This morning the students were picked up by daladala at the YMCA and we spent the morning at the unit house doing orientation activities. Since we checked out of the YMCA we hauled all our bags to the unit house and this enabled the students to unload the items they brought for the children at the school/orhpanage, which is run by John Wambura, the director of Jamii Empowerment Initiative (JEI). JEI is a development non-profit of the Mennonite Church in Tanzania that works to help promote development, education, and healthcare among the communities in which the churches are found. The students decided this initiative is what they wanted to support, so they organized a wonderful collection of books, pencils, recorders, and art/drawing supplies which will be donated to the school.
In the afternoon, we took a driving tour of Dar es Salaam – this included a visit to the woodcarvers and painters (near Mwenge) and an immersion in the Kariakoo market in downtown Dar. We ended our tour at Upanga Mennonite Church where host parents were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their “children.” We enjoyed a brief orientation meeting with the parents before wishing them a wonderful remainder of the weekend. They are all happily nestled in their new homes and we’ve included pictures of the students with one or more of their family members. (A few students went home with the parents of another student, because their host families live close to one another). We’ll all convene on Monday for our first Swahili class at Upanga Mennonite Church.