I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. Before we got to Tanzania I had a dream that we were on the plane ride back home and I had some how slept through the whole trip, it was already over and I didn’t remember a single thing. Although I have a million memories from my time spent in Tanzania I truly cannot believe it’s over. How on earth has a month already flown by? It feels like just yesterday we were walking through the town for our first time to go exchange money. I was asked to write a post about the lasting impressions I will have from my time here. I honestly have no idea where to begin. This trip has been a life time of incredible experiences and so many incredible blessings all wrapped up into a month! I have been in a constant state of sensory overload along with a constant mix of emotions. I will try to narrow it down to just a few of the over arching lasting impressions I will keep with me.
Although there is struggle everywhere in the world, we have things extremely easy in the US compared to others. I am sure if I were a local of Tanzania I would see many things differently but there are so many things that we constantly take for granted and never appreciate in the US. The people in this country are so genuine, welcoming and full of joy that it goes to show, you don’t need the best of the best to be happy. Back home we are so caught up in having the latest technology and the newest and coolest things that we lose sight of what is truly meaningful. The people in Tanzania deal with things that we as Americans would find extremely difficult to live with everyday. Having to work hard is something I feel Americans are losing sight of and here in Tanzania, hard work is the only thing that will get you anywhere. In Tanzania the students have to work double time in school to not only learn their content but to try to understand the language it is being spoken in. The fact that our national language is the medium used for their local schools goes to show how other countries value the english language. The Tanzanians think that learning english is a way to show your intelligence, social status, etc. Back home we learn in our national language and students still struggle to just learn the content. The pressure the students have in the school system is so crazy to think about. Back home so many students do not realize the value of their education and do not take it very seriously at a young age. Here in Tanzania the students say the phrase, “Education for a better life” at least 5 times a day. The students are taught at such a young age that their education is going to be essential for them to be successful. The students are constantly having to take examinations that will determine if they can continue with their education or if they are forced to quit. In addition to the school situation, our job market (no matter how poor it may seem in these last 5 years) provides so many more opportunities for people to work for a living. Here in TZ a majority of the people must walk the streets everyday trying to sell things to others in order to make any money. There are not nearly as many job opportunities to seek out as their are in the US. Although there are many similarities to the US and TZ the life we live in the US is so much easier. Back home I would consider my car a piece of junk, however here in Tanzania having any sort of car is incredible. Anything that moves and gets you from one place to another is a luxury to own. Many people walk many miles to get to their jobs, school, to go to the market, etc. While I on the other hand get into my car, complete with air conditioning/heat, and listen to music as I drive anywhere I want to. Knowing that I will always have hot, clean water, electricity, a warm place to sleep, a well balanced meal on my table are all things that I take for granted everyday. The fact that I do not have to worry about contracting Malaria or other diseases on a daily basis just shows me how lucky we have it back home. It’s so crazy to think that we are not responsible for choosing what family we are born into or what kind of situation our family is in. I am so blessed to have been born into the family I have and that is something I take for granted everyday. After being apart of this life for just a month I have had my eyes open to so many different things that we as Americans take for granted every single day. On top of that, so many Americans walk around unhappy and wanting more for their lives. Always wanting to be better or make more money or have the newest things, these are such silly things we focus on everyday instead of realizing the true value of our lives. The people in Tanzania are always saying Hamna Shida, this means “no worries”. In a country with so much poverty and a lack of resources, the people are so happy, caring, trusting, reliable, and just overall wonderful it makes me wonder why all Americans are not walking around with this same positive outlook and personalities. I know that these are all generalizations but they are conclusions that I have come to through out my time here.
Other short and sweet lasting impressions:
There is beauty everywhere you look, you just have to look for it. While we can get so caught up in complaining about the poor, the weak, the ugly, the dirty, we need to learn to look past these things and find the real beauty in a situation. There is always good.
God is so good. In any situation it is so important to stop and look for a greater meaning. While things may be tough there are always lessons to learn. There is always something God has planned for you. It is up to you and your attitude to find it.
The children of Tanzania love having teachers that they can build relationships with. I never thought I would be able to build such awesome relationships with students in just a month. I had so many of my students reach out to me and tell me very personal things and come to me for support because of our close relationship. When you value a students as a person, you really get to see their true self.
Walking the streets of Tanzania on the first day was nothing like walking the streets on the last day. Tanzania can quickly feel like home.