Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
I cannot believe that I am back in the United States after spending an AMAZING summer in Tanzania with Global Leadership Adventures! I am now into the routine of work and school here and I hope that all of you are fully immersed and enjoying your next adventure whether that be another year of high school or your first year in college.
Every day I was amazed at how well you bonded with each other and fully immersed yourselves into the program. I will not forgot the times spent doing service, debating during discussions, relaxing at the home base, and adventuring on safari.
I want to take this opportunity to once again express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for everyone who worked at and participated in the GLA Tanzania Moshi program this summer. All of you took an incredibly brave step by traveling halfway around the world to a foreign country to experience a different culture with strangers who turned into friends and you all succeeded in fully immersing yourselves into the GLA experience. Most importantly, all of the hard work that you did for the students at Himo and Korona has had a positive impact on their lives. I hope the GLA experience has been life changing for you as well and that your experiences in Tanzania continues to positively impact your life as you continue to grow both as individuals and future leaders.
Summer Blog Posts
July 19, 2016
Today was our first full day spent in Tanzania. We all woke up at crazy times in the middle of the night because of time change. We had a delicious breakfast and then spent the morning going over things to know for the rest for the trip. Also, we had a short Swahili lesson to learn some of the basics for the trip. After lunch, we went into the town to the local market. Most of us bought fabric for the tailor to make different things for us with. There were tons of different and cool patterns to choose from and it was awesome to see the locals around the market. Some of us got to try the roasted corn, which we decided to compare to popcorn on a cob? It was delicious. After shopping, we headed back to the home base and had an educational speaker talk to us about the history of Tanzania and the educational systems here. Being educated a little more about the country has helped us all to have better idea of how to have a lasting impact on people here. We then had dinner and watched some videos on volunteering abroad. We are all very tired and ready to go to bed and have another amazing day tomorrow.
-Rachel Longust (PS HBD MOM!!!!)
July 20, 2016
Today was an extremely eye opening day. We started the day with a local tailor visiting us at our home base. We brought out the cloth we purchased the day before at the shops, and after we chose what articles of clothing we wanted to have made, he took our measurements and notes for our clothes while the rest of us studied and discussed multiple topics. We were split into groups of three and each got a different article to read and discuss. We then had a large group discussion on each talking about voluntourism and orphanage tourism. These were extremely eye opening topics that made us all think about the organizations we had volunteered for in the past and the service work we have done. We then met our host families who took us to their homes and showed us their village and introduced us to their families. This was extremely eye opening and I know I personally realized how materialistic the USA is and how much constant stimulation we as a generation and country need to stay entertained. Most groups ventured through local markets and explored the banks of a near by river. Several of us saw monkeys and other wildlife. We all returned before dinner and talked all about our experiences with our host families. After dinner we discussed the controversial topic of female genital cutting. Everyone was very engaged as workshops and discussions like this help us better understand the culture we are surrounded by.
Joey and Sean
21st July 2016
We began the day by visiting the school we will be working in this
following week. The school was roughly an hour away and we took the
bus to get there. The headmistress welcomed us and explained the
history and structure of the school. We were also shown the classrooms
that we are going to repaint and fix, they were significantly run
down, making us realize the challenge we are going to face. The
students were extremely excited to see us and after seeing the
contribution that past GLA students have made to the school, such as
planting trees, we could understand why.
In the afternoon we were divided into two groups. One group went to a
local batic workshop, where we made our own batic painting in that
style. It was an extremely long process that took over two hours to
complete. The results were pleasing and everyone enjoyed the
experience, as it really made us familiar with the Tanzanian culture.
Meanwhile, the other group stayed in the home base where a guest
speaker came to talk about female genital mutation. He was the
coordinator of NAFGM, the Tanzanian organization that is fighting for
human rights and encouraging tribes to stop the practice.
