There are so many things I have learned during my month in Tanzania. It seems like a really difficult task to summarize so many important new discoveries about this country and their people and even more so about myself as a person and a teacher. As I write this blog though, I’m still sitting in Tanzania. I’m being overwhelmingly welcomed everywhere I go, I’m appreciated for saying kind words and smiling, I’m engaging in their lifestyle and trying new things almost every day because I can and because I want to immerse myself in this culture. These things are all so evident and true to me today, but I know that when I’m back in America there will be more discoveries and realizations that I will only be able to notice when I’m no longer here.
When I think about what I’ve learned about Tanzania, I automatically compare it to our society at home. Everyone here genuinely cares about how your day is. Not to say that Americans don’t, it just feels different here mostly I think because we are always offered a hello or a smile from each person. Then I look around me at the surroundings, and I’m immediately feeling sorry for having all that we have while they have so little. I am questioning each day why we have so much, yet complain and argue and want more than we need when the Tanzanians are simply happy and appreciative for what they have for the most part. I have learned how important our attitudes are and how much our attitudes can affect others. Happiness truly is contagious and the love these people are willing to share with us “mzungus” (white people) is something that we should harness and multiply.
I think that I’ve grown so much as an individual and an educator. This trip has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to with enthusiasm, spunk, dedication and 100% effort. I have tried nearly everything I could here, from Masai dancing to milking a cow and that in itself has taught me how much I love trying new things and growing as a person. I know that boundaries and comfort levels need to be pushed and that in whatever you do, all of your effort should be given. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine to be wrong multiple times, to try and fail, to make a complete fool of yourself in front of forty second graders and to laugh at yourself each day. We keep saying WIT, “When in Tanzania”, and I think it’s because we have a love and appreciation for this place that we feel we may not ever get the chance to visit again. This is something that I feel should follow me home to America. There are so many things to do in life and we should try to just go and do whenever and whatever we can. I have learned things in my time in Tanzania that I otherwise would not have and gone through life truly missing out. I have learned that there is so much more to learn.