What I Have Learned from Tanzania

This trip has been incredible. I have learned so much from this experience thus far and continue to learn more every day! It is completely different than America in so many ways. It is crazy how just a few weeks have impacted my life.

The people here are incredible. Every person you pass says Jambo! (Hello). I have learned that it is hard to not have a smile when walking to school or into town because everyone is so friendly! However, I have also learned that when walking into town to be prepared to be swarmed by sales men. They do not take no for an answer when they are trying to sell you something.

The students are just as incredible here as the people. They are so appreciative of what we do as teachers and are dedicated to their schoolwork. It is such an inspiration to see these kids work with what they have and all that is, is just a pencil and a notebook. Their education is their responsibility and no one else’s, which I feel students in America need to learn. Lastly, they are so respectful. Every morning my students stand to greet me when I walk into the classroom. During class they call me madam and do not speak when I am teaching a lesson. They thirst for the education they are being given. Everything I say the students are listening closely to take in all of the information that they can.

From teaching here I have learned that the good days always out weigh the bad. There has been days where the lesson I had planned does not go the way I had wanted it to go. However, those bad days have helped me realize that not every day is going to go perfect in the world of teaching. You cannot predict your student’s behavior or how your students will react to the lesson; plans will always change.

I am so grateful. I have learned that I am so incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to get a secondary education, to continue my education at the university level and be able to come on this trip. The students here have made me realize how fortunate I really am. They do not have as many resources as I have been given in America.

Lastly, I have learned that giving and showing that you care is way more fun than receiving gifts. Watching the children at the orphanage get their backpacks was very moving. It was amazing seeing how getting a backpack and school supplies meant so much to them. It was truly humbling. As goes for when I gave my students pens and pencils in class. I don’t think they ever stopped smiling because of how happy they were. However, the most humbling moment I have experienced so far on the trip was meeting Rosey. As I was walking through town today there was an older lady lying on the side of the road. I could tell she was blind and had no movement in her legs. She could barely sit up. She was wearing very worn out clothes, she had a cup in her hand that she was tapping on the ground and she was mumbling to herself. I felt too bad to just walk by and ignore her like everyone else. After passing her I went back and crouched down right in front of her. I could tell she could not see me so I held her hand and said, “Hello, my name is Emily. What is your name?” Immediately she had the biggest smile on her face and said, “Hello, my name is Rosey.” She then told me it was a beautiful day. I placed some money in her hand and said, “yes it is a beautiful day today.” I could not hold back the tears when she thanked me. I was able to squeak out, “God bless you”, and she responded with, “God is good”. This was probably one of the most impacting moments on this trip so far. It is amazing how we are all stuck in our own little world worrying about what we may wear tomorrow or how many friends on Facebook “like” our statuses. It is hard to think that some people live off nothing. Seeing this first hand has impacted my life. There has been so much to learn from Tanzania and the people here.

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