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

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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.

Lasting Impressions of Tanzania

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My time in Tanzania has flown by and I am amazed at how memorable every day has been here. There are so many things that I have learned throughout the past three weeks and I know that this last week will allow me to add even more memories to this incredible experience! I will forever remember Tanzania as the most beautiful place in the world filled with some of the best and caring people that I have ever met. Everyone seems to genuinely care about how you are doing and they take an interest in getting to know you and share about their culture and their country. This has allowed me to learn so much and it has given me a chance to really experience a different lifestyle from my own. It is so crazy to think about how ignorant I was to different cultures and different ways of living, but I think that after this experience I have learned to open my mind to new ways of doing things and have learned what is truly important in my life.
In addition to this, I will never forget the memories that I have made at Assumption school. I will always remember how the kids stood up and greet me before a lesson and complimented me on my lesson at the end. Also, I could never forget how the kids lined up outside during break time to receive stickers or crowded around me to get a grab at my “muzungu” hair. In just three weeks, I did not think it was possible to develop some of the bonds that I have made with my students and it makes me so sad to think that in just two days I will have to say my goodbyes. Several of my students have even asked, “Teacher, when will you come back?” and it just breaks my heart to tell them that I am unsure and that I hope I get the opportunity to return. The memories and lessons that I will apply to my future teaching career will be ones that I can cherish forever and I will make sure to keep in contact with the entire faculty at Assumption.
Lastly, I will never forget all of the things that I have learned about different cultures from our weekend trips. It was so interesting to see different people’s way of living. I enjoyed learning how to make honey, coffee, and cheese from the women of Mulala Village, interesting facts from Simon in the Maasai tribe, and of course learning everything we could have ever wanted to know about Tanzania from our wonderful safari drivers. I think this trip would have been completely different if I hadn’t met some of these amazing people who shared so much knowledge about the country of Tanzania with us. I am so blessed that I got to meet so many wonderful people and have a trip of a lifetime in Tanzania!

-Chelsea I.

An open ear leads to an open heart

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sitting here it is hard to believe that our trip to Tanzania is almost over.  It has been an experience like none other and my eyes fill with tears as I think about leaving.  All of the students’ smiling faces, the beautiful trips we have taken, the friends I have made here all fly through my mind.  How do I say “goodbye” to them for the last time?  How is it possible to say goodbye to someone who has touched your heart more than you ever thought possible?  The answer is clear, you can’t.

Sekei Secondary School has been my second home and all the teachers and students alike have left a huge mark on my heart and I am certain I will never forget them.  It isn’t just the fact that they were my colleagues or students, but they have all become like family to me.  We cracked jokes together, played games, learned about each others’ lives, and gained such a strong bond because of it.  I will never forget how the students called me “Madam,” how Shao became the grandfather I never had, how the students’ desire to learn surpassed all the students I have met yet in America. All stick with me.

These people are not the only ones who have impacted me.  The safari drivers who day in and day out were there for us as we rode through areas filled with lions, Maasai people, and dug us out of a mud pit when we got stuck also come to my mind.  They acted as our father figures and kept us safe, fed, and entertained.  The ability for people here to always care about us and what we have to say is something I know I will take with me when I return to the United States.  Before this trip I would have said that it would be very difficult to find someone you don’t know who genuinely cares when you talk to them, but in Tanzania these people are everywhere.  Even complete strangers walking on the street will carry on a conversation with you, asking about your life and interests.  It makes me realize that everyone just needs an ear to listen to them.  Once you have given someone some of your time, they will tell you everything you would like to know and more.  I know when I return to the states I will be a lot more open to listening to others and saying hello to them.

Aside from friendliness, the culture here will stick with me.  Everyone here treats others with so much respect, which you do not find most places.  Students ask permission to speak, enter the classroom, and are always welcoming me to join in on what they are doing.  I know this respect will stay with me forever.  I hope to continue this in my future classrooms by not only giving my students respect, but asking for it in return.  In providing a mutual relationship with my students I know they will work hard and in turn do well.  I can not wait to take all that I learned here back to America, but as I prepare myself to leave I can’t help but feel pain in my heart that I may never see or talk to these people again.  All I can hope is that these relationships never fade and that one day we either reunite in Tanzania or America.

