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.

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 greatful 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 greated 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 truely 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.

Taking Tanzania With Me

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My lasting impression of Kelly in Tanzania will be one of growth and adventure. My lasting impression of the Tanzanians with me here is one of hospitality and patience. There are so many memories and opportunities that I will remember, and together, they create an experience that is guaranteed to change me forever. I am excited to have new perspective on people, education and happiness. As an educator, I cannot wait to get my own classroom. This month has been my first experience teaching solo and I am now more sure than ever that I want to spend my life teaching students.

I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. I have a new confidence in my ability to relate to students and I am much more aware of how difficult teaching is. From the safari to the lesson planning and the hiking to the grading papers, I have learned so many life lessons. I like adventure (adventure comes in the form of hiking and camping but also teaching and controlling a classroom of first graders). I love to serve, whether through playing at an orphanage or donating school supplies. The funny thing about serving is that I seem to always gain more than I give. Another lesson I learned about myself is that I love to learn. My favorite type of learning is through traveling and experiencing the world.

Tanzanians welcome people into their country and lives with open arms. My students almost pulled my arms out of their sockets on many occasions because they were so excited to tug at my arm for attention. A fellow teacher at my host school made me late to class multiple class periods because he wanted to make sure that I was okay and having a good experience in Tanzania. Our safari drivers are so wonderful that I might cry when I say bye to them. No matter whom I met or what the experience was, I hardly ever felt unwelcome here in Tanzania. The people here have made my experience and now I want to share that kindness with people I come in contact with in the US. A kind smile can make a world of difference in a person’s day, and the smiles of the Tanzanians made the difference in my experience abroad.

 

– Kelly H.

The Tanzanian Experience

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have learned so much from living in Tanzanian for a month that I am not sure how to sum it all up or put it into words. While working in the schools I have learned different perspectives on teaching, but also have learned so much about their culture while immersing myself in the city for a month. We were busy, but time did allow for exploring and meeting people to ask questions and learn as much as we can about their lifestyles here.

In the schools, I thought it would be no big deal teaching and I wouldn’t struggle in the ways I had foreseen. I thought I would be able to come in and teach the methods I had learned about mathematical understanding. However, I was in for a surprise. It was a good surprise though because it has changed my perspective on teaching in America and other countries alike. The teaching style usually is developed by the culture of the society in the country you are teaching. So, as I started teaching, I learned their teaching style is what works for them and we were not here to change it. Our goal is to teach in a more meaningful and understanding way. Instead of strictly teaching definitions and algorithms I was able to explain and question the students more about concepts. It was hard to get my students to answer and participate at first and I learned the importance of including the students into word problems and data collection. They students became more engaged and had more fun. Not only did I learn about the teaching style, but how much respect the students have for their teachers. The students welcome you each morning into the class by saying, “Good morning teacher, how are you?” and end the lesson with “Thank you teacher for the good lesson.” Students walking around the school between classes or at break always say hi to you and welcome you with smiles and questions. It was something to get use to because I am not use to the students loving you, welcoming you each day, and appreciating you for learning their culture and educating them in their country. I have learned so much from the students at school about their education, personal lives, and ways of life. The students are teaching me how to appreciate the simple things in life. Their daily life is school, chores, homework, and then if time allows, watching tv or hanging out. However, most of the time they are working hard to become educated and help around the home. It is a struggle for some parents to provide finances for their children’s education. When I give my students stickers or a pencil it means the most because of the simplicity of a small gift. They do not need ipads, phones, computers, and all the materialistic items we have in America. The students here just appreciate the affection and love people have to offer. It isn’t about things, but about being happy with people you love. I have learned the simple life. 🙂

