After much deliberation, a country has finally been chosen. Central High School student Martha Scott Burton shares her views on the selection process:
After much discussion and consideration (a 2 1/2 hour meeting), the Cocoa Honors team has decided to travel to Tanzania in order to meet the farmers of the farmer group, Umoja wa Wakulima Tenende! We are so excited as we plan our trip in August!
As we reached our decision, we looked at factors such as bean quality, business and government contacts, and marketability. Now that we have a destination, we are wrapping up our fundraising efforts as we make the final push to raise money for the drilling of a deep-water well in the Tenende Village, where the farmers live.
The process of choosing a bean source has taught me a few things, one being the amount of effort and time required to conduct the large portions of research. I can assure the readers that this step in our project was not taken lightly. I’ve learned valuable researching techniques, as well as confidence in making phone calls to potential contacts. You certainly have to be willing to put yourself out there to hear a “no.”
As a participant, I cannot express my excitement over our choice. I feel that the quality of beans combined with the assistance from the government of Tanzania swayed everyone to vote for Tanzania.
As our travel dates draw nearer, I await with anticipation, excitement, and trepidation. Having never flown out of the United States, and now going into a rather rural part of Africa, it is hard to feel completely prepared. I refer to preparedness not only in the sense of having the right amount of clothing, etc., but also in terms of culture shock. When compared to the rest of the world, I know I have experienced life through a pair of rose-tinted glasses. I expect that flying into the third poorest nation in Africa will serve as an eye opening experience.
I hope you see my overwhelming enthusiasm, not only for the trip, but also for the project and its goals. It is rare that a 17-year-old has a chance to not only change lives, but save them. I can only wish for the best on this trip, for I believe that the project has the best interests for the people of Tenende at heart.
So now, it’s off to pack and receive a lot of shots in preparation.