Monday June 18, 2018
Everyone arrived safely! Here is our group! Student orientation will be underway tomorrow!
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Hello from GLA Tanzania in Arusha! All 29 students have arrived safe and sound yesterday and had their first full day together today. Today was student orientation and it was jam packed full of information ranging from how to greet in Swahili to home base logistics to how to best support one another and beyond.
The day was full of games, stories, and laughter as new connections were formed. We reaffirmed our code of conduct and collectively made a community agreement, which will guide us for the rest of our 20 days together. We decided as a group that Jua the lion would embody our agreement and team values- Jua means sun in Swahili. We determined that Jua represents respect, trust, friendship, acceptance, purpose, gratitude, and compassion. We look forward to living these values and cultivating our community over the next three weeks.
To close our first day together, we stood in a circle around a ribbon all holding an object that represents what we are bringing to the program. After each of us shared our object, we stepped inside the ribbon to mark the beginning of our journey together. We are very excited for everything that is to come!
Written by our program mentors: Lolly, Megan, and Kate
Thursday June 21, 2018
This morning the group woke up early to have breakfast at 7:15am. After a nice breakfast of toast, eggs, potatoes, fruit, coffee, and tea the group got ready for their first day to sit in with the Patandi Primary School students. After a short walk to school, the group broke into two with half going to fifth grade and the other going to sixth. There the groups worked with the students on their English skills. It was full of laughs and smiles as the groups got to meet the students that they would be spending the next few weeks with. After our time at the school was over, we discussed the difference between “helping, fixing, and serving,” reflected about our role as volunteers in an international setting, and deepened our understanding of “service learning” methodology.
After lunch, the students broke into groups to work on lesson planning for their upcoming work with the students. They also took turns meeting with the local seamstress to turn the fabric they bought into whatever creation they wanted. There were dresses, backpacks, shirts, and other items ordered for the seamstress to make. After this the students had time to hang out and either journal or play cards or get some rest. After the short break, a leader from the community came in to teach about the education system in Tanzania. He answered any questions the group had and gave insight into how schooling works in this country. We are looking forward to learning more about Tanzania and having our first full day with the students tomorrow!
Saturday June 23, 2018
Hey everyone! It was a tiring day, but nonetheless an amazing one! After waking up early we took a long bus ride to Mount Kilimanjaro. We hiked the base and visited three beautiful waterfalls and ate lunch; some of us swam and it was so cold, but so worth it.
Along the trail back we greeted many locals and made some friends; some of the children even hiked next to us along the trail and many high fives were given along the way. After another long bus ride back to home base we all got together for a great dinner and are ready to get a good nights sleep for tomorrow’s adventures.
Sunday June 24, 2018
Hi everyone! Today we luckily got to sleep in and rest after the previous day at Mount Kilimanjaro. Today is host family day! The mentors split us up into small groups and we eagerly awaited our chosen families. After they arrived we joined together for a yummy lunch we left home base to go visit our host family homes’. My host families’ home was a cozy, surrounded by many others.
My host family was two parents, a boy, and a girl . As you walk to the home, you see chickens running around, mothers carrying their babies, and goats being walked on leashes. On our way back to home base, some children followed and we played with bubbles, there were also kids playing soccer and volleyball. Overall it was an amazing day filled with culture and fun!
Monday June 25, 2018
Hey family and friends. Today was an early morning service day! After breakfast we headed down to Patandi Primary School to observe and teach English language classes; half us in fifth grade and half of us in sixth grade. After observing, some students got the opportunity to teach. Topics include parts of speech and relative pronouns. After teaching we play games with the kids outside, which is many of our favorite part! Then we changed clothes and began physical service where we started to paint the classroom walls a beautiful cream color and repair broken desks.
It was only the first day of painting so there is much more to come. Later in the day we had guests come to home base to show us Batik painting; they brought some pants and handmade paintings with them. We all gazed at the beautiful artwork and many works were bought. Students split in half and between Batik painting and a Tanzanian cooking lesson. Tomorrow we will switch groups and do the activity that we did not do today. We all had a great time learning to try new things that we have never done and the dinner was delicious! We can’t wait for the adventures that are to come tomorrow.
Photos from Monday!
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Hey everyone! Today after a breakfast of sambusas, Tanzanian samosas, we taught English with our 5th and 6th grade classes before continuing to our physical service. One group hoed garden beds that will be planted with vegetables for the Patandi Special Needs Teacher College. The other group sang and danced to music as we continued with the oil paint layer on a classroom and the teachers room. Afterward, we walked back to home base and had lunch. Then we spilt into two groups, one group learned Batik cloth dyeing while the other learned Tanzania cooking including fresh fruit juice, tomato sauce, salad, and a pea dish. Both came out amazing! Some of our group enjoyed a walk to a nearby soccer field, some played with kids, while the rest relaxed at home base.
