All students have arrived and called home! Staff will send blog pic as soon as a group photo can be arranged.
We were all very excited to receive our 17 students who arrived last night. Our home is once again filled with new people and stories to hear. Today we woke up a bit later than usual and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by the Mamas.
We then began orientation where we learned each other’s names, played some fun icebreakers, and sat through a basic Swahili lesson. The students then put their Swahili to practice when we went out to the market and were greeted excitedly by those around. After exploring the market, almost everyone bought some brightly colored fabrics to make tailored clothing within the coming days (The tailor is coming on Monday). We then went to the supermarket to buy some extra snacks and came home to some free time before dinner.
After eating, as a group, we created a working document of things we want to include in our community. This brought up awesome conversations about group expectations that we all have for one another. We then finished the evening with personal goal setting before returning to our rooms for the night.
We are all very excited for what the next few weeks will bring!
-GLA Moshi Staff
July 12, 2015
Today we met with our host families and went on an African adventure! After breakfast we had a Swahili lesson that covered the basics we would need to know to communicate with our host families. They came to lunch at the compound and we had a chance to bond with them before going out with them for the afternoon. I was partnered with Aidan and had a lot of fun venturing the city with him and the family. The family took us to their house, openly shared everything with us, introduced us to many people throughout the town, and even took us to the river that runs down from Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Aidan and I both learned that the communication barrier is a challenge for any foreigner here but found a way to make it work for both us and the family. Though we had some challenges communicating, I think that we really got a feel for the culture and community as a whole and I’m so glad I had the chance to meet the amazing host family I had.
Today, we went to the two schools, Himo and Korona, that we are going to be teaching English at. We met the headmasters of the schools and introduced ourselves to the children that we’ll be working with. First, we introduced ourselves the headmasters using the Swahili that we have learned in previous days. Then, we went around to each classroom and used the same introduction. The kids were ecstatic to see us, crowding around us to touch our hair and skin, not used to seeing white people. The children in these schools were some of the happiest people we’ve ever seen, excited to be able to learn and talk to us. After we got back from the school, we were taught some basics about the Maasai tribe, including their cultures and way of life. This day was both eventful and fun for all of us.
Today was our first day teaching at the schools Himo and Korona. We had already introduced ourselves to the kids that we were going to teach who were grade 5 ages 11-12. Everybody has a teaching partner and mine is Becca L. Not only am I very lucky to be paired with Becca because she is super cool and a great teacher. I am very lucky to be paired with Becca because she knows the fastest way to kids hearts, through stickers. So as we arrived today at Himo and reluctantly walked in to a room of kids that we were not sure would like our curriculum we just both pretended that we were not scared. Without even having to bring out our top tool (the stickers) we instantly felt relief and comfort after we sang head shoulders knees and toes with the kids. After we finished our lesson for the day and I painfully destroyed my morals by giving kids homework we went outside for recess. Recess today was outright no doubt one of the most incredible experiences in my entire life. The kids adore all of us and are intrigued by our white skin and different language. What is amazing about the kids and the experience though is that all they want to do is hold your hand. So as I had 20 kids grabbing on to my arm I must say it was hard to run after the soccer ball. The soccer on the playground is incredibly different then I thought that it would be. In the particular soccer game one person out of the thousand of kids grabs the soccer ball and runs with it until any of the other kids get close then the kid punts the ball into the air restarting the process. This goes on and on if not for our incredibly nice and funny bus driver Zenoos who would grab the ball and tell the kids to back up and then hand the ball to me so I can punt the ball as high as I can. This happened like 5 times and oh yes I have videos of it. Also incredibly kids were doing flying somersaults off rocks. Later we had a speaker come in and who was a woman’s rights activist here in Tanzania. After that we went to an Internet café and enjoyed American food and wifi both of which were very nice. I got to talk to my mom (shout out to Amy White) and all of us got in touch with friends and family. That wrapped up our fun filled day as we await for many more to come.
