Lasting impressions

School fees are very important to schools in Tanzania. On our last day of school they were taking their monthly exams. These exams are taken very seriously and are all day long. I was in charge of watching grade 7 math for the first two hours. It started at 8:30 and went until 10:30. At 8:30, when the exams were supposed to begin, there were less than 10 students in the class. It did not take until almost 9 until most of the students came to the exam after paying their fees. One girl did not come to class until after 9:30.

I will take this and use it the rest of my life, just showing the students you care goes a long ways. The teachers at assumption are very nice and welcoming, but they do not show any of the students the time of day. Especially outside of the classroom. I believe that ever since we started going to Assumption, the students have had a better attitude about coming to school and enjoy themselves. It is amazing how gradually overtime the students kept responding to us better and better. Just getting to know them and having them becoming comfortable around us creates a positive learning environment. At the beginning of our trip, the students were afraid to answer a question incorrectly on the board. I can see why, while observing Tanzanian teachers, I saw them laugh at students when they completed a problem incorrect. I would be afraid to come to the board if there was a chance I would be laughed at. About half way through our trip, students became comfortable coming to the board because they felt a stress free environment.

I am really overjoyed that I choose the profession of teaching. One lasting impression is, if my students in my future classroom are anything like my Assumption students, I will have the best job in the world. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a child understand a concept or just making a difference in a child’s life. I know we have made a difference, especially when the students are asking all of us GVSU students to please stay for another month.

When I now think about Africa or more specifically Tanzania, I think of very smart, determined, and genuinely kind people. I do not just think of elephants, lions, giraffes, and village people living in huts. My whole view has changed. I now think of children who want to be doctors, lawyers, and accountants. I do not just think of children who will spend their whole life living off of the land. There are children that will do this, but not all children will grow up with that lifestyle. I will think about how content and happy so many people are with so little material possessions. It just shows that wealth is not always based off of how much money you own.

I would never have guessed how beautiful Tanzania is with all of the mountains and jungles. I will think of the amazing landscape and not only the endless plains of the Serengeti. Not only will I miss Tanzania, the students, the teachers, and the safari drivers, I will also miss all of the people on this trip. I believe that everyone has gotten along so well for living together for a month. Everyone has been so accepting of everyone else, and we all go out of our way to make sure everyone is included.

Ending on a not so serious note, I will never forget traveler’s diarrhea or how everyone was so comfortable talking about it. I will not forget how 30 people squeeze into a van made for 7 or 8 people. I will not forget the lunches at school that made my stomach turn just by staring at it. Most important, I will always remember the smiles that were always so big on the students faces.



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Lasting Impressions

The last four weeks in Tanzania has flown by faster than I expected. In the little time we have spent in Tanzania I have learned so much about the culture, education, and everyday life in a developing country. These new findings will only benefit me as I continue my education in the secondary mathematics field.

We were always told beforehand that you might have to teach a class and have absolutely no lesson plans for. It was very tough to prepare for something like this. As I gained more experience I have found that it does get easier. The first couple times going into a new math classroom or other subjects I was nervous because I did not know at all what I was getting myself into. I have now gained much more confidence with the experience I have gained here that I can walk into a classroom and teach something to the students. You have to think quickly on your feet, which I have gotten so much better at compared to when I first came here. I have always relied heavily on a structured plan for what I was going to teach for the day. I now realize that I do not need as much of a structured plan to have an effective lesson. These changes to the prepared lesson known as instructional decisions have become very prevalent in my lessons. I think this is a good thing because you are adjusting to the students. No class is alike so a lesson plan for one class may have to be done a different way for another class. I have gained a lot of experience making these quick changes to the lesson to benefit my students which has allowed me to improve my teaching abilities.

