•March 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Lasting Impressions

•May 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Tanzania will be leaving many lasting impressions on my life. This experience has given me invaluable teaching experience, new friendships, and vast cultural knowledge. The amount of time that I was able to teach far exceeded my expectations. I was able to teach lessons that I created to a live classroom and reflect on my teaching. This kind of experience will stay with me forever and I will take my mistakes and accomplishments with me in my future career to make myself into the best teacher that I can be.

The friendships that I’ve made on this trip will also stay with me for the rest of my life. I have not only made close bonds with the other students in the group, but with the teachers, safari drivers, and students that I work and interact with every day. These people have been incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic to teach us about their culture and language. Everyday I learn something new about their life, their background, and their families. I know that their stories will stay with me for a long time and I will always remember their kindness and support during our time in Tanzania.

Finally, the amount of things that I’ve learned about Tanzania and it’s people is incredible. I have not only learned about their rich history and the different tribes that exist today, but I’ve had the opportunity to interact and work with the people on a regular basis. I’ve learned about their lifestyles, values, interests, hopes, and dreams. It has been quite eye opening and has provided me with a new outlook on the world and people living in poverty, which will have a lasting impression on my life. These things have changed me for the better and I will take these experiences with me into my future career and interactions.

– Lauren C.

Kwa heri Tanzania

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There is so much I am going to take away from Tanzania I don’t even know where to start. Not only have I learned so much about the people and the culture here, but I have learned so much about myself as a person and a teacher. I have developed such a great relationship with my students.  I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to develop such a close bond in such a short time, and it makes it extremely hard for me to leave. I feel so blessed I was able to have this experience. It will definitely be something I will never forget.

It has been such a great experience being a part of and learning the culture here in Tanzania. I will never forget the willingness and excitement the Tanzanians expressed when sharing their country and language with us. I love how the people here live their life with no worries and no rush. It has really opened my eyes and made me realize that life really isn’t a rush and that I should take my time each day to just enjoy life. I feel like I will also be more friendly and open to different cultures and beliefs. I have realized that people live their lives differently and it doesn’t mean that it is better or worse than the way I live my life; it is only different.

Teaching here in Tanzania has definitely changed me as a person. I have always had such a strong passion for children, but after being here my passion has expanded in many ways. I have come to realize that I want to do more than teach in a suburban area in Missouri. Since this trip I have developed an enthusiasm in helping children that really need it. Being here has given me so many ideas to teach out of the country, work in inner cities schools, and or join organizations that help to poor and needy.

When I finished this semester’s courses I really felt like I was able to begin teaching in my own class. After teaching here in Tanzania I now understand that it would be extremely beneficial to learn more about classroom management, how to engage every single student, and teaching students who are at different levels. Even though I have realized I am not ready to have my own class, it has made me even more excited to begin my student teaching.

Nicki Yamada

Flower Child

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Well I’m the hippie of the group, so one thing I’ll never forget is the beauty of Tanzania. I’m surprised I haven’t twisted an ankle in all the potholes with how I walk around with my head in the sky, looking around at the gorgeous trees and birds. Even in the city, I always have something to admire. Gaining a greater appreciation for the natural beauty in our world is something I will never forget about Tanzania.

My biggest lasting impression and transformation from Tanzania is an inner peace with the differences between cultures. I no longer see differences and judge. Tanzania has shown me that great things come out of people living in different ways. I don’t hate myself for how I live back home. I don’t feel the need to drop everything and move here to save the world. People here are happy living the way they do. It is not my job to “fix” them. Just like anywhere in the world, there are good people, and there are also a few bad ones. But Tanzania is a proud and welcoming country. Hopefully, I’ll come in contact with other places around the world who will help further instill this open-mindedness to other cultures I have come to gain during my time here.

Allyn G.

