January 28, 2011

Colonialism & the ‘Library Project’

Yesterday afternoon Dr. Masebu, a historian from the University of Dar es Salaam, gave us a sweeping overview of the colonial period in Africa, with specific references to Tanzania.  He helped us understand the various political, social, and economic causes of colonialism, in addition to emphasizing that the African response to colonialism was varied, determined, and often proactive.  Tanzania received its independence in 1961 and other African countries, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, and S. Africa, achieved independence much more recently.

This morning students arrived early at the church to take their first exam; of course a great time was had by all!  After Swahili class we ate at the church canteen before participating in the Library Project Dedication.

The Tanzania Mennonite Church Eastern Diocese has been hosting our group in Dar es Salaam.  In addition to using the Upanga Mennonite Church facilities on a daily basis for Swahili class, the church has been instrumental in finding host families and helping to plan program logistics.  Additionally, Mussa Masanja, the leader of the Umoja wa Vijana (the church’s youth initiative), has done a tremendous job serving as the Study Term Coordinator.

In order to thank the Church, the Goshen students organized a library project.  Each student brought several books from the U.S. to help initiate a library to provide educational and training opportunities for Tanzania youth.  In addition students raised money, which we presented today to the Vijana leaders.  In response, the church provided Goshen College with a wonderful piece of art to symbolize our collaborative journey.

Tomorrow we’ll meet at 8:00 a.m. to board a bus to Bagamoyo for a weekend overnight.  We’ll talk again on Sunday evening.  Salaam.

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