What Happens Next (Season 2)

There is a new chapter in my favorite story.

As with the drop of the latest season of any favorite series, we first need to recap.

William & Jodi meeting (Oct 2018)

In early 2018, I met William “Maasai Prince” after seeing a video about him on social media. I invited him to join my group for dinner in my upcoming Venture Travel in Tanzania. 

We’ve been friends ever since. Straddling rural Maasai traditions and today’s world, I consider him a Modern Warrior.

Six months later, he told me Something About His Sister. His father wished to marry off his younger 14 year-old sister Juliana. Juliana wanted to follow her older brother William in getting an education.

Wanting to do something, I sent an email to everyone I knew who might have an idea for a secondary school in Tanzania serving young women like Juliana. 

I found one—SEGA Girls’ School supported by U.S.-based Nurturing Minds. William mapped out a plan—involving motorbikes, minibusses, and his mom—to get Juliana there.

SEGA School (Oct 2019)

Showing up in her traditional Maasai clothes not knowing a word of English, Juliana was given a school uniform and escorted to English fluency classes. It seemed impossible to imagine her taking courses taught in English in only two months. “You just wait,” said the school’s headmistress.

In Fall 2019, I visited the SEGA and got to meet Juliana in person for the first time. She was kind, remarkably tall and quite the conversationalist. I share that story in What Happens Next.

Six months later, all of our worlds were rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the world went into lockdown, Tanzania’s president encouraged his people to worship together—“God will help us.” Months later, he died of COVID.

William told me of people “mysteriously” dying near his village. Of food shortages. Of cattle starving due to the drought. He was at home and struggling to feed his family—mothers, sisters, younger brothers, and their children. This included Juliana, who was among the 280 SEGA students released from campus to study at home during the pandemic.

It was hard for me to imagine how any study would happen at home. Fortunately, SEGA re-opened in the Summer of 2020 under a host of COVID protocols.

With global travel resuming in 2022, I resumed curating Venture Travel in Tanzania. This one included a visit to SEGA. We would be guests at SEGA’s annual graduation. Juliana would be among the 68 young women collecting a four-year secondary school diploma.

Touring SEGA School (Oct 2022)

After several days in the vibrant coastal metropolis of Dar es Salaam, our group of 10 drives inland to Morogoro to SEGA Girls School. We are warmly greeted by 280 girls singing and dancing a welcome song.

I’m asked to introduce myself and the group. I share that it’s my second time on SEGA’s campus, but that this time I’m joined by my husband Bob. The girls go crazy—you would’ve thought I introduced Harry Styles. Bob’s face turns a bright shade of red. The two other husbands in our group are forewarned.

We stay at SEGA Visitor House, a quiet haven on SEGA’s 30-acre campus. We’re met by student hosts who lead us on a campus walking tour. In addition to classrooms and dorms, there’s solar power, rainwater recapture, vegetable gardens and a poultry farm; it’s an education in sustainability.

My favorite part is running into Juliana. It’s been three years since we’ve seen each other. We stand at the same height; we communicate in the same English language. She’s as keen to meet everyone as we are her. 

We spend two days exploring Morogoro outside of SEGA—a hike through rural villages to a mountain waterfall, a visit to a local market, and lunch with William at his and Juliana’s family home. Our hearts are full of joy, our minds are racing with thoughts.

It all provides context to appreciate the significance of SEGA graduation.

SEGA Graduates (Oct 2022)

 It’s graduation morning. SEGA’s outdoor pavilion is set for families and invited guests.

We are among them. 

The graduates parade in wearing crisp white blouses and make-up. Juliana tells me it’s a first for her. She looks absolutely stunning. The ceremony is long but filled with student-led entertainment—dances, a play, a fashion show. 

We break for lunch and in the courtyard find William, his mom and Juliana who has changed into her traditional Maasai clothing. We laugh and banter with her and her best friend. We take family photos and feed each other pieces of cake on toothpicks until her family needs to leave.

Joining the Maasai Girls’ Graduation Party (Oct 2022)

The best part of the day is after dark. Juliana and her Maasai friends invite the women of my group to their evening party. In the darkness, we walk the SEGA campus. It takes us back to days of looking for college fraternity parties.

Juliana appears in the darkness and we’re led to a classroom with 10 girls decked out in their Maasai best. They are anxious to share cake and samosas with us. It’s an even exchange for selfie-taking with our iPhones.

For Juliana, the day is like a dream. Her brother William is the reason it happened. He spoke up against their father’s wish for early marriage to support Juliana’s dream to be in school.

Women don’t improve their lives without education. Educated women make for more prosperous families, communities, and countries. It’s that simple.

What isn’t simple is what happens next.

I have no idea how the next season is going to write itself. Here are the cliffhangers from this one:

    • SEGA Girls’ School finds 75% of its graduates now qualify for university education. It’s a great problem to have. How to fund advanced education, internships and future job placement for a growing number of SEGA graduates is Nurturing Minds’ next challenge.

    • Post the COVID pandemic, everyday life for families like William and Juliana’s remains a struggle. Food prices remain extraordinarily high. Cattle remain malnourished and dying due to what seems a permanent drought. It’s like dollars being drained from the family bank account while the family food budget only grows.

    • Straddling two separate worlds—Maasai culture and traditions with modern realities and dreams— is hard. When I listen to William, it feels impossible. He has put his career and musical dreams on hold in support of his family. He doesn’t know how to break this cycle of dependency. As a Westerner, it’s difficult to fully relate; I try to just listen.

    • Juliana now also straddles these two worlds. She returned home after graduation; not much has changed, but she has. She wishes to pursue vocational programs. The practical steps of getting there are hard. William and I try to be mentors. As it is for any newly-minted adult, the transition from a life that is programmed to one you solely lead is difficult.

How the stories evolve remains to be seen.

But I’ll be watching and perhaps even helping to write the next season.

Join me in future Venture Travel in Tanzania—including local experiences in Dar es Salaam, exploring Morogoro, entrepreneurship week at SEGA School, and safari in Mikumi National Park. As in this video, connecting with incredible individuals like William and Juliana will be your highlight.

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Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!