Determination plants success for Levina

In February, a team of 20 from Building a Caring Community (BCC), a program of Mosaic International in Moshi, Tanzania, participated in the Kilimanjaro Marathon 5K Fun Run. The Kilimanjaro Marathon draws 9,000 runners of 40 nationalities to run in the shadow of the tallest mountain in Africa.

It is a great opportunity for the children and young adults of BCC to run and socialize with old and new friends alike, and for BCC to break down barriers and advocate for a more inclusive Tanzanian society.

Levina Maanga, who attends one of BCC’s centers, was not on the list of participants. Staff members were concerned she would have difficulty walking or running the distance of five kilometers. But Levina was determined. She wanted to participate. As the only girl at the center, Levina trained with the boys to prepare.

On the morning of the race, Levina and the rest of the BCC team were near the starting point in their bright red shirts, waiting for the race to begin. When the race started, everyone grabbed a hand and began running. Groups of bright red shirts could be spotted throughout the five kilometers, encouraging each other. We know we run further when we run together.

Levina arrived at the finish line on the morning of the race with a radiant smile on her face. She knew she could do it, and she did.

After the race, in response to a question about participating next year, said, “I want to do the 21 kilometer race!”

Levina’s determination has brought her far. Through the guidance of BCC staff, Levina is now able to wash her own clothes and help her mother clean the house. Levina has taken her farming and gardening skills learned through BCC’s young adult program and used them to start her own garden at home, which she and her mother weed together.

“I am proud of the way Levina is,” her mother said. “She’s ready to learn new things every day and she’s proud to learn new things. She’s not one to say, ‘No, I’m not able to fetch water.’ She tried and now she’s able to go and fetch water. She has improved and I am proud of her.”

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