I recently had the opportunity to chat with Chrystal Rose, Founder of Rebellia and Global FemCity member. Images from her travels to Tanzania captured my heart and attention. I wanted to connect with Chrystal and learn how it served as a major shift in her life and created a series of aha moments.
Recently you spent time in Tanzania, what was the purpose for the trip?
I went to volunteer with an organization called Give a Heart to Africa. They provide free education every year to Tanzanian women so that they may have more opportunities for themselves and their families. The school teaches English, Business, Math & Vocations and has funded 3 local business started by graduates of the program.
Do you feel that a part of you “shifted” from your time there?
Definitely. More like “re-shifted” if that makes sense. I feel like I found a part of myself there that I had buried, or lost a long time ago. I spent a lot of time digging deep within myself and working on some things I knew was holding me back.
As always there is unique beauty to every culture, what was the biggest aha moment you had while in Tanzania?
Perspective. Getting slapped in the face with 3rd world reality compiled with the gratitude & generosity of the people, was a huge eye opener for me. While I was there we did a home visit with a couple of students, a school translator and visited the volunteer house cook at her house for dinner. There is nothing like having 6+ people crammed in a small space and being served food that they are thrilled to have prepared for you.
While working with women in Tanzania, what were the biggest inspirational takeaways?
These were the most positive human beings I have ever had the opportunity to be surrounded with in my entire life. They aren’t riddled with first world problems, or even mentally held back by their circumstances. They believe in themselves. They believe in utilizing the education they are receiving. They are open, warm and welcoming. I had a little girl run up to me in the road with her arms open wide, we hugged and she just stood there holding my arm, tracing my tattoo for what felt like forever. I just stroked her little shaved head and squeezed her. A million feelings and thoughts flew through me. I still can’t think about it without tearing up. I’ve never experienced anything like that.
I now feel like it’s disrespectful for me to not believe in myself when I have every opportunity at my fingertips. I refuse to feed into anyone’s complaints about things I know they have control over, but are choosing to stay stuck. I refuse to have anything but gratitude for everything I have, because if these people can do all that with so little it feels like I’m slapping them in the face if I don’t.
You laughed with them and really created friendships… what’s next? Will you stay in touch?
I wish it weren’t so far away and I could just swing by when I wanted to. 3 weeks just wasn’t enough. I exchanged emails & Facebook with some of the students. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it back before they graduate in December but I WILL be back. I plan to raise funds for the staff (all local Tanzanians) so that they can have a $15-$30 monthly raise. Sure it’s sexier to sponsor a graduate and fund a business but if we can help build up the school’s infrastructure, then they will be able to create more opportunities and programs for that to happen. Just $3500 a year for 3 years could change SO much for both these individuals and the program itself.
Do recommend others to take on this trip?
Yes, absolutely. It was absolutely life changing for me and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Did this trip help you in anyway as an entrepreneur?
It really did. Just as I mentioned before it lent incredible amounts of perspective. Before the trip I was feeling burnt, like a hamster that has been running on a wheel for years without getting anywhere. I believed that I could catch myself and bounce back if I were to fail– but I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t fail. I wasn’t allowing myself to be proud of all that I’ve accomplished and built. I had this deep feeling of doom and fear that was constant. Not anymore. I came back with a renewed sense of self, spirit, a game plan and gratitude in my heart.
What mantra comes to mind over the entire experience?
Live with gratitude, positivity and give to others. It’s the only way I want to live.