Early into our Tanzania trip I realized I would not be able to sum it all up for just one blog post! Day after day we had one unforgettable experience after another. As we fell asleep each night, too exhausted to write in journals, I even wondered whether we were packing too much in. But who would we have NOT visited? Which walk, game drive, conversation, or meal would we have skipped? None, of course!
Long ago, a friend gave me a collection of women writers’ travel stories titled, Tanzania on Tuesday. The name came back to me during the trip and I’m taking it as the heading for this series of posts. We collected a lot of impressions, memories, and photographs during the trip. In order to do them justice, and to allow for a slow processing time for myself, I intend to write about one each week…on Tuesday.
So I’ll start with an idea that I’ve always believed in but got to have whack me over the head again and again during this trip: education matters. It matters for girls and boys, for young people and adults. We saw what a difference it makes in the lives of children whose parents went to school themselves. We heard how continuing education for wildlife rangers, teachers, and pastors increased skills, professionalism, and vocational commitment. There are so many stories to tell on this theme, mostly as a result of the visits we had with former students. I’ll share more in the coming weeks.
Every profession has its rewards, but it’s hard for me to believe there are many greater than a teacher reconnecting with students- some who are now teachers themselves! Here are a few:
Congratulations Jennifer (Joram) Mollel who was Scott’s math student. She now teaches math to upper primary grades at an English medium school in Arusha. Her husband is a medical doctor in his third year of training far away in Dar Es Salaam, so Jennifer balances responsibilities parenting their children in addition to teaching. She even manages a second job translating letters between sponsors and children for the organization Compassion International. She mentioned how much she enjoys this extra work because it continually improves her English and teaches her interesting things about life in the United States.
Regina (Duwange) Chitumbi was an English student of Amy’s. She now teaches English at one of the government secondary schools in Monduli. Her home life is busy too, as she is the mother of three young children. It was easy to see how her family values education. Her daughters attend English medium primary school and we watched them busy themselves reading English story books during our visit.
Boniface Olsujaki’s personal story also illustrates the power of education. Academic achievement and hard work brought him opportunities for employment he probably never would have imagined for himself when he was growing up in a fairly traditional Maasai family.
Though he works several hours from Monduli, he traveled back to host us for an afternoon at the beautiful home he has recently finished building for his family. We listened to him tell about his work with anti-poaching and conservation efforts around Tarangire National Park. His is a career that benefits from ongoing professional development especially as technologies improve. Simon thought it was pretty cool seeing photos of a seminar Boniface attended to try out flying drones!