Dina Tayim recently went on a trip to Africa with Design Outreach. She shared some of her reflections with us, and we thought you would enjoy hearing about it too!
It’s crazy to think our trip was only a few weeks ago. What an incredible experience! It makes everything I’ve done for Design Outreach so real. Seeing the end-user experience was very eye opening. Even though I knew that such underdeveloped communities existed, it’s different now that I have seen it first hand. It’s so weird to wake up in a bed every morning, drive my car to work, complain about gas prices, go through whatever the daily grind might be, knowing that I have personally met—and I’d like to think befriended—people who live in mud and straw huts with limited access to water. It is just so jarring. I haven’t quite figured out how to reconcile my thoughts.
Being able to meet with World Vision, and the pump technicians, and the village community helped me gain a lot of insight into how things work and are managed end-to-end. One week was an extremely short amount of time, so I feel like we got a lot accomplished considering.
One thing that made me slightly uncomfortable (in a good way!) was the language barrier. It was great to bond over learning some new words, but it was really strange being the outcast in a sense. At the same time we were always the center of attention, which was totally expected, but still a little strange. As soon as I started walking over to the kid on the soccer field, I could literally feel every single persons eye’s on me, waiting to see where I was going, what I was going to do, etc. Even at a village in Malawi, all the kids remembered my name when we came back a second time. To me, that enforces the fact that we actually have a lasting impression on the people. They will remember us, and what we did, and most importantly, how we made them feel. And vice-versa. This is an incredible responsibility and I’m honored to help represent DO.
The kiddos made me happy. They are just so innocent and enthusiastic; you can’t help but feel happy around them. They are also the easiest to get along with, and bonding with them was a major highlight of the trip for me. I am also extremely thankful for our awesome drivers, Paul and Maybin. They were incredibly gracious hosts and I hope to keep in touch with them. Nothing really made me sad other than not having enough time.
I hope to go back someday.