There are so many citizens of Tanzania that are very nice and love to talk to foreigners. They try to sell something a lot of the times, but will have a conversation doing it. They attempt to teach some Swahili to the foreigners and love when people attempt to speak Swahili. They laugh and try to correct them, but it is not personal. They just want to teach their language, sell something, and are interested in learning more about the country the foreigners come from. I thought it was amazing when we played football against the safari drivers that the field was lined with spectators. Many people of Tanzania love to play football and love watching foreigners take on citizens of Tanzania. I am more of an outdoors kind of person and loved seeing so many people outside every single day, even when it was pouring down raining. I do not understand when it is a beautiful day in America and see so many people stay inside. Seeing all these people working outside or enjoying the day outside was refreshing to me that I cannot say that is true with America.

I have come to appreciate the American educational system and the teachers even more since coming here. Of course the system and the teachers are not perfect, but they are the best we have. This is especially true for the educational system. Debates have gone on for years about the problems of the educational system, but no resolutions have been made. It is the best we have, and for the most part has been effective. Many teachers in Tanzania do not have motivation to go to class, skip class often, leave class after five minutes, or just don’t show up for school at all. This frustrates me more than anything because when a teacher is not motivated to be at school, they just pass along that message to the students and the students then are unmotivated at school. I was not expecting Tanzania education to not have substitute teachers in the event that a teacher does not come to school. If a teacher does not show up to school, the students do not have class and are allowed to play around in their classroom. I think this is unacceptable, but I have learned that schools are tight on money so any expense, like paying for substitute teachers may stretch their budget too much. Also, America has so much more resources at our disposal compared to a Tanzanian classroom. Students in Tanzanian schools are lucky to have a library to use. In America we take that for granted and if there is a school without a library, it is a big deal and people raise money to put a library in for the students.

I have also come to appreciate America even more. Electricity is rarely knocked out which is not the case in Tanzania. We have so many resources in the classroom and in everyday life that we just take for granted. This trip has opened my eyes to how good we have it back home.

The students in Tanzania are just like the students in America. There are not many differences between the two. Of course the majority of the native backgrounds are not the same, but this is only a small difference. They just want to learn and do not care who teaches. They have come to really appreciate the American teachers that have come on this trip since we do our best to transmit information to them that easiest way possible since there is somewhat of a language barrier between us. Kids are kids and they want to have fun and hang out with their friends in schools. There exist the same social classes in the schools for both countries. However in both countries, the students know the real reason for going to school and that is to learn. These were evident in both American and Tanzanian classrooms.

Tanzania is a beautiful country that I would love to visit one day again. There are things here that can only be appreciated only if you visit this country. The safaris, national parks, and geography are only the beginning to this place. However, as far as living permanently, Tanzania is not the right place for me. I have learned I am more of an independent and structured person than I thought I was before leaving for this trip. I have come to appreciate America and the luxuries we have so much more since visiting here. Having said that, I would love to teach in Tanzania for a month again like what we just did, and is definitely on my bucket list to come back and visit in the near future.

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Lasting Impressions

As I sit here contemplating the experiences I have had and the lessons I have learned while in Tanzania, I find myself in the same tough situation as my last blog post, What I Have Learned so Far. It is still hard to really grasp all that this trip has given me while I am still here and it hasn’t yet sunken in that I have already taught my last lesson at Arusha Primary School (holding back a tear at that thought). Nonetheless, I know without a doubt that I have become a better person and a better educator through this experience. Living in a community composed of a culture different than mine own has forced me to conform to their culture, rather than accommodating for a culture integrated into my own. This has immediately changed my perspective on other cultures. Coming from a background with very little diverse cultural experiences, I have learned to appreciate, value, and want to learn more about other cultures.
This completely unique experience has given me tools and strategies to better teach ELL students, as well as diverse students. I have learned how to teach with more explicit language and also what lesson planning for a long period looks like and what it entails. In addition, learning to work with faculty and colleagues of a different schedule, work ethic, and views on education has also been a great learning experience which I can take with me to any position I acquire in the United States.
One particular thing I have learned about myself trough this experience teaching is that I tend to go on tangents during my lesson. While I teach, I think of more and more tools I want to give my students and what to teach them. I need to remember that I am not their only teacher and that they will learn other tools on their own time. I must stick to my lesson and the tools which apply to that.
I have also learned so much about Africa in General. I have seen the city, village, and country. I have seen the people, markets, and businesses. I have interacted with people in different situations and it has all given me a fresh perspective on it. The land, it’s people, and everything else is so beautiful. The people live a simple life that I wish we could learn from in the states. I have learned to love this country and everything in it. After being in a land halfway around the world (close enough), I feel as if I have seen every other place in between. I am so extremely grateful for this experience and all I have gained because of it. I am not ready to leave yet. Two more weeks would be perfect. This whole experience, and especially my sweet students, will always hold a special place in my heart. If I am ever fortunate enough to return, until next time, kwa heri (goodbye).