Lastly, I have learned a lot of things about the culture. I had a preconceived notion of what it was like to live in Tanzania. I thought there were hardly any roads, no cars, cell phones were rare along with tvs, and electricity. Yes, I have been living at the Outpost which has more amenities than most people, but most of these notions were not true. There are tons of cars around here, especially dala dala’s, which I have yet to experience. Even though most of the phones are small nokia phones that are not fancy like our iphones, but they do have a lot of people with cell phones. They may not be the best ones in the world, but they do the job for the people who use them. I have talked with many of my teachers and they have tv’s and electricity in their homes. So, people here are able to enjoy the entertainment we have in America, but not at the same level. I have learned from talking and watching people around town that Tanzanians love being social. They will welcome you with warm smiles and affection. No one has ever been rude to us and want to make sure we feel welcome. People are always outside helping neighbors or walking around and keeping busy. I definitely know that walking, walking, and more walking is involved living here. However, I am totally not opposed to that because walking is great for you. I seem to get parched quite a bit and water is not always readily available. Water is a scarce resource and is important to boil before drinking for us. Most of the Tanzanians are use to the water, but we have been boiling ours. Thus, I have learned how to use all types of bathrooms while living here. Most people have what the common person may call a squatty potty. I have become very accustomed to using them that I may not be use to using a regular one all the time back home. All these are so random and seem silly, but they are differences I have noticed. I could go on and on of all the things, but these are the most distinct misconceptions I have had.

Oh, I did forget one thing. The food here has been way different. Well, I shouldn’t say way different, but I think I should say more fresh. They use all fresh fruit, veggies, spices, and all other ingredients. I have never had such a good banana, mango, avocado, watermelon, and bread. The omelette’s we have each morning are the best too. The eggs are fresh brown eggs from chickens. I can’t believe how much I eat usually. I eat more than home because it is all so good to me. It is not processed or packed with fake sugar. I will definitely miss all the meals we have been cooked here.

These are my lasting impressions and I hope I can always remember these things as I have left. I will continuously remember other things I have learned and reminiscence about my experience here in Tanzania. Kwa Heri!
s

Monduli

•May 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The beginning of the weekend was great. We headed out of the Outpost around 8 am on Saturday morning, stopped for coffee and then drove about an hour to the camp. Once we arrived we met Jackson and Simon, our guides for the weekend. They took us on a 2 hour hike through the hills where we saw many  Maasai families and their way of life. I loved this hike because we got to see many children, and spend some time with them. We also got to see inside of some of the Maasai huts, which was really cool. Once we got back from the hike, we had about an hour bread before we headed down to the Maasai market. This was not like the markets we had been going to in Arusha. This was a real Maasai market, full of the people speaking the Maasai language. It was really cool to watch them interact with each other. We even saw a Maasai barbeque, which was a bunch of meat hanging from some roap and covered in flies. It was really gross, but still really cool to see. I bought some awesome shoes, which were made from tires. They are hard to explain, but if you see them you will understand. After the market, we headed back to the camp for the night for dinner and chill time. It was a great day.

The next morning we woke up at 6:30 for breakfast, and then headed out to hike Mt Monduli. It took 3-4 hours and it was tough at some points, but so worth it in the end. Simon was talking all about the culture, and teaching me many things. It was very cool to learn from a real Maasai man. I hope I can come back and visit him again to learn more.

After the hike, we went back for lunch before leaving. The lunch was delicious. I never thought I would try goat, but since they didn’t tell us it was goat until after I ate it I proved myself wrong. It was delicious. I want to eat it again before I leave.

Overall, the weekend was wonderful. It was a very relaxing weekend in nature, and I would love to do it again. Many of the girls were complaining about all of the hiking, but I thought it was a wonderful way to experience what the Maasai people do every day and just experience nature itself. I loved it!

 

-Kendra B

What a weekend…

•May 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I can’t say that it went smoothly, though. For the most part, everyone made it up the mountain and enjoyed their time in the Massai village. I, on the other hand, made it only 20 minutes into the hike before puking. I was anticipating that it would happen because I had felt fairly sick all morning but I had been feeling sick every morning for the past couple of weeks after taking my malaria medication. I thought this was just a typical morning, but after the car ride it only got worse. We were walking into one of the small boma huts of a Massai family and I had to run out to avoid making a mess in their home. The guide and one of the Massai women helped me up the hill to meet one of the safari drivers to take me back to the campsite. The woman slung my arm over her shoulder helping me the whole way and saying a prayer with her hand on my stomach. As the day progressed, I felt worse and eventually drove back to the Outpost Lodge with the driver and met our professor. I was extremely exhausted and fell right to sleep and continued to sleep for most of today. This evening I started feeling a bit better and hopefully will be back to normal by tomorrow or the next day. So, unfortunately, I have no amazing stories and wonderful experiences to share from the weekend but Zanzibar should bring many beautiful photos next weekend!