Monduli

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This weekend we camped in a Maasai Village (yes, I know I spelt it wrong the first time haha). After we settled in we went on a couple hour walk around the area. The scenery was beautiful! A Massai child invited us into her home, which was a tiny straw hut. Her whole family was crowded inside, including her mother. The Massai speak their own language so there wasn’t much communication between us but we did manage to make-out that there was 1 bedroom for 6 people, the “kitchen” was a couple pieces of wood with a pot on top, and surprisingly enough there was a little area inside the house where the goats would stay. They allowed us to take some pictures, however, because it was dark in the hut I didn’t realize that the mother was breast feeding This weekend we camped in a Maasai Village (yes, I know I spelt it wrong the first time haha). After we settled in we went on a couple hour walk around the area. The scenery was beautiful! A Massai child invited us into her home, which was a tiny straw hut. Her whole family was crowded inside, including her mother. The Massai speak their own language so there wasn’t much communication between us but we did manage to make-out that there was 1 bedroom for 6 people, the “kitchen” was a couple pieces of wood with a pot on top, and surprisingly enough there was a little area inside the house where the goats would stay. They allowed us to take some pictures, however, because it was dark in the hut I didn’t realize that the mother was breast feeding her baby in the picture. I’m still going to post the picture because it is a great picture and so real but I’m just giving you a little forewarning. After the walk we ate lunch and then headed to the Massai market. This market is considerable different from the market we have been going to in Arusha. The market in Arusha sells goods for tourists. The market we went to in Monduli was interactions and trades between Massia people themselves. They were trading/buying goods such as sugar, coffee, tea, fruit, vegetables, cows, goats, matches, flashlights, shoes, clothes, ect. I loved being at this market, it was a truly authentic learning experience. We were learning how the Massai people live by actually being there and seeing it. We even went into one of their “movie theaters”, which was a straw hut that had people standing around a tv watching a foreign movie. I bought an avocado from one of them Massai women, it was by far the best avocado I have ever had. I loved the chaos and realness of it all, I might even be so bold as to say that it was one of my favorite things I’ve done here so far. The next day we woke up early for a 5 hour hike up Monduli Mountain. The hike was steep and hard but I was apart of the group that made it up to the very top! Unfortunately it was foggy and rainy so we couldn’t see the beautiful view of Kilimanjaro. A few of us yoga fans did a little yoga at the top of the mountain. If it would have been clear that day Kilimanjaro would have been in the background of my yoga picture. On the way home Sunday we stopped at a glassblowing factory that makes all of its products using recycled glass, mostly from wine bottles. This business was founded to provide jobs to disabled people who are struggling in the job market. All the employes that work there are either deaf or physically impaired. The artwork was beautiful and I loved the concept of the whole business; recycling, helping those that are less fortunate, art. Overall the weekend was a success! This is my last week here and I already know I’m going to miss this place so much, I hope to be able to come back someday.

Morgan Steele

Tanzanian Memories

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Though it sounds incredibly corny and cliché, my experience here in Tanzania has truly been once in a lifetime. I have bonded with a great group of future educators, and together, we have tackled several challenges as well as making lasting memories. Over the past four weeks, I have seen so many wonderful things in this beautiful country. I have been able to experience teaching mathematics, go on a safari in the Serengeti, make honey from sting-less bees, and go inside a Maasai boema(hut). The lessons I have learned are too numerous to count and I have gained so many insights that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

As I have been teaching in the schools, I have been focused on teaching the children by merging the lecture style lesson they are used to completing with activities that allow them to explore concepts. Though unsure of my teaching style at first, after a few days the students began to get used to my “Mizungu” ways and some really started to understand the mathematical concepts. I will never forget the look of satisfaction on the faces of the students when things “clicked” for them and they finally understood the lesson. I suppose this look is the reason why I want to be a teacher. I will always remember these students as being some of my first students in my teaching career. Though I would not be so forward to say that I made some sort of difference in the lives of my students here, I can walk away content knowing that they have made a large difference in my life.

Though our group came to Tanzania to teach, we have been able to experience so much more than the schools. I have been very surprised by the friendly people here. In the US, people walking on the street going about their daily business will almost always avoid eye contact. Here in Tanzania, it seems impolite to walk by someone without greeting them. Additionally, Tanzanians are more than willing to talk with a visitor for hours and answer any questions you have about their country and language. In return, most usually only want to know a little about your personal background. I suppose I will remember the large smiles and warm hellos of the friends I have met here.

