Study Abroad

Thirst for Knowledge

May 23, 2017

I have a confession.

I've fallen in love.

With the landscape, with the students, with the vibrant pride that accompanies many parts of the Tanzanian culture. (Mom, the way the women dress here would have you getting on a plane to just see the beauty of the textiles.)

Today we taught all four grades and the integrity of these students leaves me smiling from the time I wake up to the moment we say goodbye at the end of the day. There is a genuine thirst for knowledge guided by each student's unique intelligence that has my teaching partner, Aliza and I, acing through lesson plans. Our challenge is making each one more unique and helpful to the students in pursuit of the English language.

This afternoon, Reverend Doctor Sullivan, Nicole and I had the honor of being invited to a party for a teacher who was retiring. They shared their meal, parts of their local culture and good company. It's amazing how such a simple gesture of inclusion can create a permanent memory. I am envious of those who get to be a part of this Shoulder to Shoulder in the future and get to experience moments like this.

I'm already feeling the sadness setting in that comes with leaving. Knowing the depth of culture shock after an awakening like this, I fear losing the feeling of connection when we return to the States. When thousands of miles separate a person from an experience, it becomes almost natural to put this experience into a box in the back of a mind.

So to those of you reading this, readying yourselves to welcome us home, please be patient. Encourage our occasional Swahili greeting, be aware of our nostalgia and know that for many of us, we had to say goodbye to a phenomenal group of human beings we know we will never see again.

But goodbyes are for another day.

For now we are drinking in our temporary home here at Masumbo, letting our souls fill up much like the sunlight flooding the open landscape.