All students are on their flights home!
A Glorious Day!
This glorious day began bright and early at 7:00 in the beautiful Tanzanian morning (or at 4:30 for those who still rise to the lovely squawking rooster that lives in the backyard)! We then headed out to the dining room for chow circle where the mentors provided us with announcements, and the community coordinators presented the quote of the day. Then we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast consisting of donuts, eggs, and orange slices, cooked and prepared by Joseph! It was super yummy! After we finished breakfast, we talked a bit about what would exist in our own utopian society, and we had to in some way represent our thoughts in a visual component. It was super fun!
Once we loaded up on bug spray and sunscreen, we boarded two buses and headed toward a private hospital that we would tour. After a thirty minute drive through the busy town of Arusha, we made it to the hospital. While waiting for them to prepare for our large group, we took a group picture under a beautiful tree. We then walked toward a waiting room where our guide presented us with some history and facts regarding the hospital. After that, we got into our home groups and began to tour the hospital. For the first time in three weeks we saw other people from the United States! It almost felt weird, since we are so used to seeing the native people! Our guide took us to the room where the minor surgeries were done. It was very small and the tools were just left on the table. We then saw the pharmacy and the room where the x-rays were given. It was really cool to see that a lot of the machines were very similar to those back home. The hospital was also a lot cleaner than you’d expect it to be. Then, we were taken to the children’s ward where there were about ten children per room in hospital beds. They were very cramped up, which was a bit upsetting. Next, we visited the woman’s ward where the soon-to-be mothers were as well as post birth mothers. We thought that we would just stand outside and peek through the windows as we had for the rest of the tour, however our guide actually took us into the room. We got to say hi to the women and meet the newborn baby! Although we felt as if we were invading their space, this was just another example of how open and friendly Tanzanian culture is!
A Day of Learning
Today was a strange day considering we did not do the same activities as usual. In the morning, a group of women came to home base to explain what female genital mutilation was, and how to spread awareness of this issue. It was a very moving and scary topic to touch onto, but we all learned so much. After, we had some time to choose our own activity, as some stayed at home, and some students went to different markets. In the afternoon, community service was done as usual, but my group went to the secondary school at Akeri. It was very different teaching there since the students there are close to our ages, but we figured it out and taught well.
Patandi and Akeri Schools
Today we spent our morning learning about Tanzanian food and culture, than spent our afternoon at the Tanzanian schools. In the morning, we were split into here groups to experience different aspects of Tanzanian food. One group went into the market and bargained for prices on foods with Tanzanian locals. Another group visited a local Tanzanian farm and saw how certain foods are harvested. The final group stayed at home base and cooked lunch for everyone.
In the afternoon, one group said goodbye on their last day at the secondary school, Akeri. Other groups of kids returned to Patandi, where they continued to teach their group of primary school kids. Some of the GLA members had to say goodbye on their last day at Patandi. After teaching, many pictures were taken and cameras were passed around by intrigued Tanzanian children. Afterwards, we began our service portion where we added the final touches to the classroom that we have been renovating. As we worked, we were surrounded by the children who offered help and support.
The Maasai Tribe
This weekend we went to the Maasai tribe and experienced their unique culture. We arrived there on Saturday afternoon. Immediately when we got off the bus, the Maasai people greeted us with a huge dance party. We also got “initiated” by receiving a Maasai blanket, which they used to wrap around our shoulders, and a traditional beaded bracelet. Then we settled into tents and took great pictures of the best Tanzania sunset we have yet seen. Before dinner, we got the chance to watch the sacrifice of a goat which was also part of our dinner. The dinner was very delicious and everyone enjoyed it very much. After dinner, they set up the camp fire and everyone sat around the fire in a circle. Then the Maasai people started dancing again and warmly invited us to join them. Lots of us got involved and danced and sang with them. We had a lot of fun with them. After the dancing party, we went to bed. Most of us decided to sleep outside of the tents under the stars and moon. We talked a lot during that time and got much closer to each other.
Sunday morning, almost everyone woke up at six thirty to see the sun rise over the African savanna. It was gorgeous. Then we had breakfast and went on our warrior hike and on the way back we stopped by the Maasai secondary school. We played several games with the local children and teachers. Then we got back to the Maasai villages to have lunch. The lunch was very good and we enjoyed it very much!!! Afterwards, we learned how to the throw spears and we all got the chance to try. It was very fun. Then we headed back to home base. We stopped at the coffee shops on our way back and some of us got the chance to use wifi and some of us bought burgers. After we got back, we had dinner at six thirty and talked in our home groups. Later tonight, we may be able to watch the world cup. Everyone is very excited and happily exhausted from the weekend trip. Now it is 9:33 PM, time to go to bed. We hope we can get a good sleep and be prepared for tomorrow’s service at the schools. Good night, everyone!!
An Eventful Week
Ready for the Weekend
Coffee and Learning
An Exciting Day!