Coming to Africa is usually seen by most in the western world as an act of charity. People see the images of rampant poverty that span this continent. While the people here may be “poor” if you measure their wealth and material possessions, getting to know them shows a whole different picture. Many Tanzanians I have spoken to initially lament about their lack of money, but when asked about what truly matters to them, they say that they are happy with food, a home and family. In other terms they have all that any human needs to survive and they admit that they are happier without the burden of money. To sum up the lifestyle, I would say that it represents simple ling at its finest. In fact, it encourages me to follow the saying “live simple so that others may simply live.”

Though I know that the memories will fade over time, I hope that I will always abide by the lessons I have learned here in Tanzania. I think I will always remember Tanzania as a country that has beautiful landscape, amazing animals, crazy driving, and, most importantly, kindhearted people. This country will forever hold a special place in my heart and I know that I will make every effort to return here so that I may continue to be amazed by the wonders of Tanzania.

Kirsten C

 

Mimi ni mwalimu. [I am a teacher.]

•May 23, 2012 • 1 Comment

My time here in Tanzania has been breif, but is a time that will stay with me forever. I have learned so much about the history, the animals, the land, and the government of Tanzania. I have also learned a lot about their education system. Although it is a very different system than ours in the U.S., they make it work for them. Even better than that, they are working towards improving their education and have changed for the better in the past decade.

Although I have learned so much about these topics, the thing that will really stick with me is the people. Learning about the people of this country has been my favorite part of this trip. Almost everyone you meet in Tanzania are polite. They are also happy people, which is surprising when you see how little some people have. Tanzanians are very social beings, and they measure their wealth in how many friends and family they have. This means you end up with many friends, even in a short period of time.

My favorite aspect of Tanzania is that it is a place for learning. The people here are so eager to learn. Even the children want to be in school. Even better, Tanzanians are eager to teach. They will tell you everything they can about themselves and their country. They will also spend a lot of time discussing philosophical concepts with you, if you are interested.

Although Tanzania is a fantastic place to learn practical information or information you can pass on to others, it is even better at teaching you something else. Tanzania has bee the first place in a long time that taught me about myself. I have made some personal realizations that I could not have made without this trip and Tanzania. It is a place that has changed me forever and is officially a part of who I am.

Lasting Impressions After an Amazing Trip

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have already begun to process the lasting impression this trip has had on me, and I am sure I will continue to process for a long time after I get home. As of right now, I know this trip has changed how I think  about myself as a teacher, has deepened my love for service, and has ignited a desire to travel.  The students and staff at Assumption, the staff at the Outpost, the children at the orphanage, and people we have met along our weekend adventures have all helped me consider these points.

To begin, I believe this trip has had  a lasting impression on how I think about myself as a teacher. I always knew that teaching would be hard, but this experience showed me just how hard. Teaching takes a ton of planning, this trip has showed me that sometimes no matter how much you plan a lesson it may not be effective for your students. It is important to be adaptive and change a lesson to meet students needs. I learned that providing extra help during tea time was one way to help students after a lesson did not go as planned.  This trip has also helped me to become more confident in my abilities as a teacher. I have only co-taught one lesson in Columbia, so I think being thrown into a leading a classroom by myself was exactly what I needed. Teaching several lessons has helped me become more confident in my abilities. Teaching here showed me I could be creative and effective with no materials. I was able to teach math without manipulatives and a SMARTboard!

In addition, my time in Tanzania has deepened my love for service. Ever since I was little, I have always been working on service projects. In high school I was a member of Service over Self and have continued volunteering in college with a service sorority. This trip has deepened my love for service. Visiting the orphanage as well as interacting with the students and staff at Assumption has helped me consider how much I love serving others. I have been very fortunate, and enjoy being able to help others whether it be with my time or other services.  On our way back from safari, we saw many hungry Maasai children. It was the first time I saw hunger. I know that when I return to Columbia, I want to volunteer with the Food Bank and other organizations that work to fight hunger.

Finally, I know this trip has left a last impression in terms of igniting my desire to travel. Our weekend cultural trips have left me with a desire to learn more about the people of Tanzania. I want to learn more about their language, traditions, values, and much more. I hope to one day be able to return to Tanzania to learn more. I also want to travel to other countries and learn about different cultures. I think traveling can help me to become a more culturally competent educator.

Kathleen Weber

It’s the Simple things in life….

