We had an early start to our day because Monday mornings at G\Arusha Secondary School always begin with raising the Tanzanian flag in their courtyard. We returned to one of the classrooms and began to learn about Teach United and what it means to be a leader. Saida, a former student of G\Arusha Secondary School, who is now a part of the World Leadership School’s organization, discussed her experience and growth throughout her time with the Teach United program. With their guidance, the relationships between herself and her teachers were strengthened tremendously. We ended the morning with a quick lesson in Kiswahili where we learned words and phrases from the Tanzanian students. Two phrases we learned were “asante sana” and “nimeshiba.” These phrases mean “thank you very much” and “I’m full,” respectively. Both have come in handy as we try to navigate our daily lives with the homestay families.
After a delicious lunch, we started our afternoon with some team building activities. Both activities were active and led us to understand and think about what it means to be a leader. As we jumped rope and competed in an obstacle course blindfolded with each other’s help, it became apparent which strategies of leadership were successful versus not. Communication with each other was key for both exercises. For example, in order to complete the obstacle course, American students were guided by Tanzanian students in Kiswahili. Similarly, BCS students learned to give directions in Kiswahili as well.
As the school day came to a close, BCS and Tanzanian students alike gathered at one of the Tanzanian student’s homes. Though this was the second day we had done this, we were delighted by the hospitality of Tanzanian people. In the U.S., plans are typically made further in advance and there is much less room for last-minute changes. Together we danced to popular Tanzanian songs, played cards and soccer, hung out with the younger siblings of our buddies, and just had a good time.
After a long day of fun, all were eager to return to their homestays. Upon arrival, we relaxed with our families, took a bucket shower, and, later that evening, enjoyed a lovely meal. Unlike what is typical in the U.S., many families eat their dinners later than when we are accustomed to (between 8:00 and 9:30). Families often dine in their living rooms and on the floor. We ended our days by spending quality time with our homestay families. Not surprisingly, after such a long day of being active, we returned to our rooms for a much needed restful night of sleep.
- Annika & Noa
Our day started at 6:30, meeting at G Arusha with our Tanzanian buddies. Randall (WLS) started by asking us how our first nights were with our homestay families; we went around a circle holding up our thumbs to how we felt. Then, we got into the safari cars and started our journey to Ngorongoro, a national Tanzanian conservation area. Once we entered the park we made our way to the Oldupai Gorge, where we got to see the birthplace of our earliest ancestors. We made our way around the Gorge’s museum and looked at the different fossils and old maps. After, we made our way down to the actual Ngorongoro crater, we drove around in our safari cars to look at all of the different species in the area. We started off by seeing a lot of zebras and wildebeests, and once we started getting deeper into the crater, we observed Thompson’s gazelles, Masai giraffes, and even lions and water buffalo. After this, we made our way to the resting point of our trip, where we could use the bathrooms and see the hippopotami. At this point, we also stopped to eat lunch and rest. Following this, we drove back through the crater, exiting the same way we had originally came. We ended our day at 4:30 pm back at G Arusha extremely sweaty and tired. Our day was an amazing and incredible experience for every single person.
- Amber & Chance
We've had a very relaxed morning at the hotel, packing up all our stuff and getting ready to move into our home stays after what promises to be another delicious buffet lunch. Each student had a one on one check in with a BCS teacher yesterday; everyone is cheerful and healthy, and excited about getting to know their host families. Tomorrow we have a very early start as we go on safari to the Olduvai Gorge and the Ngorgoro Crater with our Tanzanian buddies.
- Ernestine Heldring
Today, we woke up at around 7:30, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by the hotel staff. Afterward, we packed our bags and headed to G/Arusha Secondary school for the first time. Upon arrival we were greeted by Eligi Tairo, the second form history teacher, and the head of school, Emanuel Bayo, who showed us around the campus. We were invited into their classrooms, their gardens, and their facilities. Basically, they showed us the ropes. After much anticipation, we were introduced to our fellow Tanzanian students, whom we engaged in several icebreakers. Led by Randall, we played name games, handshaking games, and even one-eyed tag. Admittedly, it was a bit awkward at first, but we all warmed up to each other fairly quickly. Following the games, we headed into the chemistry lab to do some brainstorming on our concerns, expectations, and norms for the trip. This helped us to get to know each other a bit more, and learn how to break the language barrier and communicate without speaking English.
After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, both groups of students paired up for a scavenger hunt. We were assigned with various tasks to complete all over Karatu. These ranged from buying some rubber boots at the market, to mailing a postcard home from the post office. This helped us not only to bond with our fellow students, but also to grasp the layout of the town. Once we were all done, we returned to the hotel, exhausted, but we played a game of soccer together anyway. We used the remaining time to reflect on our stated concerns, expectations, and norms, and what was coming next for us as a whole.
As we spend our last night in the hotel, butterflies fill our stomachs as we prepare for tomorrow’s trip to our homestays to meet our new families. We are having tons of fun so far, and we hope tomorrow will bring more of the same.
- Julian & Idriys
After 28 tedious hours in airports and airplanes, we finally arrived to our first destination, House of West Kili, last night at 11:00 p.m.
We woke up ready for the day, beginning with a delicious breakfast and team bonding activities. Our team bonding began with a simple Swahili lesson turned tag game, in which, in proper Tanzanian fashion, we had to change our greeting depending on the person.
Here are the greetings:
“Jambo” responds with “Jambo” (this is very casual).
If someone say “Mambo”, you respond with “Poa”, however this is only for peers around the same age.
If you’re addressing someone older than you, you say “Shikamu” and then they’ll respond with a kind “Marihaba”.
After our lesson in greetings, we played a game of Knee-Tag, in which everybody was “it”. In order to freeze someone, you had to slap their knees, and then the only way for them to be unfrozen was for them to receive a double high five. However, if you had your hands on your own knees, you could not be tagged.
While the Knee-Tag seemed to simply be a fun game, it actually symbolized getting comfortable with risk – something that we’ll have to do as we explore a new community and a new culture.
From there, we ventured into the three realms of comfort: safety, stretch, and panic. We decided that as a team, it’s always better to push ourselves to be in that stretch zone, because that’s where we’ll learn the most.
Then we took off to our second destination; The River of Mosquitoes. Known to the locals as Mto Wa Mbu, The River of Mosquitoes is home to a local tribe, Chaga. Here we were served local cuisines such as okra, cassava, mchicha, eggplant, spiced rice, and ugali along with a wide array of freshly sourced fruits and vegetables.
With our stomachs full we embarked on a tour of the village and a banana plantation. Along with learning a lot about the everyday Tanzanian culture, we were exposed to the natural relationship shared between the farmers and their products. We were able to understand the banana on a new level, from the 30 different species, how the banana is used in the fermentation process, to understanding the asexuality of the plant.
We arrived at Karatu Lodge around the evening and concluded our day with a meal and a discussion of our expectations about the homestays.
We are ready to embark on the next leg of our journey…
- Hannah and Mass
We were picked up by Tim, Randall and Beatrice of the World Leadership School and taken by private bus to the beautiful lodge. We are staying in very comfortable bungalows. The weather is cool. The night skies are bright with stars, loud with the chirps of crickets.
3/5/19 3:30 pm. Hello from JFK! We are all checked in and enjoying a wide variety of airport culinary delights. Everyone is in excellent spirits! Boarding at 5 pm.