Tag Archives: Harambee

Harambee, a female approach

I already wrote about H. – that she finally wanted to realize her childhood dream: becoming a midwife. I wrote about it because my sister was a midwife, and so I got acquainted with the profession at a young age. I lived with her in my teens, and often went with her to visit a pregnant woman who was almost in labour when I was a 16-year-old. A few times I even assisted at childbirths. Impressive!

So I have a thing with that, as with “realizing your dreams”

Recently the latter was an issue during an email exchange with an upcoming volunteer. She had a chance to buy a well-priced ticket, but she didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
After that, it was much more expensive and she wanted so desparately to come here, as she would like to move to Portugal. Volunteering here would be a good preparation for her to accomplish her dream.

There’s not much cooperating to make significant life changes, and yet there are people who do that everywhere


credits to: leannelainefineart.com

To make a different life for yourself, sometimes because of circumstances, sometimes entirely out of free will, is not that easy. Long ago we hosted a ship broker  (when buying and selling ships still was a very lucrative business) who was ready to start a new life. What stopped him: money.

Well, that is a  reality. Now you can achieve a lot with a  lot of enthusiasm and little money (speaking from experience) but without you will certainly not succeed.
Perhaps it’s true that wealthy people have little inclination to change, because then they run the risk of losing their precious money. That group is lost, they will probably never do anything other than maintaining the status quo. On the other side of the spectrum there’s the group of dreamers, who lack a sense of reality to do anything about it.


Money is one thing, friendly support another

Needless to say, you need money, but you also need the support of people who understand what you’re doing. That might be just as important. If you can’t share your thoughts, test your ideas, discuss your dreams with others – then you have to be very strong  to throw your life around.

Still, I’m very pleased to talk to friends about new plans. They are no longer so radical (the plans), but it’s nice to explain, and to get a response … maybe you’d better do so-and-so? And did you already know that this-and-that is available, what would make your plan a lot easier?

I knew for a long time: brain pooling is the answer  – and then I heard of “harambee”

It’s an african concept, and it means (a short explanation): solidarity. You have a problem – divorce, accidents, high school fees, huge hospital bill, rent debt – and your family, friends and fellow citizens help you. With money, with help, with all that is needed. Maybe they will bring your food, clean your house, repair your tap, bring your child to school. Even though you have very little to miss, you join. With the knowledge: next time you may be the one who needs help.
I think it’s a nice principle. And I also know this from experience, I’m also blessed with “harambee”.

And here everything comes together

Henriëtte sent a message about a group, who supported each other in the above-described ways, and whether I wanted to join. In that way, she can pay a part of her living and study expenses, and I could earn some money as well to fulfill my dreams. The entrance fee is 150 euros, and it is called a gift. Then you enter the outer ring and you are a fire participant.

I thought about it, but it didn’t take long. I grant Henriëtte her dream and I think it’s good for the world if she helps pregnant women with her gentle strength to have a nice childbirth. And I grant everybody his or her dreams (if you don’t hurt anyone with it), and myself too.
“Ultimately,” I said to myself, “don’t worry about it. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll lose your 150 euros. That’s bearable, right?”


A dreamer and a burning fire

So I became a fire, along with 7 others, and I quickly went to the next circle: air. It is our job to keep the fire burning. And to stay with this metaphor: the order is logical – fire needs air to keep burning. I have already reported a new fire, just like the others. It’s going pretty well. You are busy with it for about half a year.

I’ll have to practice to transfer the story, I guess. In fact, that is what I’m doing now. The few people I spoke about thought it is a nice principle, but some also associate it with a pyramid scheme. That’s not it. I think it’s a female way of doing new things.

After that, the earth, and then water – it’s a nice way to complete the circle

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By the way: men are also welcome!


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas da Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugal’s cultural heirlooms. Termas da Azenha, a old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and camping ground, there’s also a swimming pool. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere. The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed.
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