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Lasting Impressions

It’s hard to imagine how much one can change just from going out of the country for a month but this trip has definitely changed me in so many ways! I have fallen in love with the country, gained countless new friends, and learned so much about myself and how I can improve my own teaching for the better. Over the course of this month, the teachers, students, and other residents of Arusha have helped change me for the better. Here are just a couple of the lasting impressions I will take from this trip:

1)      The kindness of the Tanzanian people is beyond compare! From the first walking tour through the city and throughout the entire duration of the trip, we encountered the most joyful people you could ever run into. When most people would refuse to even talk to me after telling them “no, I don’t want to buy your painting” for the 1,000th time, the street vendors still came up to me each time I walked into town and greeted me with a smile and asked me how my day was going. When it was pouring down rain on our walks to school and most Americans would have a grumpy scowl on their face, we encountered countless people walking down the street with smiles on their faces and greeting us with a friendly “Jambo!” Or when students would sit through another one of my seemingly-boring lessons and still say to me after the lesson, “please don’t leave us, we want you to keep teaching us because you are so cool!”. Even through the tough situations that many of these people face every single day, they are still able to put a smile on and give everyone else the kindness they deserve. The kindness here is part of the reason I have fallen in love with this country!

2)      Tanzanian students value school over almost everything else! After teacher assisting this semester, I found myself asking why I would want to put so much effort into teaching students who don’t even value their own education. Coming to Tanzania, I had a newfound hope that the students here would be different than those American students who just go through the motions in school because they are “forced” to be in school. Well, I am happy to report that I have not been disappointed here! Most students would freak out by having a new teacher who doesn’t speak the same language as them come in and teach for a month. Not these students! From the moment we walked into our schools, the students were willing and excited to learn from us. Unlike (most) schools in America, secondary schools in Tanzania are not free to attend. Students here value their education more because there are paying for it and they know that it will benefit them in their future careers. Students here are hardcore when it comes to school. They sit in the same classroom for eight hours a day, sometimes with a teacher and, more times than not, without a teacher, and work their butts off the whole time! If a teacher is teaching them, the students are copiously taking detailed notes and going through practice problems. If there isn’t a teacher in the room, the students either sit at their desks and study or one of the students leads a lesson. There is no wasted time in a Tanzanian secondary school!

3)      It’s so important to make personal connections with students! Teachers in Tanzania don’t value teaching as much as most American teachers do. They show up to school on the days they teach (or should be teaching), go into the classroom and teach (usually from the book), and then sit in the teacher’s lounge when they are done teaching. Not once during this trip have I seen a teacher interacting with their students. As a result, students only seem to respect their teachers because they are told to do so, not because they want to. Not doing that would result in them getting hit (corporal punishment is used frequently in Tanzanian schools as a disciplinary measure). When we stepped into the schools, it was totally different for the kids. We took the time to get to know our students on a personal level. We began our first lesson by asking students questions about their lives and inviting them to ask us questions. We began each lesson by asking the students how they were doing and really getting to know them. We spent our break times hanging out with the kids instead of the normal teachers who would just sit in the lounge. The stark difference between how the students acted around their normal teachers (i.e., quiet, fearful, and not willing to answer questions in class) and how they acted around us (i.e., talkative, happy, and engaged in the lessons) was amazing. It’s crazy how simply getting to know these students and interacting with them daily had such an impact on how well we taught and how well they learned.

