Welcome to the 2014 Tanzania SST blog! We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of 23 Goshen students on Friday January 10th, 2014. If they can escape the bitter winter blizzard pounding the Midwest, they should arrive here in Dar es Salaam bright and early (3:45 a.m. in fact) to thawing temperatures in the 90’s!
Our family has been in Dar preparing for the SST unit since early December. Our preparation has included opening a bank account, meeting with host families, planning field-trips, arranging lectures, and settling our family into our new home here in Dar es Salaam. We took a few days holiday around Christmas to Zanzibar, an island about 90 minutes by boat from the mainland.
As in 2011, the students will join our family which includes Donna, Ryan, Mara (10) and Isaac (10). Isaac and Mara will be honing their Kiswahili skills along with the students and are looking forward to having 23 big brothers and sisters!
We will be exploring various themes this year in Tanzania, including how individuals, communities, and nations develop, nurture, and articulate their “identities”. What are the most important factors that form the Tanzanian identity: nation, race, religion, tribe? How is this exemplified in Tanzania history and culture? Students will be challenged to apply these same questions to their own lives as we corporately seek to become Global Citizens and Passionate Peacemakers.
Of course the daily routines that are the pulse of life here will also be vital texts – the daladala (bus) commute to town, buying mangoes at the duka (shop), tea with host families, attending weddings (and funerals), visiting the market, conversations with host families, hearing the daily call to prayer…. all these are the memories that will stick with students for a lifetime.
The Tanzania SST is unique among many of the college’s SST units, in that the program is strongly supported by the local Tanzania Mennonite Church – KMT (Kanisa La Mennonite Tanzania). Many of the students will be staying with host families from Mennonite Churches and the location for our service assignments is in the Mara region along Lake Victoria, the part of Tanzania where Mennonite churches were first established. We are lucky to have the support of Pastor John Wambura, who serves as our Country Coordinator for the Study portion, and Pastor Emmanuel Mwita from Musoma, who arranged all the service placements. We have been warmly welcomed by KMT!
We feel honored to have this opportunity. Not only to live in another corner of the planet, but to be so warmly welcomed by Tanzania’s people and to share this experience with 23 wonderful GC students.
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– Ryan, Donna, Mara, & Isaac