Mmmmm… Well I still haven’t learned to drive a stick, but that’s pretty much all I haven’t learned. Not kidding. I’ve learned so much this trip… Here’s a short list of some of the things in the forefront of my mind.
For starters… a dollar is worth 1600 Tanzania Shillings.
Hapana asante mean “no thank you.”
Africa is not just a whole bunch of huts.
Dogs aren’t pets.
Don’t drink the water.
People hanging out of the windows of a daladala are not insane, they’re just looking for riders.
Squattie potties aren’t as bad as I thought.
Neither is peeing outside.
Kids will be kids no matter what country you’re in.
Congas can be used in at least 8 different ways.
Contrary to what I originally thought, there are actually rules for driving here.
Speed bumps eliminate the need for cops on the roads (genius).
Teaching is really, really hard.
Being organized will add years to your life.
The more time you put into your lesson, the better it is, every time. Hands down, no questions asked.
Don’t lend somebody a pen if you ever want to see it again.
Seating charts save lives.
Knowing the names of the students gets you crazy awesome brownie points.
Cellphones at school = one month suspension.
Pole means “sorry”
A little Swahili will go a long way.
The brown spots on teeth are from too much fluoride.
Even if you were abandoned as a baby, you still can find reasons to smile.
Giving is better than receiving all day long.
Bringing people together to do good is pretty much the greatest.
People are awesome. Every single one. Even the boy who falls asleep in my classes.
Stickers are gold.
Telling a student you’re proud of them can change their behavior in a second.
Physics can be fun (whaaat?!).
Ngorogoro is a blown up volcano.
Some days just suck, but God is still good.
Twiga means giraffe.
I can sleep anywhere.
Nothing ever goes according to plan, but what usually ends up happening is something way cooler.
Dealing with immigration is super fun (jk).
Sometimes you just have to look at a squashed spider under a microscope to get boys pumped about science.
Just go for it. What’s the worst that could happen?
Remembering to take malarone every day is close to impossible.
A hug and a smile are universal.
Tanzanians talk extremely quietly.
If you don’t embrace what you’re given in life, you can become a really miserable person.
Landmarks, not street names, are how you tell a driver where to go.
Sometimes there is no right answer.
Teaching is by far the best career in the world.
And finally, don’t pay more than 1000 shillings for a bracelet.
I’m sure there are a million other things I learned so far, this experience has pretty much blown my mind. I wish I could stay longer, I wish I could learn more from here. I still have a couple days so we’ll see what happens! For some reason I feel like I’ll be back… Especially to see the orphans and Jehoshaphat again. As the Tanzanians say, “if God wills it!” I will be.