– Noa and Virginia
Friday, July 22
Today was another great day. We woke up at 7 and had breakfast. After breakfast we drove 45 minutes to the school. We each went into different classrooms and taught the students an English lesson for an hour. When we finished teaching we had half an hour to play with the kids at recess. They taught us all of the games they play and we had a lot of fun! Afterwards, we began sanding the classrooms to prepare to paint. We went back to the home base to eat lunch and shower, then we drove to another market and to the Internet cafe. The wifi didn’t work as well as we had hoped, but we got some milkshakes and pizza and we were on our way. We came home and had dinner then began prepping for our safari. We were in bed pretty early because we had to get up at 6 on Saturday. Such an amazing day with lots of great memories to take back home.
Meg & Katie
Safari weekend July 23 & 24
SAFARI WEEKEND! We woke up really early Saturday morning to begin our unforgettable adventure. There was a lot of driving to get there, but it was definitely worth it! Around noon, we arrived at Terengire National Park. The weather was amazing and we were able to see a large variety of animals. Elephants were so close to our jeeps, we could see every wrinkle it had. Saturday night, we stayed at a hostel. After an eventful night that included showers flooding rooms and the expected power outages, we woke up at 5:00 am to begin our second safari trip of the weekend. We went to Ngorongoro Crater, which was absolutely unbelievable. There were many breathtaking views and unforgettable moments that we made sure to capture with our cameras. In all, we saw cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, flamingos, a rhino, hippos, and lions. We also learned a lot about the wildlife and local culture. We will definitely never forget this safari weekend!
-Moira, Gwen & Nicole
July 26, 2016
Today was an insightful and productive day. We woke up at 7 to shower, get ready, and eat breakfast before heading to school. We revised our lesson plans the night before to cater to the needs of what the teachers asked of us and what they want the students to learn. Due to the extensive lesson planning the night before, we found that the period went by smother and time was spent more efficiently. The students seemed to be more comfortable with talking and were more responsive. After our class, we get a 30 minute recess with all of the students. When I say all, I truly mean all 637 of them. While it can be overwhelming at times, nothing beats the feeling of hundreds of little kids wanting to hold your hand and talk to you. Usually after recess we all hop back on the bus and change into our work clothes to paint the school but today the staff and mentors decided to head back home and do a group bonding activity. We arrived back at the home base with an hour and a half until lunch time. We all sat as a big group and each received two sheets of paper. On one of them we wrote something positive about our experience thus far and something we like about the dynamic of our group. On the other, we wrote something that we could work to improve on either as a group or the program as a whole. We all had lots of positive things to say considering this trip has been absolutely amazing. However, there was a big frustration among the group regarding a lack of the community service aspect to the program. We all felt that we could do more with our time here and wanted to take more initiative and take a step further with helping the community more. After giving our feedback, our leaders and mentors met together to devise a plan that would be a best fit for everyone. They saw where we were coming from, appreciated our honesty, and took the actions necessary to help make our time here in Africa the most useful. They took out some other activities such as shopping to make room for more community service such as helping the local womens group. We are all excited to see how the rest of the week plays out. After the much needed discussion, we had an amazing lunch courtesy of our awesome kitchen staff. After lunch we split into two groups. My group stayed at the home base and listened to a guest speaker, a representative from NAFGM who talked about the pressing issue of female genital mutilation and how it affects a larger part of the world than we thought. The presentation was extremely educational and we learned a lot about how this issue impacts women across the world, including America. After this, we headed to the local orphanage just a 10 minute walk from our home base. We brought a gift of sugar and listened as Mama Faraji told us her story and the story of the orphanage. She then gave us a tour as we waited for the children to arrive back from school. The orphanage currently has 96 children. 