-Colleen

Weekend in Monduli

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On Saturday, we hit the road for another one of our weekend excursions. We hopped in the safari car and drove our way to the Monduli mountain range. We arrived at our camping spot for the night, dropped our tents and sleeping bags off, and headed out for our first hike. The drivers forewarned us to bring lots and lots of water, so after we filled our water bottles up we set out for our hike. Along our hike, we saw tons of Maasai children who wanted nothing more than to hold you hand and join our hike. We also ran into one kind Maasai family who invited us up into her village and even showed us around her small hut. It was crazy to see that they were used to living in the pitch black with only a dirt floor for a kitchen and a bedroom. It made me think of all the things I take for granted at home and I realized how truly blessed I am. After showing us around her hut, we were supposed to continue along with our hike, but Lauren was feeling very sick. I went over to help her and it was during this time that I started to feel a little queasy myself, probably from dehydration. So our tour guide called one of our safari drivers, Maluta to pick us up. Before we could hop into the car, however, we had to make one last trek up a tall hill to meet up with our ride. Along the way, we picked up tons of Maasai women and children who were all trying to help Lauren make it to her final destination. They were trying to rub her stomach (something that they must do to each other when they feel sick) and they were putting their arms around her for support to help her walk up the hill. When we finally made it to the car, one of the Maasai women jumped in and immediately started praying for Lauren in her native tongue, while holding her hand over her stomach. It was so amazing to see how much these women cared for Lauren, even though she had just met her five minutes before. The Maasai woman and us drove back to our camp ground and Lauren and I immediately hit our tent to take a quick nap to try and make us feel better. When I woke up, I was feeling great, but I couldn’t say the same for Lauren.
After the nap, I headed to the real Maasai market with the rest of the girls, which was so authentic and amazing. They were trading things that were needed in the villages and the homes ranging from tire shoes to spices and oils. While there was nothing I wanted to purchase for myself, it was so awesome to people watch and understand how the Maasai tribe goes about getting different goods. The only negative part about the trip was the children trying to steal all of our stuff. They would approach us and without even a please would say, “Give me money!” This is not what I was used to so I just said no and continued to walk quickly away. All in all, the market was an incredible experience and it taught me a lot about how the Maasai tribe lives.
After the market, we headed back to camp and Lauren and Courtney decided to go back to the Outpost because they were both to sick to stay the night. That night we ate dinner and hung around the campfire and then went to sleep. When we woke up bright and early in the morning we got ready for our 4 hour hike up Monduli mountain. While it was so challenging to make myself get up the steep hills, I made it to the top! It was one of my favorite accomplishments since being here. While the view from the top was ruined by the foggy sky, it was still so incredible to know that I was on the top of the mountain. When we hiked back down it was much more relaxing and it was a huge bonding time for me and all of the girls because we could finally chat and not have to save all our breath for our hike up the mountain. When we got back down, we piled back into our safari cars and drove back for a quick lunch at our campsite.
After this, we drove to a place called Shanga Shangaa, a place run by mostly deaf people who made beautiful things out of blown glass. Everything was so unique and remarkable and it was made right in front of you. We learned about what each station does ranging from necklace and ornament making to blowing glass vases and glass beads. It was so cool to see all of the work in action and then we even had the opportunity to stop in the gift shop and buy some things of our own. After our trip to Shanga Shangaa, we drove back home to the Outpost and unloaded our stuff for one last time. It’s so crazy to think that we only have one more week left here in Arusha and we are all determined to make it our best one yet!
-Chelsea I.

My time in Tanz…

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My time in Tanzania has taught me so many things about life, teaching, and culture. I am so grateful that I was able to have this experience and I know I will cherish every moment I have spent here for the rest of my life. To start, I think the experiences I have gained from interacting with my students and teaching them have left the biggest impression on me. I have grown to love each and every student and I have learned so much about each of their personalities and talents. This has been the most rewarding part of my trip to come into a classroom in a foreign country and still be able to create connections with the students in the class. I will also take the many lessons I have learned from teaching and implementing behavior management strategies with me. This being the first time I have been able to completely take over a class and lesson plans, I have learned so much from trial and error and I already feel much more prepared for my student teaching.

Some other things that I have made lasting impressions on me have been the social interactions I have gotten to experience while living here in. I absolutely love how friendly everyone is here just when passing on the street. I found it to be so refreshing to be greeted by complete strangers here; it is definitely a change of pace from America. I also have learned so much from the teachers I have had conversations with.

Lastly, learning about and experiencing life in another person’s shoes has taught me so much about other cultures and their way of life here in Tanzania. It truly has been an eye opening experience that I will never forget. I especially enjoyed learning about harvesting coffee beans and the local medicine plants that are used for treatment in some of the tribes. When returning home I will definitely not take some of my everyday routines such as instant coffee and manufactured medicines for granted. Overall, I believe this experience has changed me forever and has helped me grow professionally and personally.