Pommern, Tanzania

Today we had our first real experience of the Pommern community. Edward took us around to meet the organizations that we will be supporting during our time here…what wonderful, welcoming people! Everyone we meet is excited to be able to practice their English while talking to us; sometimes they’re hard to understand, but it’s easy to be patient as you can tell they’re trying really hard. We went to the Secondary School, and took tea with the teachers and staff members there. They were all very curious what our strongest subjects were, in hopes that we’d be able to provide assistance in their classrooms. We were even able to introduce ourselves to a class of 14-19 year olds. The class had almost 50 students in it, and the students were so much more disciplined that I’ve ever seen students be in the United States. Students here understand that education is their key to success in life, and take it very seriously. I’m looking forward to working with the kids, teens, and young adults in the coming weeks! We then went to the primary school, but didn’t meet any kids or teachers there, because today is a national holiday celebrating and commemorating the first president of Tanzania.

On our way to the health clinic, Edward took us on a very special detour…to see his home! It was simple and small, but a beautiful place. I was so surprised to learn that, along with his job as the Global Volunteers country program manager, he also raises chickens and ducks, grows tomatoes and plantains, runs a small local shop AND his wife teaches full-time at the primary school! What a hard-working man…and he says that everyone here does more than one thing to make money; otherwise they can’t support themselves or their families! How incredible! We stopped by the clinic and met with the doctor and nurse there, and delivered Linda’s medical donations. Then we moved back to the mission house for lunch, which was delicious (as always)! I spent the afternoon rest time sorting the sports donations and inflating all the soccer balls and volleyballs. Edward was so thankful for all we brought…he told me that “I surprised his heart.” A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our donations; these kinds of items are treasured and loved here. I met a young boy who showed me what he currently uses to play soccer…it’s a ball of garbage tied together with twine. I was honestly so moved just thinking about how thankful these kids will be to have the equipment. We’re planning on spreading the donations through the community, and will post pictures as soon as I can. This afternoon we went to the Roman Catholic compound where the Italian volunteers work…they’re here for six months at a time so they speak Italian, English, AND Swahili!

I can’t wait until we actually get to start working tomorrow…it feels like we’ve been here for much longer than we have. It’s been pretty easy to fall into the Pommern routine, and living on “African time” has been therapeutic. People put more emphasis on connections between people than on being on time; it really contributes to a community where everyone knows each other and are willing to share and help. The society is almost primitive, with people having no running water, no electricity, and minimal to no technology. However, the connections between people really flourish as a result. I’m hoping this is just the beginning of a beautiful experience!

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Taking tea with the teachers and staff

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Inflating soccer balls and volleyballs and organizing shirt donations

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The library wall that we’ll be working to repair

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