Finally our crowdfunding campaign is soon to be launched on Indiegogo. I am only waiting for our PayPal account to be verified. It has taken sometime to get it going, as I am working fulltime and volunteering in UngXit. I am hoping to be able to travel to Zanzibar in January-Feburary 2016, and to stay three weeks.
So, what’s the story?
I know it might seem crazy to start a fundraising campaign for a project in Africa. It might seem risky, or at best, a little bit stupid. But there is some logic to it. If you wonder what motivates me to initaite a crowdfunding campaign for Sober House in Zanzibar, I could give the explanation of my interest for social work and community-based work. I am a social scientist – kind of a geek. That is true, but there is more to it than that. What motivated me to visit Sober House nearly three years ago to start with, was my personal experience of knowledge about drug addiction, and how it affects people. It is not a personal weakness, it is a disease. Once you’ve seen it, you hope that you will never see it again. However, in an urban city, we see it every day. Do we care? Do we even stop to think and wonder why people have chosen the path of drug addiction? My guess is that in every case there is some kind of explanation to it. Besides, users don’t “choose” addiction – it develops over time. After being struck in the face too many times people struggle to pick themselves up again. Narcotic drugs seem like an easy escape.
Many friends and family members do not realise what happens until it is too late. Your loved one changes over time. Through behaviour, mindset, attitude. And you become a part of it, although you don’t want to. Because you love them. It becomes a personal hell in which you try to find out what’s right from wrong. Even when you try to do what seems right it could end up being all wrong. You could develop self hatred, as you try your best, but don’t succeed. I did, because I failed. In more ways than one. Or that’s what I thought. As you watch your loved one slip further into drug addiction you wonder when it is going to end. And how. You never know, but you fear that tomorrow will be his or her last day. Still, she’s your sister, he’s your brother, your uncle, or friend. You want to help them. You want to save them. But how can you? The thing is, you can’t. And it is not a fair task upon your shoulders, because it’s not up to you.
You might feel resentment. Anger. Grief. Frustration. Loneliness. Sadness. Numbness. Depression. And then possibly, self resentment, for thinking and feeling how you do. I’ve been through them all. It has never been an option for me to use drugs. To go from non-smoking to using drugs? Now, how silly would that be? My strategy is, I have realised: I escape. “Hey, I will travel in Africa!” Six months. I had a job that made me feel like I was wearing a straightjacket, and I figured it didn’t matter so much if I didn’t return home alive. Then at least I would have done something that I wanted to. That’s honestly what I was thinking.
Sober House is an important means of helping drug addicts in Zanzibar, and mainland Tanzania. Many people are getting help, and there are so many others in need. I would like to try to help some of them, to enable the residents to have some activities that they are able to run themselves. If they are able to express themselves creatively, and to learn new skills, it might help them escape from addiction. That is what I am hoping for on behalf of one Sober House residence. As for me, it is a means of doing something productive with my own experiences and challenges. I feel like I have lost him, but we are lucky that he lives on. He is my brother. ♥