Three days ago we arrived in Tanzania for the very first time. We arrived at around 8 pm at night (Tanzania time, which is eight hours ahead from North American Central Time) and headed straight for the visa office to gain entrance to Tanzania. We noticed the language barrier immediately when we attempted to communicate with the border guards. Because of my previous travels, I was asked to provide proof of receiving a Yellow Fever shot. Luckily, Tony (our program director) had told me I should get the shot before leaving for Tanzania, and I am very thankful that he encouraged me to get it.
We were picked up at the airport by two drivers and were driven straight to the KIA lodge. By this point, we had been traveling for over 30 hours straight and were exhausted, so having a place to stay for the night was a luxury.
Early the next morning, we headed back to the Kilimanjaro Airport and headed straight for Mwanza which is three hours away from our final destination in Bunda. While driving from Mwanza to Bunda, we saw the first urban area in Africa that any of us had ever experienced. The first thing we noticed was how ridiculous some of the driving was. Cars would swerve between all lanes to dodge people, cars, bikes, and goats. After the scary three hour drive, we finally arrived at the Victoria Star Lodge.
The hotel owner, Manyama, was very welcoming to all of us. He showed us each of our rooms which includes a TV (which I am still not sure works) and our own bathrooms. All of our beds are protected by a mosquito net, and thankfully so because bugs are abundant in the hotel, especially in Virginia’s room. The first night we became accustomed to our new surroundings and went out to dinner with one of the CPAR staff, Mr. Kombo. By the end of the day, we were so exhausted that we were all in bed by about 10 pm.
The next day, we headed straight to the CPAR office to meet some of our coworkers. We were shown our work area that we would be using to devise our lesson plans. All of the members were very welcoming and reassuring that our presence was accepted and respected. After getting settled in to the CPAR office, we visited the two schools that we will be teaching at for the next four weeks, and were called respectively Kunzunga Secondary School and Rubana Secodary School. Each of the schools we are teaching at had +400 students, and at both schools we will be teaching a class of over 80 students. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we will be teaching the after-school class from 2 pm till 4 pm, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will be teaching from 3 pm till 5 pm. The children age between around 12 and 18, and were incredibly excited to meet the four of us for the first time. The grounds of both schools were incredibly beautiful. Both schools had their own gardens and maintained their own lands by trimming them. The Rubana Secondary School even had their own soccer pitch that they had created themselves.
Immediately after meeting our future students, we realized that we would be starting classes only two days later and we headed to the CPAR office to work on our lesson plan for the following days. Our first day in the Kunzunga School is going to involve introductions and meeting the whole class, as well as exploring gender roles and inequality that exists in all societies around the world. In a couple days, we will be posting another blog to tell all of you about our first day of teaching.