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My time in Tanzania has been absolutely amazing! I’ve met so many amazing people, who have each shared their story with me. I’ve learned about their tribes, their languages, and their culture in itself. Most of them have little to nothing, but they are so happy about what they do have that the rest doesn’t matter. Something that has really hit me between Tanzania and America is the materialistic way of life. Tanzanians have the very basics, and they get through with everything they need. Americans have much more than that, but they still are never satisfied. I’ve learned that these things are not what life is about. It’s about the relationships that you build with people around you. One of my favorite things about Tanzania is the greetings and farewells that they give on the streets. Everyone you walk it’s, “mambo” “Poa” “habari” “mzuri”, and this is only the beginning. In America it’s a blank stare, a eye contact avoidance, or a nasty look.

Another amazing thing about Tanzania is the willingness to share with everyone here. People let 15 American girls live in their houses for 2 days on our weekend excursions, and eat all their food. They gave up their weekend to take us on hours of hiking trips, prepare meals for us, and teach us how to make things we’ve never made before. They could have used that time for their own busy lives, like harvesting crops or making cheese, but they spent it with us instead. The same with the teachers at the school. We come into their school and expect them to just hand over their classroom to us, without them even knowing anything about us. They gave us their one book that they own for the entire class, allowed us to take it home with us, and trusted that we would bring it back. They did so much for us, and always made sure that we were comfortable and happy with whatever we had to do. They were so amazing. I do not know how I will say goodbye to them. It will be a whole lot of crying, and a few words that I manage to slip out between the tears. I love everyone at Assumption.

Ah, the students. I cannot even begin to say how amazing the students are in Africa. They greet the teacher as soon as the teacher walks in the room. They say things like “sorry teacher” if you sneeze, cough, or drop a piece of chalk. They fight over who gets to hold your hand at recess. But best of all, they want to learn and they LOVE going to school! The students are so respectful and happy to see you all of the time. In America, it’s quite opposite. The students are forced to go to school, they never do their homework, they don’t like the teachers and definitely don’t want to hold their hand at recess. It’s a completely different way of life here. I will miss my students so much! I am trying to forget that tomorrow is my last day, and instead pretend that I get to stay here forever!

In general, Tanzania has been one of the best experiences of my life and I am not ready for it to end. I love Africa, I love Tanzania, and I love the people in these places. If I had one goal for my life, it would be to move to Tanzania. I will live here someday! 🙂

-Kendra Baty

Hamna shida

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

One of my favorite things about Tanzania is the people.  They are so welcoming.  I’ll never forget the first day of school when all of the teachers welcomed us into their school right away, even though they didn’t have a clue of who we are.  Now, they consider us a part of their family.  It’s just so amazing having people who care so much.  Even on the weekend excursions, we were welcomed into the people’s homes with hugs and smiles.  Even on the street, you say hi to everyone.  It’s so much different than back at home, where it’s considered weird to say hi and have a conversation with all the random people you see.  I love how welcoming everyone is, but most of all, I love how happy the people are.  I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I have been in the past month.  At the end of the day, every day, I think about what a great day I’ve had and how much I look forward to the next one.  It’s like their happiness is contagious.

 

Something I’m especially going to take away fromTanzaniais “hamna shida”.  Even when things aren’t going as well as you’d like, it’s not the end of the world.  Something bad happens – “hamna shida”.  That’s what we always say, especially at school.  No one stresses over the little things that don’t really matter.  I think it will be good to remember when I go home, back to a whole different life style… No more pole pole.  Everything is go go go.  I’d like to slow it down a little bit, and try to be as positive as I can.

The way they use resources here is awesome too.  When we went to Shanga, they could do so much using a ton of recycled wine bottles, and made machines out of broken machine parts.  It was just so cool.

This kind of goes back to how much I love the people, but I will never forget Sekei.  That school is so amazing.  I can’t believe how quickly we came to love it, and become so close to the teachers and students.  It is going to be so hard to say goodbye to all of them.  I’m going to miss the school so much.  The teachers, the students, and the overall atmosphere.  Most of the kids are just so motivated to learn, and they enjoy learning.  You don’t hear the students complaining about how “stupid” subjects are or how they don’t want to be at school.  Students WANT to be at school, and that itself is just a beautiful thing.

Sarah T.