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.

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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!
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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.

 

Monduli Village

•May 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This weekend was an interesting one for myself. I started the hike in Monduli, but didn’t end up finishing it with the group to help Lauren back to camp. The poor girl was miserably sick (no exaggeration). I was not feeling the best myself, so I was more than happy to help her back to camp. It was powerful though because we were by some of the Maasai boma’s and the women and children helped walked Lauren to the road. It was powerful to see all their support and willingness to care so much for her. Once we made it to the car, the woman prayed over Lauren before we drove off. Again, this was a powerful moment for me because it is such a difference in culture. However, I love learning about their ways of life and they truly believe in all their prayers and natural remedies, which is really intriguing to me. I am all about natural remedies and living from the Earth. Lauren was a real trooper through the whole process and despite her suffering, I did see how truly genuine the Maasai are to anyone even if you are not apart of their culture.

I was able to go to the Maasai market with the group before leaving for the outpost. I really enjoyed it because this is how they buy and sell items. They all come together to buy goods, clothes, food, etc, in order to provide for their families. It isn’t the typical shopping market we were all use to seeing, but I think that is good. This was a more authentic experience because this is how they buy goods and items for their families. It was a bit unwelcoming because the kids were trying to steal our things and the Maasai were just staring at us. Besides that aspect, this is their way and life and it was interesting to watch what people were buying and how they interacted.

 

-Courtney Copus