A Travellerspoint blog

My First Experience in Tanzania

Lynn McDonagh Hughes' blog

sunny 32 °C


When we first found out that we would be part of NSCC’s EFE project in Tanzania I think I was in shock for weeks…in fact I know I was. It was absolutely surreal to truly believe that I would be visiting a place that I only dreamed of. So on the morning of our departure I fully expected the reality to set in but it didn’t. Still unbelievable and so this continued all the way to Dar es Salaam. Once we landed and felt the incredible heat it hit me that we were certainly in my kind of climate…but still could not comprehend that it was Africa. I cannot begin to describe or explain everything we did and saw and the people who have impacted my life.

My colleagues have done an amazing job with their blogs so there is no need for me to repeat what they experienced as I share in the words that were so eloquently written. So my blog is more about my personal experience and how waking up each day in Tanzania was a true gift.

The Tanzanian landscape is beautiful, the people are kind and genuine and incredibly welcoming to Lisa and me who was also experiencing Africa for the first time. Meeting the students was an incredibly fulfilling experience and their eagerness to learn about us, Nova Scotia and Canada was overwhelming but in a very positive way. Everyone at the Mikumi VETA campus made us feel welcome and Saronga and Patrick were especially attentive – thank you for making us feel at home. We know that there was a lot happening behind the scenes but we never felt that we were imposing on anyone.

It is an uplifting experience to visit a classroom where teachers are truly valued and treated with great respect. I can only comment on Saronga and Patrick as teachers – it is apparent that they love what they do and are eager to share their knowledge with their students and with us. It was a privilege to spend time in their classroom and with their students. It was also very interesting to see that although we may have different delivery methods, tourism is tourism - it was fascinating to hear the same things being taught in a Tanzanian classroom (but obviously with a Tanzanian slant)!

I too have to comment on the experience of the early morning assembly. We were honoured to be invited and again the pride felt by the people of Tanzania was evident as faculty and students alike sang their national anthem. It was quite emotional to be part of the raising of the Nova Scotia flag. It certainly made me proud to be Canadian and I think we are all very grateful for the tactfulness expressed by our Tanzanian friends as I’m sure that their true reaction to our singing was not being expressed – we knew we were bad but not to what extent until we heard ourselves on video – I think that is all that needs to be said about that!

It was a privilege to be able to share resources with our Tanzanian colleagues and to feel that our small contribution was appreciated. We are proud to have been included in this project and enjoyed seeing the successes that have been gained by the faculty’s’ visits to Nova Scotia. The new Visitor Information Centre shows great promise and it was amazing to see what elements have been incorporated from our own provincial VIC’s. (Principal Christopher Ayo brought this idea back from Canada with input from Saronga and tourism faculty at NSCC).

Thank you to Katie and Jim for doing such an amazing job preparing us for this adventure! Yes we experienced power outages, cold showers, finicky toilets (and strange animal noises at night) but I wouldn’t change anything – it certainly put into perspective the things that we often take for granted. And yes by the end I can honestly say that a hot shower, running toilet and power were very much welcomed!

Thank you to our Tanzanian friends for welcoming us into your classrooms and for participating in our sessions. Thank you to all the students who shared their culture with us and allowed us to share ours with them. I strongly believe that the shared experience will make each of us a better teacher, facilitator and most importantly a better person.

Did the reality of being in Africa finally hit home? It sure did – in the wonderful memories of the people we met, the experiences we shared and the absolute beauty of Mikumi, Tanzania.

Lynn McDonagh Hughes
Operations Manager, Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:08 Archived in Tanzania

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