“Can I really volunteer as a teacher in Tanzania at the age of 57?” Marion from Germany took the step and completed a one-month volunteer placement in Moshi, Tanzania (East Africa). You can find her report here:
Hakuna matata – no worries, Tanzania is great!
“Can I really volunteer as a teacher in Tanzania at the age of 57?” I wasn’t sure, but the desire to do take the step was bigger than any of my concerns.
Once I had arrived, I truely enjoyed my stay from day one. Looking back, it was one of the happiest times of my life.
I will try to put my stay into words, but I guess have to make this experience on your own to fully understand it.
Amazing stay in the host family
First of all, I had an amazing stay in Adelinas (coordinator of World Unite!) family. I was a family member from the start and was wonderfully cared for with delicious food, interesting conversations and loving inquiries about how I felt or what I wanted to eat the next day. Also, the fact that the family was so big (15 people including myself and the children, not including occasional guests), was an intersting experience. There was always someone to talk to or to cuddle with (the kids were extremely adorable). Adelina herself and her husband George always made sure that I was fine. They would drop me at my placement in the mornings whenever they could or meet me in town after work to either just have a coffee or to run errands with me.
School of Hope: Creating Future Prospects for Youth
At my two placements I felt at home right from the beginning. In the mornings I taught at the Good Hope Support School in the district of Majengo. Here, tudents who have failed the secondary school entrance examination or whose families are too poor to send them to secondary schools are offered free lessons. The two permanent teachers, Hadzun and Yvonne, are often supported by volunteers.
I was responsible for the English lessons for my students Amina, Catherine, Ridha, Rehema, Caroline (each of them 15 years) and Angel (18 years old). Above all, we practiced verbal communication through speaking exercises and role-plays. The girls’ English was very good, but they were hesitant to actively use it in the beginning. We would often play games between the excersices to make the lessons less monotonous and it was all a lot of fun. We also celebrated the Muslim feast Eid together with the students where we cooked together and later enjoyed a delicious meal.
On the last day, my students had prepared handwritten letters, a bracelet, speeches and dances for me. I was extremely touched. All in all, I can say that the Director, Mrs. Oliva and the two teachers do a wonderful job and give the girls a wonderful time and future prospects.
Teaching Business English at the Moshi Institute for Technology
After classes, I took a Bajaji to Moshi Town, where I had half-hour for my lunch break and usually enjoyed a delicious cappuccino. After my break, my second placement at the Moshi Institute of Technology, started.
There, I led a Business English course for a group of highly motivated and appreciative young people. I can say that I was looking forward to the class every day. I was always warmly welcomed, not only by the students, but also by the other teachers. Above all, I practiced free speech with the students. It was a pleasure to watch them put into practice everything they learned, such as in presentations, discussions and role-plays. I really loved them all, and it was hard for me to leave.
All in all, you learn to be very creative and spontaneous as a teacher, because there are not many materials available, except for a blackboard.
I would also like to mention that the people of Tanzania are extremely friendly and endearing. Above all, an older person is very much given respect and appreciation. You always get help when you need it, and someone will always give positive feedback about what you do.
In between, my 27-year-old daughter visited me and we did a fantastic 4-day Safari. We where truely overwhelmed by the variety of wildlife. My daughter was also warmly received by both Adelinas family and my students (I took her to class one day).
Family has a high priority in Tanzania and every family member is automatically integrated.
Finally, many thanks to all World Unite! representatives for enabling this unforgettable stay for me!
Marion (from Germany)