Recent Posts

April 7, 2014

It’s official.  The Tanzania SST 2014 group has safely launched from the airport in Dar es Salaam heading home. Students spent the day visiting their Dar host families, resting, and doing some last minute shopping. They will arrive in Chicago on Monday April 7th in the early evening after a short stop in Istanbul. There are so many things to be thankful for after an experience like this, not the least of which is the wonderful spirit with which these students approached the experience.  We too are thankful for the love and warm welcome our entire team has received from…

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April 5, 2014

We just returned this Saturday April 5th from our final 3-day retreat in Zanzibar.  We left Musoma on Tuesday morning via bus to the town of Mwanza, also on Lake Victoria. In Mwanza we caught an airplane to Dar es Salaam where we spent one night at the YMCA – the same hostel the students stayed at for their first night in Tanzania (things come full circle). On Wednesday morning we walked with our luggage to the harbor where we boarded a ferry to go to Zanzibar, where we spent the next three nights.  The first night we stayed at…

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March 31, 2014

Today was a day of mixed emotions!  The students all safely arrived back in Musoma from their various service locations and of course were delighted to reconnect and see one another again! However, it is of course also a day of saying goodbye to their host families, friends, and co-workers. All the students arrived without incident by 2:00 p.m. and hit the town for lunch on their own.  After some free time at the Mennonite Center in Musoma, we convened for our first “unit house” meeting since Dar es Salaam! We sang hymns and discussed the upcoming week’s schedule as…

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March 27, 2014

Teaching in Magoto

On Tuesday we made our last visit to students on service, visiting Seth Yoder in Tarime Mogoto. We left Tuesday morning, wondering whether we would have trouble getting up the muddy escarpment slopes considering we had a night of incessant rains! We arrived in Tarime Magoto without incident around 10:15 a.m. and met Seth at Ebenezer School, a private school run by the Mennonite Church. The school provides classes for nursery through standard 5 (grade 5).  Seth’s work is to fill in for any of the classes when another teacher is needed.  Seth teaches from 8-10, then they break for…

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March 26, 2014

Teaching in Musoma

On Monday we visited Kelsey McKinnell and Anneliese Baer who are volunteering and living in Musoma. Bri and Melanie joined us for the day to see what their colleagues were up to in their service placements. We met Kelsey at the Lutheran Church compound in downtown Musoma where she teaches at the church’s nursery school each morning from 8-11. Our first agenda was to pay a visit to the church office where we met the church’s pastor and headmaster of the school. The nursery school is on the church compound along with the church, the parsonage, and church shamba (farm)….

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March 23, 2014

We left Shirati on Thursday morning for the 90 minute drive to Tarime town where Seth Miller and Rachel Smucker are serving. Tarime is a larger town about 20 minutes from the border of Kenya. Seth has been teaching at Samaritan Technical Secondary School and Rachel has been working with the Tanzania Mennonite Church Tarime Diocese to help churches develop business plans for profit-making projects. Upon entering Tarime we met Seth, Rachel, and Peter Rosso (the SST Service Coordinator) in town at the local bank. Rachel helped us navigate the landrover to her home on the outskirts of town, where…

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March 22, 2014

On Tuesday we drove to Shirati to meet Ida Short, Jared Zook, and Daniel Graber who are living and volunteering in Shirati, a town on Lake Victoria in north Mara. We arrived in time for lunch of chipsi mayai (eggs with french fries)at the hospital canteen  and caught up with the students on their recent lives. We stayed at the Mennonite Church Diocese offices where there are rooms available for guests.  We greeted Bishop John Nyagwegwe and his staff and enjoyed an afternoon catching up with the students, playing at the church’s playground and reading journals! In the evening we went to Ida’s…

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March 18, 2014

On Monday we spent the day in Musoma visiting Bri Brubaker and Melanie Hertzler. The morning started with picking up Alicia Hofer at the Bweri bus stand who came from Kiabakari to join Anneliese and Kelsey on our visit. We drove the short 10 minute drive to Musoma town to observe Bri teaching at the Musoma Primary School.  Each morning Bri teaches a group of deaf students at the primary school, working with them on learning sign and writing English. Bri has really risen to the occasion, working with Tanzanian sign, Swahili, and English! (Tanzanian sign is quite different from…

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March 17, 2014

Teaching in Kemgesi

On Thursday afternoon we left Mogabiri for the 3 hour drive to Kemgesi, passing through Tarime on our way for a quick lunch. We drove through some intermittent rain storms and arrived in Kemgesi in the midst of a constant rain drizzle at about 5:00 p.m.  David Maganya, Lynelle’s host father, met us at the road and directed us to the house in which we would be sleeping for the next two nights.  From out of nowhere hot spiced chai, mandazis (donut-like bread) and chapatis (flat-bread) welcomed us! A few minutes later Lynelle Leinbach and Jenna Ramseyer greeted us at…

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March 16, 2014

On Wednesday morning we made the short drive further up the escarpment to the small town of Nyarero. We brought Eva and Andre with us so they could spend some time with Evan Grimes and Jess Klink who are living in Nyayero.  We woke early so we could arrive in Nyarero in time to see Evan teach at Nyarero Secondary School. We met Evan and Jess at the main road and parked the Landrover at the clinic where Jess works. We walked the short 10 minute walk to Evan’s school, arriving in time to see the students gather in the…

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