Study Abroad

Powerful Day of Learning

May 25, 2017

Hamjambo (hello) from Lundamatwe, Tanzania!

It's May 25th. Another powerful day of learning and growth by all of us here as well as by all of our students at the Primary school. It is Day 7 of teaching. A personal moment for me teaching today happened with my group of Standard 6 students. It was our second day of teaching them about verbs and more specifically the different tenses (such as past, present, and future). The day previous we struggled to get this point across to them so we collectively decided to try again today. There was a point during the lesson in which I started finding a teaching method that worked and you could see all of it just click for the kids. They all had this look of clarity and excitement across their faces as they were answering my questions and starting to make their own sentences using verbs that were in either past, present, or future tense. My excitement shot through the roof as I found this connection with the kids and it was really wonderful to both feel and see that progress. A great sense of accomplishment came over me. Everyone in our group I know has had their moments of success with their kids at different points since being here and it is a very joyful experience to hear about everyone's accomplishments at the multitude of various campfire group talks that we've had.

Back to today's events. 

After teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th we left and went back to Masumbo for lunch. When we returned to the school after lunch, we got to see all of the students gather in the courtyard to march and recite a speech.  For this They stand in a military stance and recite in a call back format where either a teacher or a selected student leads, calling something out, and the rest of the student body respond with a different statement and either take a step to the right, a step to the left, or turn to the side. They ended with the singing of the Tanzanian National anthem! It was beautiful to see this piece of their culture.

We have been blessed with a very special opportunity for this trip. On Saturday, we will be running a Girls' Self-Esteem workshop for grades 6 and 7. Our aim is to provide a safe place for these girls to both learn and discuss issues surrounding the self esteem of girls and women in the village in which we are staying. With the help of fluent Swahili speakers who will not only be able to translate language but also culture, we will be focusing on physical health and hygiene, self-esteem and confidence, goal setting and relationships. Tonight, after another extraordinary Swahili lesson, we began planning. With the help of Tina and Bibi, our collective confidence for the workshop is high. We are all unbelievably excited for Saturday and are very eager to share the experience with you in a few days!

Personal reflection time.

As many of you will come to learn or maybe have already begun to learn reading these blogs, being here in Tanzania is like nothing else in this world. We have shared our memories and will continue to share them with you when we return. But there is something else that I hope for you all to understand.

Our group is very special. Everyone's heart is selfless and full of unexplainable amounts of love for these kids and for each other. Our group chemistry is off the charts! I really believe that it's because we all share the common understanding that we are all here to learn, grow, teach, and leave a lasting impact on a group of kids that are too amazing to put into words. We believe in and support one another to our fullest efforts. All of this making for repeated amounts of success in doing what we all came here to do. I can't imagine this trip without any one single person here. We have all brought something to the table and are leaving with so much more. 

This is my final thank you to my unforgettable trip members. As I know you all won't be reading this until our time here is over, thank you for making this trip everything I could hope for it to be. Nicole, for the tear inducing laughter. Katie, for being the best teaching partner around. Rachel, for being the sunshine in everyone's day. Emily, for giving your heart to everyone and asking for nothing in return. Carson, for keeping it real 24/7 and making a friend wherever we all went. Shannon Murphy, for breaking through barriers and expanding our comfort zone with one another to the next level. Alex, for capturing every second of our time here. Mal, for being the best roommate and showing us and all of the kids what it means to learn and have fun at the same time. Lauren, for putting the sweet in sweetheart. Eliza, for your catchy songs and your beautiful soul. Seán, for being the big brother to us and to the kids. Haleigh, for being the mom who wouldn't rest until all of her "kids" were all in a good place. Shannon Motz for the big smiles and infectious laugh that made us all smile back. Mickayla, for being that person that you could never have a bad day being around. And Maggie, for being our fearless leader who put her heart and soul into this trip to make it everything we all could ever ask for.Being here. Being with all of you has been one of the biggest blessings in my life up until this point and I imagine it will continue to be as my life goes on. Only 6 more days left in heaven!

Almost home Mom!