Jambo from Tanzania! My name is Rudy Calderon and I am the international director for the GLA Tanzania Arusha program this summer. On behalf of the entire local and international staff we are thrilled to lead all 34 students on an incredible experience. All students arrived safely and we made our way to our beautiful home base. Due to jet lag our first day did not consist of any major activities as we wanted to let the students settle in. The following morning we woke up at 7am for a filling breakfast and to conduct student orientation. Our day was filled with program logistics, ice breakers, a wonderful experience with local Tanzanian families, a traditional lunch, a Swahili lesson and students finding out who their mentor is. Today we took a tour of downtown Arusha and exchanged money so students could buy local fabric in preparation for a local seamstress to make clothing. The evening activities included discussion on The Danger of a Single Story and how we view Africa from different parts of the world. Let the adventure begin!
July 18, 2017
We woke up today at 6 am to roosters and prayers. Arusha’s cold weather in the morning makes the coffee we drink even more delicious. The breakfast bell rings at 7:30 am and we arrived surprised that there were pancakes and scrambled eggs. After eating the meal, we did group activities including having a personal seamstress come to our home base and tailor clothes specific to each of us with the fabric we bought in the market yesterday. A civics and history teacher came to our home base to talk to us about the history of education in Tanzania. During this time we learned about the difference between the US and Tanzanian educational system. Then we had beans and flat bread for lunch.
July 18, 2017
Today, we started off with an optional run at 6:30am. There were many that signed up but only three kids went on the run. For breakfast, there were papayas, omelettes, and peanuts. After breakfast. the group went to went to the local orphanage. The orphanage has 120 kids and most of the kids were 5-10 years old. It was hard to say goodbye, but we learned a lot about the hardships that the children have to go through. When we returned from the orphanage, we got a thorough lesson on the history of Tanzania. Did you know that Tanzania is originally composed of two different states. Zanzibar and Tanganika? Did you also know that the human species’ oldest ancestor was found in Tanzania?
Today was jam-packed. In the morning, we woke up and had a wonderful breakfast of porridge and pancakes. It kept us energized for our next activities, which included cooking lunch for our peers and making our very own batik paintings, which featured beautiful colors of the African plains, people, and wildlife. The food consisted of rice and cooked vegetables — our cooks-in-training learned from the best, our very own GLA cooking staff!!! We were also able to do some shopping with a variety of batiks and “elephant pants.”
After enjoying a homemade lunch, we gathered to go to Patandi school in order to teach classes to Tanzanian students. Lasting an hour, classes ranged from writing exercises to educational games. Once the GLA students parted ways with the Patandi schoolchildren, we feasted on a delicious dinner back at the home base. Finally we ended the evening with an intense session of Model United Nations involving a situation regarding the Maasai tribe, which we will be visiting this weekend.
Hey family and friends!! We miss you all at home but are having an amazing time. We’re thankful for all of you!! This has been the best trip of our lives and we’re only one week in. Today was an early start. We had to wake up at 3am and load into the buses. After a 2.5 hour, bumpy drive on the dirt road, we arrived in the beautiful Serengeti (??) where the Maasai tribe lives. We even saw some giraffes on our way there to wake us up! With heavy welcomes, the men from the Maasai tribe greeted us. For breakfast we had eggs, chapati, and bananas with the best peanut butter ever!! Next, we began our trek through the desert where we saw more giraffes, and even zebras! It was quite dusty and by the end, we were covered in dirt. We still had our smiles on!
July 24, 2017
Day 11 on this crazy adventure. Breakfast was amazing as usual! We had the local Tanzanian version of french toast again, which was sooooo good! After breakfast, it was time for the KiliWizardssssss! We took a short stroll down to the soccer field where the Kili Wizards were waiting to perform their traditional dances. The dance group was wearing batik clothes and white face paint to look like warriors. Some played drums while others danced to the beat. They performed two dances and then they taught us all some moves. It was a blast to get up and get involved with the group. It still amazes us how kind and welcoming the people here are. After we learned the dance, the wizard picked three of us to perform with them. It was Jessie, Jenna, and Amaya who were the best and they did an amazing job performing and helping everyone else learn. I (Andre) thought I was the best, but you know, I guess it’s whatever the Kili Wizards think. After watching their performance, the dance group picked many others to dance, including the mentors. Rudy totally got down to the ground, which was soooo entertaining. It was awesome to see who was the best at twerking (Natalie) and everyone else that participated. We had such a great time and we were so lucky they were willing to perform for us.
After we came back to the home base and got an opportunity to support the group by purchasing souvenirs. We had a bit of free time before we went to do service and teach. Today we taught emotions to the to the Standard 5 students. After service, we had a delicious dinner and then we did the privilege walk as a whole group. You step forward for privileges you have and step back for the things that make you less privileged. We really learned a lot about each other. Then we broke into mentor groups to talk about the activity and some conversations got very deep.
July 26, 2017
July 28, 2017
After a rude awakening at 8am, we quickly ate breakfast because of the anticipation of the Maasai Market. After exchanging money and refusing to buy from countless street vendors, we made our way to the maasai market. Here, we found over 200 mini shops with classic Tanzanian artifacts and clothes. We began to bargain and purchase with persistent vendors. After we were satisfied with our purchases, we headed to the grocery store to buy American snacks to fulfill our insatiable cravings. The two leaders of the day, Ian and Sophia, collected shillings from the group and purchased copious amounts of cheese, butter, noodles, cake, and pickles. After dropping off all of our goodies, we headed to the school to complete the service work and teach.
When arriving back at home base, with help from Charles Klenkar (2 year DQ supervisor) and moral support from Jenna Armario, we fried pickles and cooked a hefty amount of food….including mac and cheese from scratch. Food coma! Channing Wang baked 3 cakes and decorated with crushed Oreos and buttercream frosting. After eating this delicious meal we pulled couches to the eating area and watched The Lion King in honor of being in Africa. The combination of the mac and cheese and movie with our close companions made it the perfect end to the perfect day in Africa.
Today was filed with brand new adventures. We woke up at 7:30am and had our usual, delicious breakfast (courtesy of Cashmere/Kashmir our cook). After dressing, we went to the seminary by the soccer field. There, we met many Tanzanian priests who found their calling in missionary work. We explored the new church being built, which is halfway finished and already beautiful.