4)      Even through the toughest of situations, I still want to be a teacher! Coming into a country where students are not 100% proficient in speaking English was a concern of mine leading up to coming to Tanzania. I figured I would struggle to teach in a classroom full of students who might not understand me. Throughout my time at Sekei Secondary and Prime Secondary, I encountered a lot of struggles with the language barrier. Students would ask me questions and I would have no idea what they were asking me. Even after a couple of repetitions, I still couldn’t understand. I felt helpless because I didn’t know how to help the student because I couldn’t understand and I also felt sorry for those students because I couldn’t help them. Since it wasn’t possible to learn Swahili overnight, I had to adapt my own teaching in order to accommodate for these students. I started speaking slower and emphasizing confusing words to make sure all students understood. I used visuals such as pictures, diagrams, and cut outs to help all my students understand (even if it wasn’t through verbal explanation). There were also times when, even after explaining the material five times, the students still didn’t understand. I had to figure out a way to make sure these students understood. There were yet other times where I had to improvise because I lacked the proper materials and tools to carry out a lesson how I had hoped. The conditions that we taught in over here were not ideal, but I made the most of them. Some of the problems I faced here would cause a lot of teachers to just give up, but I am now more confident than ever that teaching is definitely the career for me!

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A great weekend with great company

This weekend was a busy and exhausting one. It never seemed like we were doing that much at the time we were doing it but when you look back we did a whole lot. We were only gone from 8 am on Saturday to 6 pm Sunday but we packed so much in it felt way longer.

We started our Saturday morning with a drive to Arusha National Park where we met with guides and did a walking safari. This was a very cool experience and being on foot makes every encounter that much more exciting and nerve-racking. We saw multiple giraffes extremely close to us right away. Then, we continued walking and saw buffalo, which we learned are extremely dangerous. They kill three park rangers a year. They were standing right in our path so our ranger, gun over shoulder, was throwing sticks at them from a distance to scare them off. We also saw baboons, hornbills, and Columbus monkeys, which are beautiful animals.

After that we drove a bit more and saw more giraffes and water barks. I had never heard of these animals but they are very different and unique looking, I liked them. We stopped and ate lunch at the top of a hill overlooking a lake, it was beautiful just like everything else in Africa.

Next, we continued on to Mama Anna’s. Mama Anna is part of Meru tribe and we got the amazing opportunity to stay the night in her yard and see some of the things she does and makes on her property. The ride to Mama Anna’s was nuts. The road was up hill and treacherous but our driver, Maluta, got us there safely. The six of us in my vehicle were cracking up and trying to keep from peeing our pants or losing our lunch from the extreme laughter. It was that type of laugh that happens when something is funny but also really scary. We were holding on, literally, for our lives. At one point I grabbed Emily P’s hand because I was terrified since we were slipping sideways going uphill with one set of tires in a trench. I thought for sure we were going to roll over. Then we happened upon a random gate on the side of the road and drove right in. Mama Anna is the kindest sweetest person anyone could imagine. Her and her family welcomed us with song and dance in the Meru language. Of course we all joined in and did our best to keep up.

That day we also learned how to make coffee from start to finish and participated in each step. We got to drink it when it was finished and it was so so delicious. We ate a meal cooked by Mama Anna and her family and retired to the campfire for the night. Earlier in the day our safari drivers and some of us helped pop about 15 small tents where we would stay the night. We just enjoyed each other’s company until we went to bed, which was early.

The next morning we were up before the sun on a mission to climb a hill to see the sun rise over Mt. Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the actual sunrise but the view of Kili was the best we’ve had so the climb, which was really hard, was worth it. The fact that 26 20ish year olds were up at 5 am and at the top of a large hill at 6 is quite impressive if you ask me. Today we also walked around the village, tasted fresh honey from a hive that we watched be opened, and tasted cheese made right there on the property. We ate lunch and said our goodbyes to Mama Anna and the family.
But the day wasn’t over yet. We had an hour or so break before we left to play soccer against our safari drivers and there friends. It was a true riot and amazing amounts of fun. We weren’t very good in comparison but we managed to score one goal fairly and one goal with all 24 of us on the field. So we’re called the game a tie 🙂

This weekend we had so much fun just spending more time with each other and I’ve realized how truly amazing this group of people is. I am sure as soon as I am home I will be missing everyone’s company. We’re one happy Wazungu family.