Best, Aidan White
Today was our third day teaching at the fabulous Himo and Korona primary schools. Waking up super early wasn’t the best. However, it is extremely rewarding to be with literally a thousand children. I walked into class today with my “co- teacher” Aidan, and immediately the children greeted us in unison. We began class with the catchy “Happy and You Know It” song, which they were wild about. Towards the end of class, Aidan and I tried to get the forty students to sing the song again, but something hilarious happened. We began to sing the song, but the children sang another song. In unison, they began to clap and sing the chorus to “We Will Rock You”. As the children sang and clapped, they began to creep towards us. This was one of the funniest experiences because neither Aidan nor I expected them to sing a song at once all together. After class and recess, we went to the field for service work. Talk about a sweat storm as it was brutally hot out there, yet it was quite fun! Personally I was on trash duty. The job was very easy to complete because nearly thirty children came to help us pick up trash. One girl, named Irene, should have won an award because she probably tripled the amount of trash in my bag. Once we came home, a man named Sam came to teach us how to batik, a technique of wax paint. He pulled out a ton of his paintings and we were given the opportunity to purchase them. We spent the whole afternoon creating our own wax paintings. First we got a cloth and traced a picture, then we painted them and poured wax on the paintings. After it dried a man ironed them and we were able to admire the fantastic drawings. Sadly, I have no artistic ability, so I had to have someone else draw mine, but that is beside the point. Overall it was a fantastic day, but then again every day in Africa is fantastic!
Today we went to a coffee plantation and danced with Changa tribe members. On the plantation, we picked Arabic coffee beans, sifted them, and dried them. We then roasted them and were able to drink the coffee we picked. It was really good and we had the opportunity to buy packaged coffee for our families back home. We also were given sugarcane to try and it was really sweet. Everyone was so welcoming and inviting. They also had really cute goats, pigs and cows that we were able to take pictures of. 21
Today, we completed our first week at the Himo and Korona schools. Just like every other day, we were greeted by the excited waves and smiling faces of the young children running up to our bus windows. Today, I had a particularly nice experience with a little girl named Rukia. She couldn’t reach the windows while we were parking so when I stepped off, she ran into my arms for a huge hug. After teaching our classes, we went out to the yard, where both schools join for recess. All week, recess has been intense as well as extremely enjoyable. Each of us have had a crowd of sometimes a few dozen kids, whose ages range from about 13 to 6, and sometimes younger (today, there was a 6 month old baby with her 9 year-old sister). We did our last day of digging/pic-axing holes. Next week, we are going to start planting trees. After a good lunch and a bit of free time, we went back out to change money, shop at an “underground art market”, and go to a (surprisingly large) used clothing market that was an enchanting maze of beautiful locals and old American clothing, shoes, and bags. We got a nice mix of productive service and cultural experience today, which isn’t uncommon, but is always nice.
Today, we visited the Masaai tribe. We went to bed early and woke up early at 3 AM to get ready to leave. We were on the bus at 4 AM for the long drive to meet the Maasai. It was the quietest bus experience I’d had on the bus yet, since our bus driver, Zanus, usually blasts music so loud that the bass shakes the bus. We woke everyone up at around 6:30 to watch the sunrise, which was the very first sunrise I’d ever witnessed. It was incredibly beautiful. The sky was pastel pink for awhile, then suddenly this huge ball of light rose into the sky. The sun was bright red and the sky turned orange and red around it. It was amazing. When we were close to the village, we saw wild giraffes out of the window of the bus. They were much bigger than I thought they’d be. There was a mother and a baby. We got off the bus and met some of the Maasai people and milked the goats. We went on a hike for a few hours where we saw a herd of zebras, birds, and even baboons. It was really hot but it was so fun to see all the animals and hike with each other. When we got back, they showed us the inside of one of their homes. It looked much smaller on the outside, but it was actually pretty big inside. There was a space inside the house where the cows could stay in case it rained, and they had a kitchen and two bedrooms for the children and for the wife. The Maasai believe in polygamy, so the man who showed us around the house explained that he had eleven wives and they each had their own home for themselves and their children. The men have their own houses that were a bit smaller that they live in alone. Next, we watched the Maasai warriors slaughter a goat so that we could eat it. They skinned it and drank the blood and ate the liver and the kidney raw because they believe that it clears everything out of you. It was kind of gross to watch especially because I love animals so much, but I loved learning about their culture and part of that is to learn how to respect their traditions even if you don’t agree with them. After that, we threw spears with the warriors and ate the goat. It kind of tastes like it smells, but it wasn’t too bad. Lastly, we watched a traditional dance of the women and the warriors and we danced with them. The women took off their huge necklaces and let us wear them and taught us how to dance. I loved listening to them sing. Each time, a different women would start or lead the song, and the other women would answer. It was interesting to see that it wasn’t just the oldest woman, who was 105 years old, who lead the song. The younger girls loved to teach us how to dance, and they laughed when we tried. Everyone had a great time. The men have a dance where they try to jump as high as they can, and it was fun to watch the group try to jump. We also got the chance to buy some of their jewelry, and many people bought some to remind us of the amazing day. We watched the sunset on the bus ride home, which really made the day feel whole. We got to sleep in the next morning to catch up on sleep, but it was definitely worth the exhaustion. I hope I never forget that day.
