Community and cultural learning

Sorry for the delayed posts. Tanzania already feels like a lifetime ago in New York minutes but it’s so nice to relive the moments as I express them to you.

Our days at homebase were so busy. Sometimes it was difficult to catch a breath or process all that was going on. I felt like I was there for months simply because of all we did in one day and not sleeping well from the jet lag. Our schedule was back to back. Some of us even opted out of an activity or two because we were completely exhausted.

Flying across the world into a different time zone there’s a period of allowing your body to adjust. Top that off with a different culture, learning a new language, getting to know people you are sharing close proximities with, and doing something most of the group have never done before (teaching) causes one to expend a great deal of energy. To make for even greater exhaustion is to add, oh i don’t know, lots and lots of kids to the mix.

Our weekends were free to us to do as we pleased. Throughout the week Monday – Friday we had different activities planned with little free time and an 11PM curfew.  The activities were really great way to learn about the community and the culture. The curfew I didn’t much care for when it became inconvenient on my last few nights.

We had Swahili lessons, speakers that gave presentations at homebase – a local politician talking on education and country history (which I missed because I took a nap instead and was happy to learn I didn’t miss much) and a representative from NAFGEM: Network Against Female Genital Mutilation to spread the word on FGM (This was by far the hardest thing to sit through. Although it was hard I completely understand the need to be educated on it and learned very interesting and disturbing things), we visited a local hospital, had a night of tribal dancing, took a tour of the CCBRT (Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation In Tanzania – they worked on issues of disabilities such as like club feet, cleft palates etc), visited a local tribe (Chagga), had reflection as a group on our placements and anything that came up surrounding that, was given an open session on local dress and traditions and greetings, visited the local Amani Center for street children, as well as had nights scheduled where we were taken to town and had free time to go to the market, hit up the ATM, go shopping, grab drinks or go to our tour company Pristine to work out any issues revolving the tours we signed up for on the weekends.

Whoah. That’s a lot right? It sure was. But a lot in a really good way.

CCS was really great in that regard. We jumped headfirst and immersed ourselves completely and in such a short amount of time learned a great deal. It was definitely a different way to travel. I am used to being left to my own devices when traveling or going to an excursion or two with a tour group that albeit fun, didn’t quite provide background on community issues.

George was one of our program directors at homebase. This is his office.

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Swahili lessons in our common area.

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We spoke to doctors and took a tour through the local hospital. It was definitely a culture shock to see what was available. As we were walking I even noticed a needle on the ground. That couldn’t have been good. The grounds were open and I didn’t see any individual rooms. There are a handful of doctors that work in the hospital but they mostly rely on medical volunteers.

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This last picture is the beautiful view of Moshi from the 2nd floor of the hospital.

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CCBRT is a private disability clinic and relies heavily on large donations. They offer free treatment to kids up until the age of 5. They are the largest disability provider in Tanzani and give such a wonderful service to the community.

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The Amani local orphanage and center for street children. This was down the road from homebase towards town. They also rely very heavily on large donations.

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This beautiful boy below was autistic. Behind him a teacher was giving a lesson to the other children.

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Some of our group walking back to homebase after the tour.

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Traditional dance night! This night was SOOO much fun! We had a dance group come to home base and set up in the beautiful front grounds of homebase. They danced and we danced with them. It was such a great night. Wish I had more pictures but it was so dark outside so lighting wasn’t ideal.

Our program Director Mama Thea is in the middle in orange representing one of her tribe’s dances.

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*More pics to come on all the cool learning activities! I am missing Tanzania something real fierce at the moment and I feel so blessed I got the chance to have that experience.

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