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Shana's Blog

International Service Learning Program, Health and Human Services 2011

This is our fourth day in Tanzania, getting here was an experience itself. We left for Halifax at 5am Friday morning and arrived in Dar Es Salaam at 2 pm Saturday Canadian time, after 2 sunsets and 3 hours of night. Tanzania is such an amazing place with so many great people. It’s amazing to walk down the street and everyone wants to shake your hand and greet you; it’s just such a welcoming place. Although I don’t feel like I’m in Africa I know I am not in Cape Breton anymore. The smells are different, the food, the people, the animals, the trees and especially the driving. In a million years I would have never thought I would get to Africa and now that I am here I just feel like I’m so lucky. I feel that this experience in just four days has opened my eyes, and my mind to so many different things, I’m eating things I have never eaten, I’m seeing things that are amazing, crazy and shocking and hearing stories from people whose passion is nothing like I have even experienced before. The people of Tanzania are so passionate and have so much pride in everything they do and when speaking to them even if they are speaking in Swahili you can feel that passion and it’s such a great, powerful thing. This is really a life changing experience and I am so happy to be here.

Shana Lawrence
Human Services, Marconi Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:51 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

Sally's Blog

International Service Learning Program, Health and Human Services 2011

My time in Tanzania has been full of ups and downs. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the last four days and it is one of the best experiences of my life. Everyday I see some things that break my heart and after I see something that mends it and make my spirit soar. I never thought I would come across a group of people as friendly and welcoming as Nova Scotians, but being in Dar es Salaam feels more like coming home than it feels like going visiting. I have seen many things here that are hard to process in my head and my heart but I’ve seen even more things that show the pride and hard working nature of the people of Tanzania.. This reminds me that just because I am a Canadian, Canada is not the standard that the world has to live up to. Some aspects of what I see may seem sub-par compared to things at home but I also see that if anything I have more than I need and can’t appreciate it enough. The most important lesson I will take home with me is that when it comes to Canada and Tanzania neither culture is better or worse, they’re just different and that’s a positive thing.

Sally Morgan
Human Services, Kingstec Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:47 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Tanzania 2011!

Karibuni Tanzania! The 2011 NSCC International Learning Program in Tanzania is on the ground and running! Students and faculty from the School of Health and Human Services, the IT Program and the Tourism Program have safely landed in Dar es Salaam and are already busy meeting new friends, integrating into a new culture and working hard on their various programs.

Nine students, two faculty and one Academic Chair from the School of Health and Human Services are working with a peer education organization in Dar es Salaam, Kimara Peer Educators. Kimara provides peer counselling and outreach programs for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in their community. The NSCC group is learning about how this type of support model works in Tanzania and what the challenges and rewards are for an NGO such as Kimara.

Four students and one faculty from the Tourism Program will be doing various activities around Tanzania in order to learn about the similarities and differences in the tourism industry compared to Nova Scotia's. The group will first head to our partner institution VETA Mikumi to spend time with tourism students and faculty before heading off to experience a variety of different options Tanzania has to offer to tourists. This program is part of the ongoing Education for Employment project on building capacity in tourism training funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. NSCC Dean of Organizational Learning, Claudine Lowry and Pictou Campus Academic Chair, Audrey Arseneau will also be working in Mikumi on this project with the four faculty from VETA Mikumi who will be traveling to Nova Scotia this summer to take part in the CCEDP program in Truro.

And finally, two students and two faculty from the Information Technology program will also be headed to VETA Mikumi on a pilot International Service Learning program. The NSCC group will work with staff at VETA to try and implement a proper infrastructure of networking and internet capability in Mikumi.

Stay tuned for blog entries from the various students and faculty as they move through their programs in Tanzania and experience international learning that will change their lives.

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:42 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)


sunny 32 °C

Its katie writing on my last night in Tanzania. Claudine left on Monday to return to Canada and I continued on to Morogoro with Christopher and Saronga from Mikumi and Emmanuel Ngallah from World Jet to participate in a symposium for all 12 ACCC Education For Employment projects in Tanzania. The meeting included presentations and discussions with representatives from VETA institutes, Canadian Colleges, relevant ministries, CIDA, and some reps from the private sector (but very few....). The symposium will present recommendations for the potential next phase of EFE projects in Tanzania and EFE in other countries.

The symposium was launched by the Minister of Education and Paul Brennan from ACCC. Paul talked about the crisis in the middle east in terms of a revolution of young unemployed people who need skills training and jobs (in the EFE model of course!). he made a compelling argument. Tanzania is a very peaceful country now, but the young population will not likely

We were invited to present our project as a case study and all four of us were able to share our perspectives on the value of the project, early sucesses and ongoing challenges. The presentation went very well and we had a few nice compliments, including one rep from the ministry of education who said she had heard that there were 'big changes at mikumi' and that they are the VTC to watch... nice to hear, but we still have lots of hard work to do!!