36 of them stay at the home base we visited and some stay at the other home base or are away at boarding school. It was quite a small space and it was amazing to see how they were able to work with what they had and fit all of the kids in there. We got to play kick ball and soccer with some of the kids before we had to leave for dinner. The children were so energetic and full of life and it was so humbling to witness all of it. After dinner, we all met for a workshop and discussed the danger of stereotyping and the damage it can cause. We talked about what our thoughts of Africa were before we actually saw it for ourselves and how those thoughts came to us. We then expressed our thoughts about Africa after what we’ve seen so far. A lot of what we expressed second didn’t match up with our first impressions. I think it’s important to not judge a place or a culture before you’ve been there to witness it; especially a Continent like Africa, which does in fact have 54 countries. While Africa is full and heavy with culture, different places harbor different kinds. We then talked about the importance of not falling into the “white savior” mind set and thinking that everyone here needs saving. We are here to work with them and build beside them, not to save them. We are just a puzzle piece in the bigger picture that is helping to build up this developing world. We aren’t “saving” anyone, especially over night. I think this was a much needed lesson and discussion. After this, we received an educational presentation about the native tribal group known as the Maasai from our leader Allison. This was super educational and insightful to some of the native culture. Finally after a long and action packed day, we called it a night and got dressed for bed. Each day we continue to learn more and more as we lend our helping hands out to the community. It’s a give and take. As we help by teaching and painting classrooms, we receive a cultural experience and another place to call home. To me and to everyone on this trip, that’s something we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Words can’t express all of our gratitude to all of our parents, grandparents, or to anyone who made it possible for us to come on this trip. We love and miss you all.
– Jaylene Sperry
Today we woke up at 7am, we had breakfast and we left for Himo and Korona primary schools. We taught English for 45mins. We then as usual participated with the student’s recess. After this, we started to paint two classes, the windows were painted in light blue and the walls in yellow. When we came back at the home base, we had lunch, it was delicious like always. We ate rice with vegetables and beef. We started our afternoon by a leadership activity in a field. The aim of this activity was to learn about the different types of leaders. After answering several questions all of us found out which type of leader we were. Then we went to the market and did a scavenger hunt. We had to find different items on a list such as sweet potatoes or coconuts which were written in Swahili. After dinner we watched a film on albino people in Tanzania. We learned that Albinos population was very high for Tanzania 1 for 14 000, compared to the usual rate 1 for 20 000 in the world. Albinos are murdered for their body parts and blood. It is used by witchcraft to cure people or by fishermen in their nets for good luck. Their body parts are believed to bring people good fortune, usually by consuming them. This issue was for all of us completely unknown. After this film, we planned our lesson for next day.
Wednesday, July 26
Today we woke up early, had breakfast and headed to the school. When we arrived, we all went to our classrooms to teach our English lessons to the students. Since it was the fourth day of teaching, all the kids were getting a lot more comfortable participating in class and answering our questions. After teaching, we played with the kids during recess. The girls love to teach us their playground games and songs and the boys love to run around and play soccer. After recess was over and the kids gave us big goodbye hugs, they had to go back to class while we headed to the classrooms we have been working on restoring. It was our second day of painting, and the classrooms are already looking a lot better. It was very exciting to see this progress! After painting the classrooms and picking up trash outside the school (“beautifying the campus”), we headed back to the compound. We were delighted with the sight of burgers and fries for lunch. After lunch and some free time, we drove to a nearby hotel, drank sodas, and ate some barbecue while we listened to Mama Simba’s amazing life story and her advice to us as leaders. We left this informal talk feeling not only impressed by Mama Simba’s journey, but also inspired to be strong leaders ourselves. After, we went to a field where the Kilimanjaro Wizards, a local and traditional dance group, performed for us. They played instruments like drums, danced, and sang their traditional songs. They even pulled us students up in front of the circle to try to dance like them. Needless to say, we were not as talented dancers as they were and we all looked a little silly, but it was an experience none of us will forget. After, we walked back to the home base and had dinner. We had some free time before Sarah gave us a gender empowerment seminar and inspired us with statistics, videos, and her own personal stories. We also touched on Microfinancing and watched a Vice Haiti video about government aid (USAID) during this talk. To end the night we lesson planned for teaching in the schools the next day, had some more free time, and went to bed. Another great day in Tanzania!
