Habari class! How are you? I’m writing to you from my home in Quakertown, Pennsylvania! Can you believe it? I can’t. Even more unbelievable, this is my last journal!
Now that I’m home, I have had some time to think about my time in Tanzania. It was a long four months and I learned so much! Everything from the traveling, food, language and people had something special to teach me.
From the beginning I remember being nervous about coming to Tanzania. It was a country far away from my friends, family, and everything that was familiar to me. “What if I don’t like it? What if it is too hard?” I thought.
Despite being worried about the hard parts of living in a new country I could not be happier with my decision to go to Tanzania. Even though some parts were hard, it was rewarding too. Tanzania taught me to push myself and do things I might be scared of. In the end, they are worth it!
Lots of people I met in Tanzanian helped me to challenge myself by showing me they could, too. For example, do you remember the Tanzanian Momma from the store on campus I always talk about? One day she asked me to take her swimming because she wanted to learn. Momma was nervous because she did not know how to swim at all.
When we took Momma to the pool she was fearless. Even though she had never swam before, she jumped right in and before I knew it, she was swimming! I was proud of Momma for overcoming her fear and reaching her goals that day.
Another time my American friend Neil decided to accept an offer teaching English to young children at a school outside of Dar es Salaam. This was brave of him because Neil had just started learning Swahili and would have to travel far away to the school by himself. Not only that, but Neil never taught before!
Yet I remember seeing Neil one day after he got off the bus returning from the school. He was by himself and the smile on his face was huge! He was finally beginning to feel confident teaching and he loved it!
I am proud of Neil for making the choice to teach English. He gained a lot from his time at the school. When I asked him about it he said, “I’m there teaching the kids, but they teach me so much too!” I bet if you asked Mrs. Fourie if she learns from all of you, she would say yes!
Seeing friends like Neil and Momma overcome their fears helped me overcome mine too. They inspired me to embrace the hard parts of living somewhere new. I’m especially grateful for that. Without their encouragement I do not think I would have traveled as far, tried as many new things, or enjoyed myself nearly as much. Do you have someone who has inspired you to try new things? You should thank them!
I think the confidence I have gained from going to Tanzania will be helpful to me now that I’m home too. This year I am going to start my last year of college and after that I need to find a job! This means that a lot is going to change for me.
The thought of not being in school anymore and having a job somewhere new makes me nervous. However, because of my time in Tanzania I’m confident in my ability to push myself and make good choices. Instead of feeling more nervous when I think about next year, I’m actually getting excited!
After college I have a dream of working for an organization that helps protect the environment. By taking care of the Earth now, people in the future will be able to enjoy it, too. That’s important to me.
If you can believe it, I didn’t know a whole lot about the environment and its problems until just over a year ago. That’s when I made the decision to participate in a bike tour program. During the summer, I rode all over New England and learned about different environmental issues. That’s when my passion for environmental work started.
I had not biked in a long time before the start of the program and didn’t know a lot about the environment. The decision to go was a big step! If I had let my fears keep me from going, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion for learning about our planet. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today!
I hope you have learned from my choice to study abroad and go on the bike tour. It’s definitely okay to be nervous and afraid sometimes but I hope you feel encouraged to challenge yourself and others too. Who knows, by trying something new you might discover new talents or even find what you’re passionate about!
Lastly, just as Neil learned a lot from the children in his class, you have taught me so much too! I want to say thank you for that. I was always excited to hear about what your class was learning and doing. You all have accomplished so much and you should feel proud!
If you ever have questions about studying abroad, college, or anything really, please ask me! I am happy to give advice and would love to stay up to date on all the incredible things each of you are doing. Until then I hope you enjoy the rest of your school year and have a wonderful summer! Asante sana na safari njema! Thank you very much class and great journeys!