Jambo! Today we had a very exciting day. Each group had a different activity in the morning. One group was given the opportunity to create a Batik painting; it was a very fun process. We got to take home beautiful Tanzanian paintings. Another group headed to the market. First we picked out fabric, and then took it to a tailor and got fitted for traditional Tanzanian clothing. The final group went to the snack shop and picked up some food. Later they went to an internet cafe and the Mountain View Lodge to enjoy a spiritual garden. All the groups met back at home base and had lunch. After that we split up to head to either the local secondary school or the local primary school. We all had a great time teaching and learning from the local children. We all came back together for a great dinner and some very fun leadership games.
PDF Blog Post: Arusha TZ Day 5 Ari Finkelstein
Jambo familia na rafiki zetu!
(Hello family and friends!) Today we started off our day with an exciting activity called “bucket of dreams”. It consisted of us working together and forming a strategy. After that we dove into a cultural class of Swahili. In the class we learned different phrases and ways to communicate with the families in our community, as well as different stages in the local’s life. Next, we started to prepare for our family to come by preparing gifts and thinking about questions to ask them. After they arrived, we had lunch and headed out to spend the rest of the afternoon with our host families. Some of us milked cows, others toured the village and others went to the local lake. Although it was hard to say goodbye, we knew that we were going to see them before the end of our trip. It was a life changing activity and we all learned from it.
Colby: It was so awesome but very emotional seeing the living conditions of the locals and it made me realize how much I have and maybe even take for granted. Although it was very emotionally heart breaking, it has opened my eyes up to a whole other living style that I was unfamiliar with before, and I want to thank GLA for that because this changed me. Hi mom.
Sydni: My favorite part about today was going into the home of my host family. The size and condition of their living headquarters and quality of life was astonishing because their appreciation never falters. I consider the fact that I am rich in material, and they seem to have close to nothing but they are rich in happiness. Hi mom.
Today we woke up to roosters calling, dogs barking, and a mentor knocking on the door at 7 like yesterday. We also walked to Patandi Primary School again for a morning of teaching and manual work. The night before, my teaching group got together and decided how we were going to organize the class this time since last time was our first class and a bit of an experimental one. We got to know students better through games, but we didn’t teach much. Our teaching group decided that we were going to split kids into groups by their level of English because some kids knew more than others. This took away the confidence of those who were less advanced but needed confidence to become more advanced. At the school I was assigned with the kids who were beginners. We taught them the basic greeting phrases in English that we ourselves were learning in Swahili (how are you, I am fine, thank you, you’re welcome) and had them write it out and repeat it back to us. Then we reviewed animals and had fun with drawing those animals and making animal noises. They really seem to enjoy learning through songs as well, so we sang itsy bitsy spider and reviewed the vocabulary words in the song such as sun, rain, and spider. After that we started to run out of ideas of what to teach/how to teach them. That was when things got a little out of control due lack of focus. We had a group of all boys and they were very eager to learn though energetic as well! Afterwards we had recess where kids either played soccer or jumped rope. All the kids at Patandi love soccer. Soccer, and especially with the world cup going on, serves as a common way to have fun that connects us despite a slight language barrier.
After recess we started our manual work service for the day. Yesterday one group sanded (my group) and the other painted windows and walls. Today I painted windows instead and met a group of girls who are slightly younger than the ones we teach (around 13 years old), so they knew very little English. They were still very friendly and we could still communicate through the words I knew in Swahili, the words they knew in English, plus lots of hand gestures. I walked back to home base with one of the girls I met while window painting, Rosalina, and another girl who is part of the class our group teaches, Zainabu. Zainabu is very good at English and loves learning it. On the walks back to home base she teaches me some Swahili too. Upon returning I realized I had left my journal at the school and had to run back with a mentor, Swiff, to get it so I’d have it for safari weekend. We had to run because lunch was in 20 minutes; I had to run still wearing a long skirt because of culture differences. Nonetheless we got some laughs and funny looks because Tanzanian culture does not include going for runs either. When we came back for lunch we tried ugali which is a popular staple food here. It looks like mashed potatoes, has the texture of play dough, and tastes like floury corn starch. You pinch it with your fingers and pick up food with it.
After lunch we learned more Swahili and learned about the school system. There are government and private schools; government being cheaper but lower quality, and private being very good but expensive. Primary school can be either and consists of standards/forms within it (sort of like grades). Secondary school is like high school and universities are all private. Girls dropping out due to unwanted pregnancies contribute to the higher rate of female school drop outs. After that we learned about what Lodrick does outside of GLA. He works to protect wildlife and the environment by receiving information on illegal activity like living on wildlife reservations or poaching, and then he works often undercover to stop it. It is a very dangerous job, but he loves it and is passionate about the cause. Afterwards we had free time which usually consists of playing cards. Two of my roommates and I went to go take pictures around home base and then it was dinner. We are now preparing for safari weekend and packing for one night at a hotel! Everyone is excited to see the animals and take our first weekend excursion.
First Day of Service
This morning was our first day of real community service. First, we visited the primary school in Arusha where we broke into groups and worked with the fifth and sixth graders. We spent our time teaching them English through songs, games, and activities. After teaching, we toured the school and spoke with the headmaster and learned more about how the school is run. During the tour, we learned that the school also serves as a boarding school for special needs children, it is one of the only schools in Tanzania that provide service for special needs children. We then changed into work clothes and began refurbishing two classrooms that will later be used for teaching. By the end of the day, we became very close with the children and after saying goodbye, they walked home with us.
