All students are present and accounted for!
The third session is off to a great start so far! All of the students arrived safely last night and in great spirits. Our small group is already very comfortable with each other, asking questions and displaying lots of excitement in spending three weeks in beautiful Tanzania!
We had a long day today with orientation, preparing for what’s to come. Our amazing local staff talked about cultural norms and gave us a Swahili crash course. The international staff talked about how to get the most out of our experience here and how to do it safely! Tomorrow we will spend the morning at the school we will be working at for the next three weeks, familiarizing ourselves with our students, classrooms, and service projects. In the afternoon, we will head to Arusha town and spend time exploring the town center and fabric shopping!
Lots ahead, missing everyone at home and excited for what’s to come!
Laura Chase, Mentor
This morning we had a great Swahili lesson, learning many useful words and phrases we can use in our classrooms. Later we went into Arusha and went to a cafe where we got delicious ice cream and coffee. After the cafe we walked around the town and shopped for local fabric to give to the seamstress later this week to make us clothing. The material was so beautiful! We bartered for it with the help of Upendo, one of our local staff, and Kate and Laura, our director and mentor. Back at home base we ate supper and finally made lesson plans for our first day of teaching tomorrow! We are excited to meet our kids.
Today we woke up at 7:15, which was very difficult for everyone. We then had a delicious breakfast as usual and we started off on a hike to Mt. Shimbumbu. We were led through a forest of many exotic plants including banana trees, and Chinese lilies. We went through a Meru village, hidden in the woods, and saw just about every farm animal Tanzania had to offer. We proceed to put on facepaint and continued to the view that overlooked our home village, and the valley that it is in. At the top we ate guavas and had a glamorous photo shoot. After the hike we ate lunch, and then went to our first day of teaching at the school. We all taught successful lessons, and had a great time singing songs, playing soccer, and letting the kids braid our hair. After the kids left, we helped paint the fence. We gave it a fresh new coat and went home for dinner. For our night time activity, we watched a TED talk on “The Danger of a Single Story.” This talked about the problems that come with most of the world seeing everything through a western lens. After that, we played cards, chilled, and then gladly went to bed.
Written by Megan
We woke up today to greet two women who came to talk to us about FGM or Female Genital Mutilation. It was a heavy topic to listen and respond to so early I the morning, but we participated and I could feel jaws dropping inside. They showed us a model of a woman and showed us examples of each type of mutilation. Afterwards they opened up shop for us in support of the fight against FGM, and I couldn’t seem to buy enough.
After they left we headed to The Serena Hotel where we had the gift of Wifi, and we drank coffee and hot chocolate and beautiful scenery and wifi – a teenagers paradise.
We left and headed to the Akeri Secondary School to talk to kids our own age. We stood in front of the. Class as they all stood up and greeted us with “good morning teachers” – just as they do at Patandi. I could feel the collective feelings of surprise to see kids our own age greet us that way. We were separated into random groups to talk to whatever kids we wanted. I spotted two girls shyly smiling at me, and went directly in that direction. Soon two others followed. We laughed and talked about subjects like how they like tanzania, if I would sing for them, if they’d like to oive in America and the list goes on. We laughed a lot, And I could hear the other students laughing in the background. I realized how similar we are as people, and leaving was really painful. When I ever come back to Tanzania I am going to search for them all, no joke. Every Tanzanian I have met has made an immense impact on my life.
We left Akeri, and ate lunch and went to Patandi – which is always another adventure on its own. Me, Kaden and Michelle taught our students about verbs and nouns, but they were so restless-understandable because it was Friday.
After dinner we had a prep talk for the Maasai! Which no one could comprehend the amazing people we were about to experience. We went to sleep early for the 3:30 wake up call, extremely excited for the adventure waiting the next morning.
Even though the wake up call was at 3:30 a.m., it was completely worth it because we were on the way to see the Maasai. We arrived just in time to watch the mesmerizing sun rise. Additionally, we felt privileged that the Maasai took the time to create a bathroom in honor of our arrival. Next, the Maasai showed us their goats and gave some of us the opportunity to milk their goats. Then, we began the arduous walking safari adventure. Throughout the safari we were able to see giraffes, zebras, and a few gazelles. We walked back to the bus and indulged in a delicious breakfast. Another component of our day was that we were able to witness the slaughter of two goats. The Maasai men performed this ritual in a way that was respectful and cultural rather than graphic. Furthermore, we learned about the sections within the boma’s house and certain characteristics about the daily life of the Maasai. All of the previously listed experiences were phenomenal; however, nothing could compare to learning how to throw a spear from the Maasai warriors themselves. Lastly, we watched the Maasai dance and sing various cultural tunes. We ate another appetizing meal and began our journey back to home base. Overall, this was one of the best days in the program so far because we were able to experience a culture that is so unique and rare to find within a highly globalized world. Today was truly an authentic collection of gratifying moments and opportunities.