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Today, we walked to school where we continued to teach our 5th and 6th graders whom we are getting closer to each day. We then performed our physical service work, all the while bonding with our students and each other. Later on, we walked to a beautiful lake about 20 minutes from our home base. We had the opportunity to get a soda and sit down and relax for a bit before our second Swahili lesson started. We learned a lot of practical words and songs that we could use in the classroom when interacting with our 5th and 6th graders. After Swahili, we had a debate/simulation of FIFA’s impact on Brazil in the past World Cup. We discussed how certain decisions affect different groups of people and tied this back to our roles as leaders. As the day came to an end, we finished the night with family fun, singing, “Mafia”, and drinking hot chocolate around a bonfire.
Thursday June 28, 2018
Hey everyone! Today was a busy day, which started off with our usual service. Some students started to paint the windows of the school and other students hoed the land to prepare the garden to plant vegetables for some of the kids who sleep at school; the school will be growing fresh veggies and fruits. Then it was time for lunch and so we departed from school and took a long peaceful walk to home base with many detours as we encountered lots of excited young children along the way; this is definitely the best part of walking through the village.
We had to eat a quick lunch as today is Maasai market day! The Maasai market can be overwhelming at first but nonetheless very exciting. There are alleys upon alleys of traditional African jewelry, art, and lots more items. Students really had to test their bargaining skills as the first price isn’t usually the fair one! It was quite an experience. We can’t wait for the adventures to come tomorrow and this weekend.
Friday June 29, 2018
Hey!! We had a great start to the morning with a yummy breakfast prepared by our favorite chefs, Joseph and Jackie. It was a bit cloudier and cold today, so the streets of Arusha were quieter than usual. At school, the students continued to work on their English skills with lessons prepared and taught by GLA students. After class, we got to play with the adorable kids after which is so much fun because we are really bonding with them. After an amazing lunch we prepared for an HIV/AIDS discussion panel. This panel was comprised of seven women who live in Tanzania and have HIV.
They were really open with their stories and the session was very informative. None of the women who spoke to us had contracted HIV through their own fault, yet they were not resentful or vengeful. These women had been ostracized and blamed by society and their own families, yet they are still strong and loving. After the panel, we were given a shopping list and sent in groups to the local market. The catch was that the list was in Swahili and the local program coordinators weren’t allowed to translate for us. It was a very interesting experience to say the least, but everyone successfully got their items. In the evening we had dinner and talked about preparations for the following day with the Maasai, then got an early night for our 3:30AM wake up call!
Saturday June 30, 2018
Hujambo from Tanzania!
Today we woke up at 3:30AM in order to visit a Maasai boma, or home for sunrise. Although our bus temporarily got stuck in a rut formed from big rains after ten years of drought on one of the seven switchbacks as we descended into the Rift Valley, we were able to get some really cool shots of the sunrise! At the Maasai boma, we started our day by milking a bunch of goats before they headed out of the boma to graze for the day! Shortly after, we ate breakfast and began our three-hour safari or hike around the village. Throughout the hike, we got to see a lot of giraffes and antelopes, and learned about how the Maasai use cows as a sign of their wealth; the Maasai even go as far as to hunt down lions if their cows are attacked. In addition, our hike included getting stuck on a bunch of thorny bushes and trees, but we all came back in one piece! After the hike, we started learning about how the giraffes use their prehensile tongues (which are apparently blue!) to navigate around the thorns and eat the leaves.
During lunch, we continued our educational lesson by asking the Maasai elder a few questions; some of the questions included “Why does he has eleven wives?”, “What is the initiation ritual for the Maasai tribe?” and “How did he become the village elder?”. We even got to practice spear throwing, which was a lot like javelin, looked at a traditional Maasai house, and saw the various handmade jewelry and crafts that were sold by the Maasai people. There were a bunch of flies and some of us, namely Peter, our program coordinator, even swallowed one. To culminate our visit, the Maasai people started to throat sing and jump way up high high as they taught us a traditional Maasai dance.