Teaching never gets old. The kids always find a new thing to laugh at, whether it’s Max and I acting out the word “blind” and running into the desks or everyone at recess trying desperately to speak in Swahili and probably saying something that isn’t even close to what we were trying to say. At this point, I’d do anything to make them laugh because it’s the most amazing sound in the world. It’s so hard to let them go after recess so we can start planting trees. They hang out by our workspace and wait for us to walk by so we can hold their hands while we walk to get water. I’ve never been around people who want to be with you and talk to you so much. It’s amazing. We were also surprised today by a group of traditional dancers who came to the compound and danced for us. All of the dancers came from different tribes, so the choreographer used styles from all different tribes and incorporated them into their dances. They were incredible and energetic; their happiness was infectious and we all joined in at one point. It was hilarious to watch everyone dance (or try to) and smile through it even if they thought they were bad. I love doing everything I can to learn more about the Tanzanian culture, whether or not it’s through dance or speaking to the kids or looking out the window on the bus and observing the everyday life of the locals. I also had a surprise of my own that I planned along with one of the mentors, Allison, and Mari. Tomorrow is Baraka’s birthday, who is a local staff member who we’ve gotten close to over the course of our trip. I decided I wanted to buy him a live chicken for his birthday, and with the help of Allison and Mari, we surprised him at dinner with the biggest rooster I’ve ever seen and a handmade card. He was thrilled and told me he would bring the rooster home to surprise his mom. Thankfully, he’s going to keep it and not eat it, which I was worried about. I still can’t believe I bought him a live rooster. When in Tanzania!
Today each classroom was faced with the challenge of having to keep 70 pupils silent due to the surprise visit from the Government assessing the quality of the teaching. This meant no loud singing, dancing (or beat boxing as Nolan was gutted to hear.) After putting on our best performance, bribing our students with countless stickers and promises of games tomorrow in exchange for their cooperation we successfully received no complaints from the visitors. Recess remains my favourite time of the day; not only is this the time to sing, dance and play with hundreds of adorable children but also this is their time to teach us. I’ve learnt Tanzanian songs, several greetings and phrases from the kids, which they giggle, at my poor pronunciation. There’s so much going on in one playground; there’s extreme football with Aiden, Mari’s makeshift dance classes, or aimlessly wondering around with millions of little gremlins clinging onto your arms. The best is when all the little girls get together to hold hands and skip in a circle and just as they are about to sing in flies a football and screams of delight erupt as millions of boys demolish the formation desperately scrapping for the ball. The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived where 17 teenagers were reunited with a brief exposure to Western-world. The Wi-Fi café acts as a hub of desperate instagram uploads, calls home and Facebook stalking trying to get on top of the week’s activity those without 3G did not get the opportunity to access. This is the one place in Tanzania where we have access to Pizza, Hotdogs, Panini’s and various milkshakes. After an exhaustingly antisocial afternoon we retired to watch “John Tucker must die” together.
