Day 5: Homestay & Community Project in Tanzania

Students are Settling into Daily Tanzanian Life

The students from Notre Dame Academy have now been in their homestay for two nights. Mary, Adam, Joan, and Betty (trip leaders) all visited the families last night and got to see the students in action: cooking with their families, doing laundry by hand, playing games with their homestay brothers, and making bracelets with their homestay sisters. The students are really settling into daily Tanzanian life. It’s definitely a totally new experience. For some students, it’s the most rustic conditions they have ever stayed in, but their attitudes are amazing.

“The group is so much fun, super positive, very supportive of each other, and inclusive. It has been a fantastic situation thus far, and the days at the school have been really magical!” – Adam Aronovitz, Director, Global Routes

The students are now in the heart of the Global Routes experience!

Living and volunteering in a rural village is the cornerstone and highlight of a program with Global Routes. Meaningful, well-designed projects benefit the local community while opening a gateway through which trust, understanding and lasting connections are formed. Students hang up their traveling shoes and step into the rhythms of daily life in the community. This may include playing an afternoon game of soccer with local youth, working alongside the village school teacher, preparing dinner with their host mother and discovering home in another part of the world.

With the goal of supporting greater levels of sustainability and self-sufficiency worldwide, each Global Routes program has a primary service project that is designed by and implemented alongside community members. This year, the Notre Dame Students are helping to construct a school classroom. 

Now Hear it From the Students!

Dearest Rafikis,

Today is Day 2 on the worksite/in the homestays. Many of us experienced a new form of bathing (aka the bucket baths). Let us explain the process for a better visual: First, our Mama or Dada (sister) boils water – ranging in depth from a full bucket to about three inches (depends on Mama). Next, we somehow wet down to our fullest potential. Next, you suds up, then rinse, and wash hair with remaining water. The end. Never to be forgotten.

It’s been a small challenge to bond with our homestay families with the language barriers, but with our insanely creative skills, we are now on the road to become masters of charades. Many of us played with our homestay dadas and kakas and helped our….

Mamas with dinner. It was very interesting to have an abrupt awakening by the rains down in Africa (lol) on our tin roofs in the early asubini (morning). We very much enjoy seeing each other on the work site and helping the Fundis (carpenters). Over the two days we all figured out our strengths and weaknesses on the worksite. This includes: cement making, shoveling, carrying bricks, laying down cement, and dish washing. We all do our part and work very efficiently. We are very grateful for the Fundis’ patience as they teach us their trades. We also appreciate the delectable chai tea and lunch time. The thing we are most thankful for is seeing our hard work pay off and the progress being made. When…

we are not working hard (which is not very often) we find ourselves playing with the kids. Today, we had a big dance party with the kids on the hill looking over the beautiful fields and mountains of Africa. We are all adapting slowly but surely to the African culture and we all have a deeper appreciation for the small things in life.

Goodnight Gecko and don’t forget to Live, Laugh, and Love.

Kesho (tomorrow),

The Blog Masters

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More Videos & Photos!!!

The video below is the team building activity that the students did before they started on their community service project building a classroom. The activity helped the students and the carpenters (called Fundis) learn each others names and collaborate more cohesively.

The pictures below are the teams from today. Each team was connected with one or more Fundis – local carpenters who know the project and can help to give direction to the students.




A lot of the work done today was mixing cement by hand, moving and placing cinderblocks, pouring and mixing concrete, and using concrete to put the cinderblocks together.

The walls are going up super fast and it’s been an amazing team effort!!

Lunch break!

There were also four students who spent a couple hours teaching in the classroom – two students taught math and two taught English. They met with the principal of the school beforehand to come up with a game plan beforehand. 

Stay tuned for the next blog post at the end of the week!

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