Letter from the President

Dear House of Blue Hope Family,

Happy Holidays!  For my annual appeal this year, I wanted to include the following journal entry, which I wrote during my flight back from Tanzania this past August.  Whereas, this appeal certainly is a plea for your continued financial investment in our foundation and the work we do, I think it is equally as important to remind ourselves of our own philosophical and personal investment in who we are as a foundation, and the commitment we have to our work and to one another.  May God bless you and your loved ones during this holiday season.

15 August 2010

As I begin to write this, it is 7am in Tanzania and midnight in New York.  I am somewhere caught in the middle, both literally and figuratively.  Most everyone else on this flight from Dubai to JFK is sleeping, while I am trying to find words to express the deep and clear connection I feel between the two places I have equally called home for the past five years.  It is at such moments that I am reminded of all that binds us together as one human family, and causes me to wrestle to understand how sometimes we create a divide between the “developed world” and the “developing world” when we all co-inhibit the same marvelous planet.

I hope our foundation’s name continues to represent this sense of interconnectedness.  As the common color in both the U.S. and Tanzania flags, blue remains symbolic of our cooperation, collaborative partnerships, and mutual support between and among our board, staff, donors, and friends in the U.S., and those a part of our efforts in Tanzania.  Although our “house” in part refers to a physical structure in Dar es Salaam, I think it is more important to acknowledge our organization as a metaphoric “house,” under whose roof, we all come together as one family, united in the mission, vision, and values of the foundation, and committed to working together to make our one world a more just place.

These past two and a half weeks have provided me with many very encompassing opportunities to see how we are walking this path of social justice together on both sides of our work.  First, I spent 3 days at the end of July in Washington, DC for our first annual board and staff conference.  I am incredibly grateful for the insights gained from countless hours of conversations during that weekend, some of which lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

Directly following my time with our U.S. contingent in DC, I then took my annual ten-day trip to Dar es Salaam to meet with our Tanzanian board and staff, to check up on our work, and to spend time with the kids and youth who are a part of both our residential and outreach educational programs.  Again I was bombarded with countless insights during my time in Tanzania, and I encountered the typical Tanzanian hospitality and warmth at every turn.  I realized how much I miss living there full-time.

Thus, as I sit back here, some 35,000 feet above earth, and I reflect on what has come out of these trips – where we are as a foundation, where we are still committed to going, and what we have learned along the way – I cannot help to be filled with gratitude — gratitude for the work we do and for the people with whom we work, and the people who allow us to do it.

As always, in Hope,

Billy Bludgus

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