Over the last few days the group of BISB students and teachers working in Tanzania have been busy getting to know the local villagers and the students and staff at the Kitefu School.
BISB students worked throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday to refurbish the Kitefu School, painting classrooms, sorting library books and building shelving. The students also got to know the school's children and teachers, and worked with them on various learning activities and games.
On Tuesday, the students worked with the British-based organization Seeway Trust, volunteering at the organization's orphanage in Tanzania. The group will now spend a few days on safari, exploring the local land and seeing some amazing wild animals! We can't wait to see their photos from this adventure later this week!
While the group's trip has really only just begun, it's clear that the service learning activities have already had a profound impact on our students.
Here are some of their thoughts on the trip so far:
This experience has definitely surpassed all of my expectations. We have only been here for two days and I have already learned and felt so many new things. I have realized how lucky I am to have the life that I have and to get this opportunity.
I have met many people who opened the doors to their homes, their culture, traditions and family, and have made me realized that what we do doesn't have to be the only right way of doing or approaching something. I have also seen how happy these people are with so little (and at the same time how wrong we are by saying that they have "so little").
These people have fascinating lives, and I admire them even more for opening their doors to us. I have also met new people from other schools and different countries, which has opened my mind even more.
So far my favorite part of the trip has been the time I've spent with the locals. As part of security for the camp we have 12 Maasai guards that are called askari. The askari speak Maasai as their primary language but also know some Swahili. Unfortunately, they barely speak any English, which has made conversing with them very hard, but very interesting. I was surprised at how caring they were as a people. After about half an house I had seven askari all around me trying to teach me Maasai. They would even go so far as to act out skits to demonstrate what the words meant. This care and helpfulness is something that I have noticed with all the locals.
On the second day, I befriended our guide Lazaro. He talked throughout the whole day and toward the end he offered to teach me Maasai and Swahili through Facebook. Not only was he extremely giving, but he was also very kind, and though I only have known him for a day I care for him as much as I would care for a dear friend. This holds true with most of the locals, there is a sense of family throughout all of them. All you need to do is show respect for their culture and they will let you in.
Check back to the blog throughout the next two weeks as we continue to share updates from the students' adventure in Tanzania!