hope that one of the new interns has a deep appreciation and love for cats. Be well, keep killing mice, and please learn to run away from Kamba.

Thank you to the office. While half of my time was spent outside the walls, the walls provided rounds of laughter, space for conversation, and a desk in a back room that I could call my own.

Thank you to the incredible team of individuals who I’ve worked AND played with. I don’t think I have ever met a more impassioned group of people. To each of you, thank you for teaching me what caring means, for always asking difficult questions, for laughing and dancing often, and for including me in your lives…it has been a rare privilege to be welcomed into your homes and your lives. Thank you!

To the coaches, thank you for humoring my Nyanja, for including me in energizers, for listening to what I had to say, for 3a.m. phone calls, for setting up tents, for eating the meat pies, and for committing to your communities and to kids. Your impact is astounding and why it was worth while to wake up.

To the interns (Marissa, Mike, and Max). Gosh, what to say. North, South, East, AND West. We did it guys…the perfect balance, the perfect crew. I think that this place has left it’s mark on us but YOU ALL have left your marks on me. Thank you for the support, conversation, meals, movies, enthusiasm, and willingness to try new things. I will miss you all terribly- but I’ll see you all soon J

I love my ZAMFAM (Marissa, Spiak, Zales, Tommy, Max, Lena). You all are amazing! You inspire me to work harder and I definitely would not understand or appreciate this place as much if it hadn’t been for all of you. Your advice, love of life, and work ethic is contagious. Can’t wait to run into you all again.

To my friends, you ALL should know who you are. Memories are insane and incredible and bring swells of laughter and tears when I think about all the adventures, conversations, and fun that we’ve had. I cannot wait to see where each of your lives take you…I know they are going amazing places. Thanks for including me in your lives, you have made a lasting impression and I don’t think that I would have survived the wildlife, the vacations, or crossing the street with out you. So much love…miss you all!

To the Tuesday vegetable market, my favorite space in all of Lusaka. Thank you for the color, the energy, and the fresh food. I hope that all the mama’s stay safe, the guard boys out of trouble, and that the land continues to produce, and the people continue to purchase. I found peace and inspiration each time I stepped through the threshold so, thank you.

Vegas, Alpha, R&G events, and Polo…thank you for teaching me to dance. I now believe that muzungus can dance too!

To Wednesday afternoon and weekend frisbee...go big or go home. I've never felt so alive in my life! Hours of conversation, intense games, and quirky cuts and throws pepper my memories of the Polo fields, the American school, and in it's final days the horse arena under the lights. Cannot wait to see you all soon...keep playing, t-rex points, and Mr. Jones....go long!

To all those who helped to support me whether through funding, prayers, thoughts, notes, or simply by talking about Grassroot Soccer. I need you all to know that my life is changed because of you and I cannot thank you enough!

To Grassroot Soccer, for not only giving me the opportunity to come here and to continue! My life will never be the same because of this.

For those of you who do not know…I will be back in the US for about a month. After that month I will be moving to Cape Town, South Africa to continue working for Grassroot Soccer in our Global Office. I will be helping out with the monitoring and evaluation side of all of our programs and a little bit of curriculum development. I am thrilled, excited, nervous, and all around blessed.

Tizaonana Zambia…not Milo (tomorrow) but maybe sometime soon.