Today was our second to last day of service, teaching English and watering the trees that we planted previously, and it was emotional for everyone. When we got back to Home Base, we ate lunch, then three professional hair braiders came and almost every girl got their hair braided, while none of the boys ended up braiding their hair. Then, a Tanzanian man named Gilly came and lectured us on tourism, climate change, national parks in Tanzania, and about the safari we will be going on tomorrow. As always at six we sat down to an amazing dinner prepared by the mamas where mama Simba made some announcements about being organized, keeping up with our items, and other things. Later we struggled with the seating arrangements for the safari jeeps, but hopefully everyone will be fine on the safari tomorrow and have an awesome time. To finish off the day we played improv games and then retired to our rooms to pack for the safari and get a good nights sleep.
7/25 and 7/26/2015
On Saturday we went to the Tarangire National Park to start off our safari weekend and as soon as we got into the park we were overwhelmed by the number of animals that we saw. First of all we saw dozens of Wildebeasts , and then even more zebras which was amazing. We also saw giraffes and so many elephants, which came so close to our safari car and crosse right in front of us which was incredible to see.
As we moved through the park toward the end of our safari time we stopped and saw a lion far down below us by a river, which was amazing, and my car was the only one to see a lion on the Saturday of the safari.
Then on Sunday, we went to the Ngorogoro Crater after staying at a hostel close by, so the early start wasn’t too bad. As we drove down into the crater the views were amazing and the sheer size of the crater was so large and surreal to see. On this part of our safari we saw ostriches, hippos, hyenas, lions (some of which were so close to our car we could almost touch them), zebras and many more animals. For lunch we stopped by a lake, which was beautiful and hippos were just chilling in it which was an amazing sight to see. As we made our way back to homebase we stopped at the viewing point at the top of the crater and saw the whole crater and it was so amazing to see, once again.
After the very long journey back to the homebase, in which most people slept due to the tiring activities of the weekend, everyone was so shattered that we went to sleep earlier than usual, after taking in and talking about the surreal experiences of the whole weekend.
– Olivia Miller
This morning, we woke up at seven and enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the home base. Then we made our final trip to the Himo and Korona primary schools. We went to our classrooms for the last time and sang and played games with the students as we said goodbye to our classes. We then made our way to the playground and enjoyed our final minutes with the students we had come to know and love over the past three weeks. Before the bell for class rang, we watched as the children all gathered around and sang us a song to say goodbye. After the students returned to their classrooms, we watered the trees we have been planting for the past few weeks and completed our service project. After we headed back to the home base for lunch, we left to do some final shopping at some of our favorite markets. We returned home for dinner and watched two videos on what leadership truly is as we discussed the leadership skills we developed throughout the trip. We talked about how we could apply these skills at home and enjoyed some downtime before heading to bed so that we could rest up for the Kili hike tomorrow morning.
– Victoria Westmoreland
Today was our last full day in Tanzania, and it was, in my opinion, one of the most challenging excursions from this trip. The day started out normally with breakfast at seven, and we were on the road by eight to hike the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. From the get go, the hike proved itself to be more physically taxing than we had anticipated, involving tons of walks close to ledges, slippery spots, and steep upward climbs. Though we were all tired, it was impossible to ignore the stunning scenery that surrounded us; it felt like something from a fairytale. We hiked to three different waterfalls, one of which we were given the chance to swim in. It was optional, and I was one of the volunteers who chose to go in. The water was absolutely freezing! It felt like we were swimming in a bath filled to the brim with ice, but it was worth it! After some more exploring and more than enough walking, we filled out a survey and headed back to the home base. When we arrived, we were surprised by an amazing feast made by the Mamas, and had a final review of our experience. Then we were given ice cream and sat at a bonfire as dusk turned to night, simply enjoying our last night with our new-found family at our home away from home.
– Lauren Romero
* We apologize for the lack of photos, unfortunately the internet was not good enough to email photos with the posts.
All students are safely through airport security and are on their way home!