After lunch, we walked to the secondary school, the Tanzanian equivalent for high school. Here, we played games to get familiar with the students. We then got into groups of six and exchanged questions regarding our different cultures. This was a very interesting learning experience, as we saw what life would be like as a teenager our age in Tanzania. Next we were spoken to by one of the secondary school’s teachers about Tanzanian culture and history. Here we furthered our understandings of global connections.
This was a great first day of community service. After today we are extremely excited to find out the adventures these next few weeks hold!
Let’s just say today was an amazing first day. Everyone got a wakeup call at 8:00 this morning but it didn’t matter considering the rooster wouldn’t be quiet starting at 4 in the morning… It’s okay though because without him there would be flies everywhere so we have the chicken to thank! It was really funny too because at breakfast everyone was talking about their different stories of how they thought they were at home and confused and disoriented as to why they heard a very loud chicken. “Wait what is a chicken doing in my back yard?” We all came downstairs for breakfast at 8:30 and started the “chow circle.” The chow circle is something we do before every meal at GLA where we all link arms in a big circle and have the mentors give us announcements. This is a representation of the community and family we have at GLA, which is instilled in us from the very beginning. We’ve been learning to call everyone “kaka” or “dada” which is brother or sister in Swahili. Everyone is family here and I love the close knit bonds and sense of community. After that we had a delicious breakfast where everyone is just still getting to meet and know each other. There is 36 students and the staff of course so I think most people are still struggling to remember other people’s names. This is why right after breakfast we did ice breaker games like captain where we have to do certain actions the captain tells us or we’ll be thrown overboard, and we also did little circles and other exercises to try and get to know each other like introducing yourself and saying whatever random fact like your favorite hobby, color, or fear. After we spent some time doing the warm up games we were split into 3 groups where the mentors let us ask questions, talked about expectations, different scenarios, safety instructions, and general plans and activities for the trip that I think made everyone all the more excited! This took over our whole morning and by the time we were finished with that it was time for lunch. Mama Simba talked about how all the food at GLA comes straight from their farms, everything is organic and they don’t use preservatives. I think one can really tell because all the food seems to be satisfying everyone’s taste buds.
Then finally the time has come and we could leave the GLA home base! Outside the walls in Africa! Dun dun dun… This is where it seemed so many people who had been initially quiet or tired in the morning came to life, everyone was buzzing around saying that they’ll finally get to go out and experience Tanzania, and begin to be immersed in their culture and try to absorb everything around them. Everyone was glued to the windows, observing everyone and everything around them, still repeating how they couldn’t believe that we were all in Africa. We first went to go exchange some of our money into the Tanzanian currency. I’m pretty sure everyone felt really rich because we would give them five paper bills and we would receive a huge stack of money. It was hilarious because it wouldn’t fit people’s wallets! Then we just went to a supermarket to buy snacks for the trip, they had mostly everything a normal American supermarket would have as snacks.. chips, candy, cookies.. which a lot of people bought to aid their snacking urges during the trip. Throughout the bus rides the local GLA staff were attempting to teach us Swahili. We were good at pronouncing the days of the week after Lodrick said them but then we all kind of forgot everything once he asked us to repeat it all again. Then we started singing the infamous Tanzania welcome song which I think as now become a symbol for our trip to Tanzania in everyone’s minds, (which is below). We also drove to the primary school where we will be doing our community service and did a quick tour and learned about it’s history and how GLA has helped it grow and improve in the past. There weren’t any kids there because it was way past school hours but everyone still couldn’t contain their excitement for tomorrow where we will be going to the primary school and teaching the kids for the first time. After this we went home and got about 45 minutes of downtime to relax before we got our crash course Swahili lesson. A lot of people took naps considering the jetlag has been taking a toll on everyone.
Before we knew it we had the local staff teaching us the basic phrases in Swahili like Hujambo? (How are you?) Habari gani? (What’s the news?) Nzuri sana (Good) Jino lako ni nani? (What’s your name?) etc. After this we went straight into dinner and then afterwards played never have I ever which was fun to do with everyone on the trip. They divided us into our “home groups” which is the groups that we will be working with throughout all the community service and will be sharing ideas and thoughts with after the end of every day. There we played even more icebreaker games to get to know each other like two truths and a lie. We also all put our apples and roots on our big tree drawing. Our apples are what everyone hopes to get out of this experience and why they came here. For me, it was just to have more experiences and learn about myself. I’ve never taught children before in different countries and had to come up with lesson plans. This trip will bring out challenges and wonderful experiences. However, none of us will go through this new journey alone, everyone was brainstorming ideas and different strategies to teach the children for our last activity of the day. It was finally time to turn in, leaving us all ecstatic for tomorrow and more importantly, the remainder of our trip!
Habari gani nzuri sana!
Mwakaribishwa Tanzania yetu!
No worries! Everyone is doing great!
All students have arrived safely and are ready for an amazing program! Stay tuned for blog posts and photos!