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Off the Beaten Path: Tanzania

Please check out what Robyn wrote about their visit to Tanzania—-she’s combined excellent story-telling with amazing photos to put together a post on her blog that I promise you will enjoy.  Here’s a preview:

Our African adventure really begins in Detroit. Mike and I sit at the airport bar to have our “bon voyage” beer. Glasses clink, drinks go down - great start already. Next to us at the bar sits a tired, anxious looking man. Nervous flyer maybe? He turns to ask if we are on the Amsterdam flight to which we nod. He double checks the time of departure to which we answer. Conversation begins…

(click on the link above to read more)

Karibu Kaka! —-Welcome, Brother!

Hey guys, I recently had some visitors come to Tanzania—-my two brothers Chris and Mike, and Mike’s girlfriend, Robyn.  I asked if they would want to write a short post about an aspect of their experience here.  This post is by Mike, and Robyn’s is on the way!

I’ve thought long and hard about what experience I’d like to share from Tanzania.  I wasn’t too surprised with what I finally settled on considering that it was my favorite slice of the journey.  It wasn’t having our safari truck pursued by a lion or gazing upon Mt. Kilimanjaro.  It wasn’t eating a giant platter of goat and an equally giant platter of fries while the Tanzanian version of Boyz II Men gyrated on a nearby stage.  Quite simply, it was our time at Brian’s house.  What? A home without electricity, a sink, or even a toilet to sit upon?  Most definitely!  Karibu!

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When you jump one anthill, you realize that there are many hills to be jumped. I thought A-level was most important to me, but now I think university is most important.

Fidel Samwel

(Fidel is a recent Form 6 graduate and one of my favorite students ever.  After winning first place in the YST 2013 competition, he received a full tuition scholarship award to any university in Tanzania on the condition of achieving adeuate marks on his NECTA [national exam].  After studying very hard, Fidel is sure he scored at least Division II on his NECTAs, and maybe even Division I [top marks].  The quote above was one of his texts he sent me after the exams.)

Fidel celebrating after the YST win

Leaving Behind a Piece of My Heart

Things seem to be happening very quickly lately, and I haven’t had much time to let my mind catch up until now.  First, for those who haven’t heard the news, I’ll announce that I found out when I will be coming back home.  It’s crazy to think about how such a short bunch of numbers —-7/18/14——can start up the racing thoughts that have been going through my head.  (If you want the summary, skip to the bottom).

As I was finishing up putting the final touches on the library, I couldn’t help but realize that I would once again have the luxury of getting to choose how I would spend free time again in the village.  I knew along the way that the long days and nights of work I was putting in were taking their toll on me, but only after stopping the work did I understand the extent.  

There were so many nights that I came home from school after spending 14 hours there—tired and hungry and having given so much of my time, energy, strength, patience, and even money.  There were moments where

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Introducing Our Library

Hello all!  I want to share a video with you of Philip introducing our new library (click on the image to open a link to the video).  The project is finally finished after months of very hard work.  It may seem simple, but our community built and painted all of the furniture from scratch, and the supplies were all bought locally.  This was NOT easy to accomplish, but we did it!!!

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Thank you thank you thank you for all who donated!  You will soon be getting many more details and photos describing the finished work that you helped achieve.  

For now, I’m at my Close of Service conference, which means I am also soon going to find out when I will be coming home.  EXCITED!!!

Students Fighting Malaria

Malaria may not mean a lot to most of you back home because we are lucky enough that our annoying mosquitoes don’t carry the disease. However, it’s become important to me after living here.  As part of integrating into our communities, volunteers establish various relationships and friendships with many people, all of whom are at serious risk of acquiring this disease.  I have seen students, friends, and community members fall seriously ill from malaria.  Planning education, discussions, and events about preventing malaria becomes as much about caring for the people we have grown close to as it is about simply doing our jobs.  Coincidentally, as I was writing part of this blog post, Philip, my best friend here, came come to town to be tested…

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