So I’ve been doing some reflecting the last couple days knowing that our last day was coming up. Today is our last day and I have to admit that I still can’t fully wrap my head around everything that has happened. You try your best throughout the trip to appreciate and take in everything as you go, but it feels like you really can’t fully appreciate everything until the last day and even more so when you get back home.
I have learned so much from here though. I think the biggest take away for me is the confidence I gained in the classroom and realizing that lessons won’t always go as planned. I like to be well prepared in everything I do, so the fact that I made this realization and accepted it is a huge accomplishment. I now feel ready for teaching assisting!
As far as lasting impressions? The biggest lasting impression that I will forever have is the people here. The children that we taught this month are so smart, funny, and caring. The teachers as well are some of the nicest people I have ever met. And even though the vendors can be a bit overbearing, they are really nice once you get to know them. The thing that gets me the most is that we are in a third world country, where people have many reasons to be sad or depressed, and everyone seems happy. I think that they choose to be happy, which is so refreshing to see. In America we see a lot of unhappy people and yet they have everything they need.
As most people know, the motto here is “hakuna matata” which means “no problem”. They really do live by this philosophy…even though there are many problems and worries here. I think I will miss that outlook once I get back to America, where everyone seems to have “problems” and “worries”.
This has been an experience that will be a part of my life everyday. I will constantly be thinking about the places we have been, the people we have met, and the friendships we have made. Reflecting on this trip is not an easy thing to do since it does not feel like it is over. I guess it feels that way because I have been neglecting the thoughts of this trip being over. Leaving this country is going to be so bittersweet. I have made such amazing friends and have had the experience of a lifetime, but leaving Arusha is going to be so hard. I know we will all shed a few tears and be sad for a while, but we all need to remember how much fun we have had and how the trip is going to benefit our future careers and even ourselves.
Having the chance to come on a trip like this one has had left me with many impressions. I will be taking away memories from each and every day. Teaching at Lutheran has helped me become a more confident teacher. I have learned how to help those who truly do not understand, especially those who do not know English. The language barrier that we all had to face in our schools has been something we have learned how to deal with in the best ways possible. I know I will be coming home with more certainty in helping those who are struggling or who do not understand.
Being in Tanzania has also helped me be more laid back when problems arise. The calm and hakuna matata lifestyle has left its mark on all of us, and I can say with much confidence that that is something I will be bringing home with me. It is something that all Americans need more of. We need to not worry when it’s been 20 minutes and we are still waiting on our driver, or one hour and our food has not shown up. These things are so minor, We realize this now, but at home it is a different story.
As of now I have learned more about myself than I ever have before. I can see how I have changed, maybe not that much, but a small change is still a change. I can see myself being a teacher and being a successful one, I can see all of these wonderful people and how they have helped make this experience the one it was. I am going to miss every little thing about this country and everyone who I have met. Building these friendships is something that all of us will bring home and cherish for a lifetime. For now, I will be saving up every penny I have so I can return to Arusha someday and visit those who have impacted me and, of course, to reach the top of Kilimanjaro ☺