Recent Posts

January 20, 2011

As you have begun to gather from previous posts, the daily schedule for students goes something like this.  Anywhere between 7-8:30 a.m. students arrive at Upanga Church and we have time to connect, compare notes, and make sure everyone is healthy and doing well.  Ryan, Donna, Mara, and Isaac all come to the church to see the students before Swahili.  From 8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. the GC students go to Swahili class and Donna home-schools Isaac and Mara in their outdoor classroom under the tree.   Students are free to find their own lunch, explore town, catch up on…

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January 19, 2011

Warm greetings again from Dar.  Students are in the swing of things, arriving each morning at the church for Swahili class.  Class begins at 8:30 a.m. and finishes at 11:00 with a half hour break.  Today the group ate at the church canteen immediately after Swahili class in order to make our 1:30 p.m. appointment at the U.S. Embassy.   After a leisurely lunch (chips, chapatis, mangoes, chicken, bread, rice… take your pick), we boarded daladalas for the trip across town.  We managed to cram our group into two (already full) daladalas, to arrive at the newly built U.S. Embassy in…

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January 18, 2011

Swahili classes have begun!  Yesterday and today, the students arrived at the church for Swahili class in fine fashion.  In fact today, everyone was on time!  That is a feat when one considers that students are learning how to navigate the daily commutes from their homes to town via daladalas, of which some trips can take 1-2 hours.    Daladalas are a cultural experience in themselves and the primary mode of transportation for many Tanzanians.   The students’ host parents and/or sisters or brothers helped them come to town the first day, now most students are flying solo, and doing very…

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January 16, 2011


Many students and their host families attended church at Upanga Mennonite this morning.  This afforded the opportunity for the GC students to check in with one another, compare notes, and process how the first weekend with host families is going. As part of the varied conversations we made some interesting connections.  Laura’s host mother is the mother of Annika’s host mother.  Laura and Annika have thus realized that Annika is Laura’s niece.  Then we were surprised to learn that Indy’s host father is a brother of Laura’s host mother, making Indy and Laura cousins and Annika and Indy….. you figure…

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January 15, 2011

This morning we welcomed Leah, Emily, David H., and Annika to our home in Mikocheni for a morning conversation/orientation.  They were well rested after a night at the Royal Mushi Inn… with air conditioning! Together we had a refreshing lunch of mangoes, pineapple, passion fruit, and avacodo/tomato sandwiches and then proceeded to the church to meet the students’ host families. As of 1 hour ago, all the students are now in the caring hands of their new host mothers/fathers/sisters/brothers.  Tomorrow we’ll gather for church at Upanga Mennonite.

January 14, 2011

Today was a full and busy day.  After a morning orientation at the YMCA, students spent time downtown finding lunch on their own.  Around noon Donna and Mara went to the airport to pick up Emily, Leah, David H., and Annika who now have arrived safely and joined the group!  We are exuberant to be “complete.” The rest of us took a bus tour around Dar es Salaam to aid students in understanding the locations of sites to which they will return for further exploration in smaller groups.  At a few of the sites we had the opportunity to get…

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January 13, 2011

Today marks the beginning of the adventure.  Due to some difficulties with visas for four students, we welcomed 19 of the 23 Tanzania SST’ers today.  (The other four are on the way and will arrive a day later.)  The students arrived in great spirits and were ready to jump into life here in Tanzania.  Their flight to Dar was delayed by one hour, but otherwise uneventful. We picked the students up at the airport around 2:00 and were back in the city center by 3:00.  After some sodas, water, and rest we went on a short walk through the city…

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January 11, 2011

The last weeks have been a rich flurry of settling into our home in Dar es Salaam and preparing for the students’ arrival.  Donna has been homeschooling Isaac and Mara, while Ryan has been meeting host families, visiting potential lecturers, and arranging a multitude of logistics. It feels good to be back in East Africa, awaking to roosters, receiving the warm, daily greetings of friends on the street, and embracing the richness of life here. Our home is in Mikocheni B, a suburb of Dar es Salaam.  We have enjoyed getting to know our neighbors, buying fresh mangoes and vegetables…

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