Leaving my homestay was really bittersweet. I already miss being there and miss being a part of their family which became my normal in Tanzania. Emma killed a rooster for dinner on our last day, which involved cutting the head off with a kitchen knife (luckily I was not there). Then she and our baba had to de-feather it. The day before our mama taught us how to make chapati, which is one of Emma and my favorite foods here! It looks like a tortilla kind of, but it is thicker and is a flour-based bread fried in oil. It’s eaten by itself often at tea time, which people have every day here. The process took quite a while and involved lots of kneading, spreading oil, not having oven mitts, and working over a hot frying pan. It was super fun but we definitely needed the help from mama.
I will also really miss our host sister, Dorothy. For six years old she is so smart and speaks so much English. Many kids here do not learn it at all until they are much older and even then a lot don’t have the opportunity to speak it much.
I’m also sad to leave the places we have been working at. My last rotation was with the Rainbow school, which is for children with disabilities. I was in the kindergarten classroom, and I was able to observe their class and help the kids with their English homework and playing outside. The teachers asked if I had something to teach, which I was quite unprepared for since I don’t have experience in that sort of teaching. They asked about a song too, and I actually taught the buenos dias song I teach my spanish students but I translated it to English. They loved it way more than I expected and would sing it every day following that when they saw me! Overall I have felt like I learned so much coming to the schools and meeting the kids and getting to hang out with them. But I’ve also felt like they know their rhythm here and how to teach, so me coming in to help can sometimes be more of me being in the way. I think that’s something we have all come to find as important when going abroad. We aren’t going to make a change or even make any sort of difference since that’s not what we are qualified to do just because we are from a developed country. Rather, one of the biggest things we can do is be an extra hand and learn and value their culture and lifestyles. Then if we can come home and talk about how wonderful and welcoming the people are and how much they can do on their own, then we can help educate our friends at home about how wrong many stereotypes are about Africa. And it is especially important to note that Africa is not the same everywhere, and every country and group of people is so unique and has different ways of life. Even traveling throughout Tanzania I have noticed so many different customs and communities.
Chapati with chai bora for breakfast
James while playing outside at the Rainbow school.