Hard to believe we only have 4 days left in Arusha. I’ll be doing everything possible to savor every single detail of it, especially my kiddos at school.

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What I have learned!

In the past 3 weeks I have probably learned more than any other 3 weeks of my life. I have also learned a more diverse range of information than at any other time. The knowledge I have acquired ranges from random facts related to everyday life in Tanzania, Tanzanian culture, Maasai culture, Tanzania’s educational system, that Tanzanians are the friendliest people, how to cross the road without dying, and how to bargain with street vendors so that I do not pay a mzungu price.  However, of everything I have learned the information that will stay with me the longest are those related to my experiences teaching and in the schools. I have learned a lot about education and about myself as a teacher. But one thing that I am confronted with every day is the importance of understanding content over memorization. All of the students I have met here are smart and capable of learning the information.  However, the style of teaching that is common here relies primarily on memorization. When students are asked to define a word or concept they read the information directly from their notes. While some of the students may understand what they are reading, it is clear that many do not. Students are taught directly out of textbooks which are written in English and many students are not familiar with important words in these books. As a result they copy down notes without fully understanding the content and they simply memorize what is written. The same phenomena is common in the U.S. Students are asked to memorize definitions, dates, and people. However, being able to produce this information for a test does not mean that they understand it. This experience has helped give me a better understanding of learning and I hope to apply what I learned in my future classrooms.           

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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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Things I’ve learned so far!

There are countless things I have learned since arriving in Tanzania and they cover a plethora of topics! I’ll begin by saying that I have never left the Unites States prior to this trip. Therefore, I had no idea of other people’s way of life. And to say the least, I am glad my first stop was Tanzania! This country has so much life that you could never be lonely, and the phrase “hamna shida” (no worries) is used daily. Regardless if Tanzanians follow us (the wmzungu) to sell their items, I do truly believe they want to learn about the American culture. And during this I am able to learn a lot about theirs.

But on a more personal note– here are a few things I’ve learned since arriving.
1. Don’t tell others about your fears…
2. The plus side to working with young children– no body odor.
3. When riding in a car, look out the side window. You do not want to know how other people are driving.
4. Walking down the hallway at school is not possible without being tackled by 30+ kids.
5. Cold Coca-Cola has never tasted so good.
6. How water heaters work.
7. After a while, you have no clue how many days in a row you’ve worn the same shirt.
8. Showering at night is doable.
9. My blood tastes so good, mosquitos will go through deet to get me.
10. It’s hard to watch TV through a mosquito net.
11. Mafia was a success.
12. Callie sleeps with a fan on every night.
13. Something in Africa is making my nails grow beautifully.
14. Stickers were the best thing to pack.
15. Bedroom windows should be closed at all times to avoid monkey intruders.
16. Goats also use public transportation (the dala dalas).
17. Mangos hitting a metal roof makes a very frightening sound.
18. (Most importantly) I made a discovery about my life. I am now more open to the idea of teaching upper elementary children.

And most recently…
19. When you give attention to dogs… they will follow you into a restaurant, and then home.
20. I am not good at tying a dog to a post.
21. I will not be arrested.

Tanzania is a truly amazing place! …But sometimes it can be difficult to explain because you often can’t compare it to things you’re familiar with. So, if you are having a difficult time making sense of some of my bullets.. that could be the reason. Or it’s because I didn’t explain it well enough… 😉
Oh! And some advice… reread number 1.
Thanks 🙂

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Lessons Learned

This is a pretty condensed list of the multitude of lessons I’ve learned here… I’m sure I forgot some. This has been a crazy, amazing, and wild ride, and while it is not over yet, we are beginning to experience the first “lasts” which causes a lot of reflection:

1.) Children who value the little things have a great ability to melt your heart.

2.) Love can be expressed through smiles, hugs, and high fives- no matter which language you speak.

3.) A bad lesson does not make you a bad teacher, it helps you to learn.

4.) When you have a rousing game of hangman where students get SO excited about winning, you can easily forget the frustration you had ten minutes ago when they would not “KEEP QUIET!”

