May 12th – 14th
On Saturday morning, we left SEKUCo to move in with our host families. We spent the previous night without power during a rainstorm that continued throughout the weekend. Needless to say, our journeys to our host families were a little muddier than expected. The group is divided into pairs in homes that are in close proximity to the three institutions we will be working in for the next two weeks. Half of our group is in the city of Lushoto and the other half is in the quaint, rural town of Irente. Saturday was spent getting acclimated to the living arrangements, which vary from homes that have electricity, running water and western toilets, to homes that have no electricity, no running water and what we like to call “squatty potties.” Our living arrangement happens to fall under the latter. By the end of this, we will be experts at the squatty potty! Every pair has experienced difficulty communicating with the language barrier between the national Tanzanian language, Kiswahili, and English. We are all learning what it means to be a foreigner.
Most of the families attended church and were introduced to the congregation. We attended a Lutheran church in Irente and our host dad, Mhina, translated for us as we introduced ourselves. We spent the remainder of the weekend with our host families. Today, the group split up and began volunteering at the three learning institutions, The Rainbow School for Students with Disabilities, The School for the Blind and The Children’s Home. Everyone happily reconvened at lunch and began sharing stories and experiences of their home stays. After lunch, the group debriefed in a separate room, discussing issues and listed adjectives about our feelings thus far. Words included: happy, calm, welcomed, awkward, confused, isolated, home sick and missing chocolate. The next part of our journey will be to balance the good experiences with the bad. This trip is definitely pushing us outside of our comfort zones and ensuring our growth as leaders, educators and beings of balance.
Nervously and excitedly yours,
Ciarra and Roni