Hi again! This past week, Andy and Erica's arrival to Dar es Salaam has brought everyone together as a family and I have loved working closely with them! Saturday, we all took the ferry to Kigamboni to visit the Kigamboni Community Center. The staff at the community center was extremely welcoming and eager to share their story and answer any questions. Seeing how this community center is able to impact children and families in the area, has really shown us that the vision we have for a community center in Bagamoyo is needed and could have a similar impact on the community. I must say the five-minute ferry ride from city center to Kigamboni was super beautiful! Later that evening, the whole gang packed up and headed to Bagamoyo for the week.
This week, Gladness, Erica, Rachael and I spent time working with students at Matimbwa and King'ani Secondary Schools. I worked with students in the biology lab testing everyday foods for the presence of starch and just getting to know them and their teachers better. It really warms my heart to know that so many students have an interest in the sciences and I am helping to further that interest with labs that involve everyday items like food or leaves. Rachael spent time continuing the conversation with students about gender socialization and gender roles. Then after the classroom, we all went outside and had fun doing some exercise and playing games with Madam Solider (this is our endearing nickname for Erica). Before we left, I had a moment with Sasamani sponsor student Miriam, who asked me for advice for studying biology and chemistry at the university level because she often doesn’t feel confident in her abilities. I assured her that if she studies hard, she can achieve anything. Another Sasamani sponsor student, Covina, told me she couldn’t stay to spend time with us because she had to study for an exam. Before we left, she gave me the tightest hug and told me she wanted to be just like me. What Miriam and Covina didn't know, is that they inspired me. To see children who have had difficulties of their own be so happy and focused on the future really gave me a push to finish strong at Connecticut College this fall. After we left Matimbwa, we headed to the Amani Orphanage Center. The students at Matimbwa sent cassava for the children at the orphanage. This exemplifies one of Sasamani's core values. The way sponsor students can pay us back is to pay the help forward to others in their community. At the orphanage we spent time playing with all the children and it really warmed my heart.
Rachael and I have really been involved in every part of Sasamani's mission this week and have loved every part of it. Bagamoyo and all the Sasamani students really have a special place in my heart!
Talk again soon,