Getting ready for Tanzania!

Words cannot express the thoughts and emotions I have running through my head when I think about this much anticipated journey abroad.  Back in December I had decided to apply after seeing a friend from high schools picture’s on facebook.  I have fallen in love with teaching and volunteering in my 4 years of being a Mizzou Tiger and I knew I wanted to do something so much bigger than I could here in Columbia.  When I applied I had no idea that this mere dream would so quickly become a reality that will take flight here in just 12 short days.  I have never been out of the country so I am so humbled that my first endeavor will be in Tanzania where I have heard such wonderful things!

I am most looking forward to the time we will spend in the classroom with the students and the time that we will spend at the orphanage.  I know it is a classic line to say that “I love working with children” but there is nothing I can say that is more honest.  Children bring me such joy and I have a passion for being around them.  Each day I look forward to the time I will be able to spend around my students and the children I work with.  Children give adults the opportunity to put all of our problems aside and to focus on something so much greater than ourselves.  I am looking forward to working with students from a culture I have never been around and learning from them! Additionally I am an animal/bug/nature lover and I cannot express how excited I am to partake in the safaris and being surrounded by the Tanzania atmosphere.  Please do not be alarmed if I try to pick up every bug or critter we encounter (of course only the ones that are safe!).  If anyone finds a bug in their room I will be there in a heart beat to make sure it is taken outside and let go safely!

The thing I am most nervous about is being only 1 of 2 Tigers that will be on this journey. I am confident that the GVSU students will be so open and inviting to both Lexie and myself but it is a little nerve racking knowing I will soon be in AFRICA with a group of what will start out as, as strangers! I am looking forward to building relationships with the students and staff from GVSU! I just wish there were ways to get to know everyone before the plane rides (we’ll have plenty of time on the plane though:))!

As I begin to pack I have no idea where to begin.  I have gone through the list and have been buying school supplies, fun things for the students, my clothes to teach in, safari clothes, etc. but I still don’t feel prepared! I am the kind of person that will forget the most obvious thing to bring so I plan on duck taping my passport to my forehead in the next week.  As the days go by, my to-do list continues to grow! I am working hard to get all assignments and exams finished before I leave since I will be missing the last two weeks of the semester! Though I feel stressed out at this time, I know all of the stress I am feeling will disappear when I step aboard the plane to take off.

One thing I’d love to reflect on here quickly is the OUTPOURING of support I have had to go on this trip.  When I applied and this all ways up in there air, I saw the expense report and my heart dropped to the floor.  I never thought this would have been possible to financially possible for me to do however with the help of such loving family and friends this dream is becoming a reality!  I have so many thank you cards to write and gifts to buy for the people that have so selflessly donated to this journey that will change my life for the better.

As the days continue to count day I just hope I am able to get everything accomplish and I am well prepared for the journey I am about to take on.  While I have no idea what is in store for me, I know that it is so much more than my wildest dreams can dream up! Bring on Tanzania and all it has to offer!

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