5.) Sometimes it is ok to allow your students to let loose, go crazy, and sing a song… or five!

6.) A high five can make a student’s day, and the smile they get can make your day as well. Not to mention a secret handshake…

7.) Teaching English as a second language is very difficult (especially tenses), so spending more quality time to review and check for understanding is much more valuable than covering the most content possible.

8.) It is more important to mold to the students than to have the students mold to you (thank you, Sam!) Student understanding is so much more important than the latest teaching style.

9.) Student individuality is MUCH more important to me than complete silence– that’s so boring!!

10.) Sometimes shouting together as a class is a great measure to use in checking for understanding.

11.) No matter how much you practice your kiswahili, your students (and teachers) will always laugh at you.

12.) Dogs are not pets here… don’t pet them… if you plan on talking about your pet dog, expect to be swarmed and/or laughed at.

13.) Never plan on sticking to your lesson, be very flexible to the needs of your students.

14.) Only use immodium in the case of an extreme emergency, otherwise, just let it be.

15.) Being silly with students can be used to engage them and hold their attention!

16.) No matter how much you may want to throw a student out the window, it is usually not the right choice for their best learning.

17.) Teaching lessons on the fly is not impossible, sometimes they turn out to be the most fun!

18.) DO NOT GIVE OUT STICKERS AS A FREE FOR ALL. EVER.

19.) Continuing to review past concepts is very important and increases student understanding.

20.) 3rd graders love to tattle on each other.

21.) Animals brought to an alter at a Tanzanian church are not necessarily going to be sacrificed.

22.) “Soycle” is circle, “joose” is goose, and “jift” is gift

23.) “Rafiki” price always means “expensive price for white person,” but don’t worry, us mzungus can easily bargain the price of bracelets down to 1,000 shillings a piece. If they ask for 6,000 shillings… they’re mchizi (crazy)!

24.) Going to bed later than 10 pm is a precursor to a very struggle-some morning.

25.) One of the easiest ways to see God’s heart is to witness 50- 3rd grade students singing praises to Him.

26.) I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

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What I Have Learned So Far…

I have learned so much since arriving here in Tanzania about 3 weeks ago. It has been an eye opening experience each and every day. There is never a dull moment and I never know what to expect when I get out of bed in the morning. Every day is an adventure, filled with something new. Here are just a few of the things that I have learned so far:

  1. Jambo (Hello) and Mambo (What’s up?) sound very similar so don’t be offended when you say hello to someone and they respond with cool!
  2. Carbs are a staple item of every meal.
  3. It is important to look both ways and then look both ways again and look both ways one more time before crossing any street.
  4. When someone says “I made it myself” chances are they did not make it themselves, especially when the next person you see says the same thing about the exact same item.
  5. After not having American food for 3 weeks, it is amazing how excited we get when we have pizza and French fries for dinner.
  6. You should not pet dogs on the street; it only leads to bad things.
  7. Hakuna Matata really is a wonderful phrase.
  8. I can barter and actually say no when it is too much.
  9. Those who I thought were crazy drivers back home have nothing on the people here.
  10. A toilet is never what you envision it to be, it is typically just a fancy hole in the ground.
  11. That even 6th graders love stickers.
  12. My hair can be used as a toy that will entertain a group of 10 students all at one time.
  13. Chalk gets EVERYWHERE.
  14. You can make any lesson, even how to fill out forms, fun.
  15. It is very difficult to teach why things are the way they are in English; sometimes you just have to say “that’s just the way it is.”
  16. That I am very comfortable in the classroom, even in front of 50 students.
  17. I value the relationships that I build with my students and it will be VERY hard to leave!
  18. Even when you are having a horrible day and the lesson isn’t going as planned, the students still think you are the best teacher ever.
  19. I have gained more from the students, teachers, and people in Tanzania than they have gained from me.
  20. I am very fortunate.

I have learned so much about myself and the world around me these past few weeks here. I am excited to see what lessons still lie ahead in our last week here.

Posted in Things I have learned so far | Leave a comment