-Halle Mogk, Rachel Longust, & Virginia Schaus
Thursday, July 28
On Thursday, July 28th, it was Rachel’s Birthday! We woke up at 6:50
and woke up everyone by screaming wake up and turning on the lights in
each room. We ate breakfast and then left for the school. We took the
bus ride to the Himo-Corona School where we all divided up into our
teaching groups and taught a variety of lessons including time, letter
writing and prepositions. After we taught, we had recess with all the
kids where we were shocked to see a little boy holding a bottle with a
mouse on a leash inside. It was frightening and disgusting. On the
contrary, we played a game of soccer, played hand games, sang songs
and ran races. After recess we went to the classrooms that we were
working on and painted the bottom border black and finished painting
the windows blue. We also picked up trash around the school and play
area. We went back to the home base where we ate lunch and then we
went to the Moshi Primary Lunch where we visited the special education
classroom. In the classroom the ages ranged from 5 years old to 35
years old. We listened to the head teacher where she talked about the
special education program in their school and also programs in
Tanzania. After that we went to the coffee planation where we picked
red berries, grinded them, mashed them and then roasted them to make
coffee beans. Everyone enjoyed the end product of delicious coffee.
While people were drinking on their coffee, some people went and
danced with the women dancers who preformed for us multiple times.
After dinner, we surprised Rachel with a birthday cake and we also
sang her Happy Birthday along with the staff. Our workshop of the
night was about the AIDS/HIV epidemic not only in Tanzania but all
over the world. At the end of the night everyone went outside and
watched the stars and some people even saw the shooting star!
Allie and Danielle
Friday, July 29th
We started our morning with our heartwarming final words to tell our students. The school appreciated our time with their wonderful speeches. To finalize our service, we completed the making of our classrooms and cleared away as much litter around the campus possible. Upon our return to the home base, we received our rad gifts from the seamstress and the majority of GLA students got their ever so fabulous corn rows. Later, we shared unforgettable memories with the students from the Moshi Secondary School. The true bae, Mama Simba gave her final goodbye. We then ended the night with our workshop on the underrated ways of being a leader as well as being a follower, and the mentors discussed reverse culture shock and different ways to utilize our newly gained insight on the world for good.
❤️Amanda and Lance
Saturday, July 30
Today we went to Mount Kilimanjaro, and took a hike in its foothills. Everyone had been looking forward to this day for the past week. Upon arrival we were given a set of rules to make the hike successful and safe. We divided into two groups, as not everyone was able to complete the full hike. The hike was about three hours long and extremely beautiful. We had the opportunity to stop at three waterfalls, enjoy the scenery, and take photos. We also had the chance to interact with some local people who live around the mountain on the hike. They were playing with chameleons and allowed us to hold them. Shortly after interacting with the locals we took a detour to visit one of the local staff member, Novellia’s house. We then walked to one of the entrances of the mountain, where we ate lunch, met up with the other group, and learned about some of the paths you could take while hiking.
Due to certain circumstances, some of the students could not participate on the hike. The staff brought those students to a Chugga tribe museum to learn about how they lived. Then, they visited a blacksmith and got to see how all of the tools and weapons were made for the village. The group then met up with the hikers for lunch.
After arriving back at the compound our host families came to say goodbye. Some students went back to their host families house where they were given gifts and farewell hugs. Others decided to stay at the compound and thank their host families for their generosity. All the host families were eager to wish us safe travels, and the GLA students were very appreciative to have been welcomed into their homes.
Later that night we had a goodbye bonfire. We all gathered around the fire and went over our highs and lows of the trip, laughing and reminiscing about the memories we’d all shared these past two weeks. Following that we went around complimenting one person who’d made the trip better for us, or someone we really enjoyed having on the trip. This slowly transformed into everyone talking about the trip in general, and enjoying our last night together while stargazing before bed.
-Lia, Sabrina, & Haley