To tell the story that is Chandu is near impossible. The layers, the mountains that have been moved, the people who have been moved with them, is interwoven and beautiful.
For those of us that have been so lucky to call him our team leader, you know how special this man is. He is the man who cooks for his employees, teaching everyone around him that every barrier should be broken and no rules should apply when it comes to opening your heart to the world. There are many stories that can be told on this magician. And I am starting a blog to begin the story that is "Chandu."
The one that I would like to share first is when we were looking for a name to call the women's jewelry project in Simanjiro. We had searched a dictionary in Swahili and come across "kipawa" meaning gift. As many of you know, most words in Swahili have mulitple meanings so I asked Lowassa, the director of Namelok's son if "gift" was accurate.
"Yes, but it is not the meaning that you think. It is very hard to explain. It means gift as in what a person has inside of them and gives to others." Lowassa saw that I was struggling to understand as he continued, "it is what God has given a person and then they share it with others....like Chandu. What Chandu has done is he knows how to construct, so he has used his skill and shared it with us by giving us a school."
I was completely taken back. I had worried that this man, Indian- Tanzanian would not be excepted by this Maasai community. Why hadn't I found someone within the community to build the school? The answer was no matter how long I had searched, I couldn't find anyone who would work with our small budget and find ways to cut the cost instead of adding to it. And Chandu had produced a miracle. When I thought we weren't going to be able to construct, he had finally given into my pleas and taken on the role of Contractor for Namelok.
And he continues to go above and beyond each time, taking each project as his own. Making sure each employee or volunteer has a role and each one knows what value they are adding. He throws us "magic parties" and brings the whole village together. This is Chandu.
When it seems impossible; we look to him.
We coined the term "Chandu Can Do" the very first volunteer trip, and I can think of no better fitting term for this next project.
Chandu has been diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer which is spread to his liver. But each time I talk to him, his positivity exudes through the phone.
Let's all join together and fight this one with him. Treatments are going to cost around $20-25k, and we would like to offer whatever we all can to assist with his care in India as he gets through this and gets back to constructing classrooms! Our $5,398 contribution will take care of his last 2 rounds of chemo before he undergoes surgery.