Blog by Taylor
Today, I woke everyone up through the sounds of my melodic tunes at 7:00 a.m. We had yet another splendid breakfast made from the cooking guru known as Baba Joseph. Then, we ventured to a place where our mentor Laura taught us the history of Tanzania in a concise matter. To close up the morning, the Kili Wizards performed cultural dances for us. The Kili Wizards are a successful dance group that have been together for the last 15 years. We were also given the opportunity to participate in a dance circle in which the members tried to show us how to dance like them. After the Kili Wizards left, we prepared ourselves for an afternoon of service. Instead of painting blackboards, we painted windows and poles. Next, we went back to home base and ate dinner. The evening activity involved personal reflection regarding each of our individual leadership styles. We had to move forward and backward on a line based on whether or not we agreed with the statement. At the end of the activity, all of us were in four different quadrants that represented aspects of our personalities and leadership abilities. The four sections were architects/analysts, relationship masters, spontaneous motivators, and the driver’s seat. For the most part, it was a valid representation of who we all are as people and as leaders. As a final statement, today was another exciting day defined by priceless experiences.
Today was epic. We had our first day of safari and saw so many incredible animals so close to us! First two giraffes were eating from a tree right next to the path we were driving on. Then we saw multiple lions and one of them crossed right in front of our jeep, which is sort of rare. Personally lions are my favorite African animal and, needless to say, it was the most exciting moment of my life. From there we got quite close to many elephants, zebras, and wildebeest. We stopped and had lunch inside the park, where we had some interesting encounters with blackface monkeys. They walked right up to us and grabbed a muffin out of one of our guys’ lunches. Not long after, one jumped onto one of our girls’ shoulders and took her crackers! After lunch we continued to see more amazing animals, huge baobab trees, and beautiful landscapes. It was so surreal to see these animals in their natural habitat. Today truly was one of the best days of my life.
Today was safari day 2. We woke up at the crack of dawn, 5:30 so that we could go to the Ngorogoro crater. This crater has a ton of animals but what they are known for are their huge number of wildabeast and zebras. They are also know for their hippos, hyenas and rinos. This national park allows for the Maasai to live among the animals. We drove in the middle of fog, past beautiful green trees. The fog caused for the weather to be pretty chilly so we were all bundled up in our layers. Thankfully, as the day went on the sun came out. It was incredible to be able to see these animals in their natural habitat. The park strives to keep the park as natural as possible so every animal that was in the crater went there on their own. At lunch we ate by hippos lying in a pond. After a couple group pictures we made our way back to the home base with a few stops along the way to see a nice view of the crater. The drive back home was about 3 hours which went by quickly considering that most people feel asleep.
Dinner was awesome, baba Joseph made a ton of food. There was soup, rolls, French fries, chicken, pasta, homemade tamato sauce and vegetables. After dishes we danced with Upendo and watched a video discussing the poaching of rinos. It’s sad to hear that there is a great number of rinos decreasing due to poaching that is driven by greed. At 10 it was lights out and we were all in bed within the next half hour.
Blog by Catherine
Sadly, today was our last full day in Tanzania. It was the last chance for us to all be together at this time in our lives. We woke up at 6 in the morning and prepared for a scenic hike to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our guides led us to the picturesque waterfalls where we were able to take gorgeous pictures. Throughout the hike, we were fortunate to see the true aesthetics of Tanzania for the last time.
After reaching the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we returned to the bus and ventured to the Moshi Market. This market was our last official chance to shop, browse stores, and buy souvenirs. Then, we journeyed back to Arusha. When driving back to home base, we saw Mt. Kilimanjaro in the best light. Furthermore, when we arrived back at home, we all dressed in some of our traditional African clothing that the seamstress had made. Our final dinner was an immaculate masterpiece by the one and only, Baba Joseph. Additionally, all of us shared our favorite moments throughout the trip. The evening proved to be final moments of reflection and appreciation. We performed our final jokes, tricks, and riddles to each other. Overall, the last day was bittersweet; however, we all knew that it had to come to an end. It’s up to us to cherish the memories we made during this program. As a final point, I can genuinely say that although this group was small, we became extremely close and resembled an actual family. This last day was the best way to conclude the trip and show us how we can educate our different communities through the experiences we made in Tanzania.
Thanks for all the memories!
Richard, Kate and Laura