Where Disney Dreams and African Adventures Collide
When most teenagers think of Africa, they probably hear a Disney soundtrack playing in their heads while envisioning Rafiki holding Baby Simba in the air for all of the Pride Lands to see. And, although The Lion King does give us context regarding the variety of wildlife that lives in the African Serengeti (the region of land which the fictional Pride Lands are based on), there is much more going on there than a battle for Pride Rock.
Tanzania, the country in which the Serengeti is located, is a vibrant and diverse region that is full of life, both human and wild! From the Chagga people, living at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, to the Maasai Tribe, who still lead a semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people of this East African nation welcome travelers with open arms! They are eager to share their culture and history with those who are lucky enough to visit their country, and their storytelling and festivities do not disappoint.
Students traveling with GLA’s “Heart and Soul of Africa” Service Learning Program have the rare opportunity to experience life in Tanzania and embed themselves in the local culture. In addition to doing critical volunteer work at local schools and orphanages, they have the incredible opportunity to learn from community members who share with them the art, history, and customs of a group of people living lives that are worlds away from our own.
Learning and Living
Read three student’s reaction to one exciting day in Tanzania, in which they volunteered at a school and learned the ancient craft of Batik painting from a local artisan.
Jambo families and friends!
Everything is wonderful here at our home base in Tengeru, Tanzania. Today was our second day visiting a local school and working with the children there- it was very challenging, but successful. The children love having us help them with their English! They are all on different learning levels, but are eager to learn as much as possible. It is exciting and important work, and we’ve set high goals for ourselves and our time with the students here. After lessons, we played a variety of games such as Hokey Pokey and Relay Races, and we learned traditional Tanzanian dances. Later, we began to wash the walls and sweep the floors in the classroom, because we will start to paint them tomorrow. After a long morning at the school, we returned back to the home base for lunch, and in the afternoon we went to the market and learned all about Batik painting! This is a very popular type of African art, and it is a very long process to create the colorful pieces. They turned out great, and now everyone has a beautiful piece to bring home! Dinner was delicious as always, we had a variety of American foods such as pasta and salad, and traditional Tanzanian food as well. We ended the day in our mentor groups discussing lessons for the students tomorrow, in order to ensure a successful day at the school!
Now we’re off to climb into our mosquito nets. Goodnight!
-Emma M. (Boulder, CO), Cayleigh N. (Lone Tree, CO), and Olivia N. (Riverside, IL)
These students are having the adventure of a lifetime while they make a difference in the quality of life for the warm and welcoming people of Tanzania. To learn more about this colorful nation, or to explore opportunities to experience your own African adventure, schedule an appointment with an enrollment advisor today.