– Lauren C.

Monduli

•May 20, 2012 • 1 Comment

I woke up at 6:30 to pack up my room for the last time. We headed off to Monduli Cultural Center. I drove with Joseph because I wanted to save my last drive for my favorite driver Abdul. We got to the Cultural Center and left for a three hour hike. I am not a hiker, but really enjoyed the walk (except for sweating like a man). We got to walk inside a traditional Maasai hut and met a family. The house was unbearably hot and smoky. About an hour into our hike two girls got really sick and had to be picked up by one of the safari drivers. As we continued on our walk, I saw the Maasai women gather around Lauren rub her stomach and pray over her. Abdul ended up taking her and Courtney (who was also sick) back to Arusha, so I was unable to drive back with him L. We continued on our walk for two hours. It was beautiful. We were able to see the Great Rift Valley. Once we got back, we had lunch…buttery noodles! We were all pretty excited about that.

After lunch, we played soccer with some of the kids and hung around until Simon (our Maasai stud tour guide) took us to the Maasai market. Along the way, Morgan asked Simon about the circular burn marks on many Maasai faces. He said they burn off skin diseases, but the burn patterns almost look like ritual markings. We are going to ask our Swahili teacher. Simon also told us about Maasai weddings because we passed a bride. She wore a white beaded collar. Men have to have 15 cows in order to marry a woman (Simon only has 2).

The market was very different than the Maasai market in Arusha. It had more products that people needed like rice, shoes, and food rather than jewelry and beaded work. Many children circled around us and tried to take our money. Some people even tried to take our jewelry off our hands. We got to see a Maasai bbq. It was sick. There were flies on every piece of meat. I also got to see goat heads.

After the market, we had dinner. I accidently ate goat. It was so chewy and gross. Then, we had a camp fire and one driver gave us all nick names. Some of our nick names were Teacher, mine was Momma, Sarah Palin, Monica Lewinsky, etc. We had to use the squatty potty and get into bed because it started raining. It wouldn’t be camping in Africa if there wasn’t rain. Sarah and I shared a tent again. We managed to let every insect in the area in our tent. We woke up around midnight freezing. Shortly after, we awoke again to a dog barking like crazy next to our tent. We slept restlessly until 6 when we woke up for our breakfast and our hike up the mountain. At breakfast we had delicious biscuits (they tasted like cookies) and PEANUT BUTTER TOAST!

We then started off on our four to five hour hike up the mountain. It was pretty chilly. After about an hour and a half of hiking up my roommate tripped over a root and fell to her knees. She popped her knee out of place. She needs surgery to repair the muscle around it, so she was in a lot of pain.  We then had to climb steep rocks and her pain got worse. Then, we came a super steep incline. She needed to stop and started crying. We let the group go ahead and Paige and I stayed back. We made it up the steep hill with her crying the whole time, so we decided to stop and rest. Her pain got worse, so we started the slow walk back to the car. It was actually kind of nice stopping because clouds surrounded the mountain where we were. It was impossible to see the huts we passed two minutes earlier. On the way back, we got to talk with some of the Maasai children and took pictures.

We had to walk super slowly on our way back. We ended up getting a little lost and made it back to the trucks at exactly the same time as the group that made it all the way up the mountain. We went back to the Cultural for lunch and packed up for the drive to Arusha. Along the way, we stopped at Shanga Shanga. It is a glass art center that employs deaf and physically impaired people in the community. We got to watch jewelry be made as well as glass being blown. I got a cool present for my Mom and headed back to the Outpost. We were all so excited to shower. We were covered in mud and our shoes were wet from the hike.  I can’t wait for school tomorrow! I am bringing all my students gum.

The trip was great and disappointing. I was glad I got to spend so much time with the girls in my group. On the other hand, I was really looking forward to learning about the Maasai culture, but I didn’t feel like I got to learn as much as I expected.