Then we got on the bus to leave. On the way back, we stopped at the “Village” supermarket for a bathroom break and some additional chips, candy and other goodies! We got back to home base just in time to eat the delicious dinner Joseph and Jackie cooked for us. After an exhausting day, we had some free time before going to bed! As our trip slowly comes to an end, the amazing things we saw and experienced will always be remembered! But until tomorrow…
Kwaheri! (Goodbye in Swahili)
Photos by: Nestory T. Owano (Program Coordinator)
Sunday July 1, 2018
Hello and Happy July,
Sunday was a chill day. We stumbled out of our rooms for breakfast at nine thirty. After breakfast we planned our lessons for school on Monday. After lesson planning we wandered out into the sunshine and made our way to the Kili Wizards. The Kili Wizards are an award-winning dance group that performs traditional Tanzanian dances. We sat outside and watched the dances and clapped along to the drums that accompanied them. After the Wizards finished up, the group was put into three lines and we tried our best to turn our other left foot into a right one.
Some succeeded and everyone enjoyed moving to the music. Our laughter carried us to our second visit to the orphanage. The children were as happy to see us as we were to see them. We hung out with the kids for an hour or so before heading back to home base where we enjoyed second and possibly third helpings of fish. After dinner we broke into mentor groups where we drew rivers to represent our time here. As with each day there are ups and downs, but we went to bed with smiles on our faces, warmed by a lazy Sunday.
Monday July 2, 2018
Today, Monday July 2nd, we started our day at Patandi Primary School. Our group of 29 students was split among the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. We worked together to teach our students about telling time, parts of speech, and relative pronouns respectively. After class we jumped into physical service. The group divided between two jobs: desk repair and sanding. In our classrooms there is often three to four people per desk. Our help hammering and sawing desks back into great shape will help give our students more space to learn and grow. Those sanding the classroom are prepping the walls so that the painting phase of the classroom can begin.
This is all in order to create an environment to foster learning. After our service at school, we headed back to home base for lunch followed by some free time to hang out together and continue to connect with one another and grow closer as a group of individuals. In the afternoon, advocates speaking out against FGM, female genital mutilation, came to our home base to educate us and expand our awareness about women’s issues across Tanzania, greater Africa, and the world. By educating us and sharing their stories, they hope to inspire more conversation, attention, and advocacy for vulnerable young women. After an informative conversation we played soccer at a local field and made thank you cards for our staff and students at Patandi. Our day wrapped up with dinner and some group discussion.
July 2 photos coming soon!
Today, Tuesday July 3rd, we kicked off the day by teaching English to the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Patandi Primary School. We continued to teach the children English skills needed for secondary school and for further education. In addition, we continued to mentor the children and be role models to the kids through outdoor activities.
After class, we resumed to our physical service. Many of us continued to paint the classrooms, while others started to sand the walls of a new classroom, in preparation for repainting. Some people were repairing desks, ensuring the safety of kids in a school setting.
After our day of service at school, we went to a luxurious hotel to listen to Uweza, Mama Simba, our Country Director talk about her life. Her stories were inspirational because they conveyed resilience. Uweza had many setbacks in her life but, with determination and passion, she was able to rise above her setbacks and become the successful woman she is today. To end the busy day, we started watching Inception.
Photos by: Nestory T. Owano (Program Coordinator)
Wednesday July 4, 2018
Today was our last day teaching and working at Patandi Primary School. Fourth grade has really made progress in time telling and we’re very proud of that given that we only had three full days with the students. We are hopeful that the 5th and 6th graders have finally conquered parts of speech. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to teach them for a mere three weeks, but what they have taught us and given back to us will remain with us for a lifetime. We are quickly approaching what will be a very hard goodbye.
This afternoon, we learned that when a Tanzanian tells you there’s just a small walk uphill through the village, they really mean straight up a vertical mountain. After a long, and somewhat difficult climb we reached a humble coffee farm where we went through the process of making, and then of course tasting, our own coffee! We first had the opportunity to go and pick the red coffee beans off the trees. The beans ripen once a year between July and November. The next step was to put the beans through an ancient looking machine that extremely efficiently removed the outer layer off of the coffee beans.
We then soaked the beans in water to remove the bad beans, which tend to float to the surface. They usually soak for two days, then they dry for five days. Next we continued the process of de-shelling the beans, then picking out the imperfect beans, followed by roasting them until they turned from a cream color to dark black. We let the beans sit in a pot for a few minutes for the shining process.
Then we sang traditional songs while we pounded the grounds in a large mortar and pestle made out of what seemed to be a tree. Then the coffee grounds were placed in boiling water for about ten minutes. The final step was straining the coffee to get some of the grounds out and then at last we all got to taste! We took a longer and less steep walk back, which winded us around the village and gave us beautiful scenic views.
To wrap our day all up, our wonderful cooks made us burgers and fries to celebrate a good ole American holiday. Happy 4th to everyone!
Photos by: Nestory T. Owano (Program Coordinator)