One of the the persistent themes in the symposium was the gap between the training institutions and the private sector. Our team has come up with an exciting pilot project to test a way to bridge that gap, and we shared it with the symposium and got some really good feedback. We are planning to have Saronga's second year students on a special field attachment at World Jet for two weeks prior to our tourism students/faculty arrival in May. They will be assigned with preparing to tour our group through the village museum and provide top level tour guiding baed on two weeks of research and preparation and exposure and experience with World Jet supervision. The Mikumi students will be evaluated by Emmanuel, Saronga and Adam (our NSCC tourism faculty leader in May) and will have a record of their performance to use in their portfolio for future employment opportunities. A simple idea, but will require commitment and input from Emmanuel, Saronga, our NSCC team and the students themselves of course. We will evaluate the pilot and share the results with the EFE teams for possible replication in their fields.

Exciting stuff, and a good way to end my time here. Was also great to reconnect with friends and colleagues from ACCC, the Marine Institute and NSAC and meet new people involved in similar projects. I think everyone feels motivated to continue, but now the hard work of continuing the momentum once thousands of kilometres are between us, knowing all our communication challenges and competing priorities.

Heading off to the airport, so I am signing off from Tanzania.

Posted by NSCC Intl 09:52 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

The taste of DOOM

33 °C

Hi, it’s Katie, blogging at the end of a busy week at VETA Mikumi.

Each day this week we have been visiting the classrooms of the Mikumi faculty who participated in CCEDP last summer to learn a bit more about their teaching challenges (eg large class sizes, limited resource materials and varying abilitiesof students in English) and how they are using some of the skills and techniques from NSCC to adapt them for use here.

Each day we have also had a group discussion with the faculty teachers who came to NSCC last year, and the four faculty teachers chosen to come to NSCC in June/July 2011, about how we can enhance the Mikumi faculty experience at NSCC and the experience for our CCEDP faculty and participants. We have been discussing expectations ( a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement about the learning that they have heard about from the four past participants and through exposure to our visiting faculty and students) and fears or concerns (some are worried about food and their unfamiliarity with some of the computer technology they may need to use for assignments, etc.). This is all really helpful to Claudine and I as we will work together with Ashley and Brian upon our return to make use of this feedback and plan for their arrival in June.

Claudine did some portfolio learning work with the faculty, and separately, with the students. In advance she told me she was not sure before the sessions how well it would connect to the Tanzanians culturally, but wanted to try it out with them. I helped out with the sessions and was really impressed by how engaged everyone was in the learning, and there was alot of laughter as well, always a good sign. After the sessions the students and faculty have become very comfortable asking us questions, looking for more information, and helping us learn Swahili etc. Many of the students and employees here are still talking about tourism students and NSCC faculty who have visited Mikumi over the past two years – they talk frequently about George, Tony, Wendy, Jim, Ashley, and our students.

I have also spent time with Chris Ayo, the principal and his management team, discussing their future goals and dreams for Mikumi – lots of exciting stuff. The mood here is optimistic, and there are several construction projects and renovations underway and in various stages of completion: eg the much anticipated visitors centre (Chris brought this idea back from Canada with input from Saronga and tourism faculty at NSCC) – expected to be finished in June 2011; computer lab (with computers and equipment purchased under our project – and to be complemented by Dave Arthur and Darlene Redmond’s IT service learning network project with two students in May 2011); new tourism classroom, new residence, etc. VETA Mikumi is able to raise funds for these projects with their entrepreneurial activities like their restaurant and accommodation units, and I hope we can continue to find a way to support them in this work.

Of course there are plenty of challenges as well. The power has been rationed (mostly out) for most of our time in Tanzania everywhere we have been. The country relies on hydroelectric power and we are just at the start of the rainy season and the water levels are not high enough to provide sufficient supply. VETA Mikumi is dependent on generators which are expensive to run on fuel. There is interest in renewable energy, but solar panels and other technology are not yet widely used.

I am using a Tanzanian mobile phone here which is great but there have been network issues so i am sometimes missing messages or calls. I have a dial-up wireless internet connection device but the line drops frequently and its tough to rely on email communication. On campus its ok to organize our meetings and activities because so much of our work is face to face, but it is sometimes tricky organizing our logistics for the next phase of our journey off campus, and to stay connected with my work at the college and in other parts of the world.

Yesterday after work Saronga took us on a “village safari”, to get a better idea of what it is like to live in the local area here. I was having such a good time walking around with him and listening to his stories I wiped out in a mud puddle and had the whole village (and Claudine) laughing. Luckily i was wearing my black NSCC International tshirt and my culturally appropriate yoga capris from joe fresh (see Zoran, that colour of tshirt can be useful).

I’m feeling a little under the weather today. Might be because I tasted a bit of “doom” (an aptly named ubiquitous insecticide with an unforgettable fragrance) on my toothbrush today, not the first time I’ve tasted Doom... Anyway hopefully I can survive to write at least one more blog before we leave Mikumi.

Posted by NSCC Intl 03:17 Archived in Tanzania Comments (1)

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