On the 29th of June, eight Grade 11 ISH students accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Gülzow journeyed to the beautiful East African country of Tanzania. The group was warmly welcomed by their local trip organisers, Everlasting Tours, who picked them up from Kilimanjaro Airport and took them to a beautiful lodge in Arusha city for an overnight stay. The following morning they left for the small town of Mbulu, where the ISH local partner school, Chief Sarwatt Secondary School is situated. There, they spent a week involved in many activities including the inauguration of a water tank, which was built from funds raised last year. They held formal and informal student interactions, participated in sports, visited the homes of counterparts, planted trees, decorated ‘the ISH Classroom’ and even attended some of the classes.
Chief Sarwatt Secondary School is a community-funded institution and heavily relies on donations. The school has a new focus in the development of the national curriculum and facilities because it has been elevated to a high school offering Form 5 and 6. This is equivalent to Grade 11 and 12. Since the commencement of Tanzania Project, members have collaborated with their peers at the secondary school to determine the next focus of development and at the last visit it was agreed that ISH would contribute towards the completion of the school library. The building is complete but still needs amenities, bookshelves and study resources. At the end of the week, ISH students handed over this year’s collection of funds to their partners. Over 5,000 Euros will be spent on the completion of the library. The group also visited Heilotu Primary School and delivered school stationery worth 500 Euros. Students spent time with the 4-13 year olds and delivered school stationery enough for each of the 700 students for this school year. Tanzania Project is very grateful to the ISH community for all their contributions towards these two schools.
On one of the afternoons, the group visited retired marathon champion, John Stephen Akwari at his home situated near the school. He represented Tanzania in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City but got injured and despite being written off by paramedics, he chose to wobble all the way to the finish line. His resilience and determination earned him fame - the greatest last place finish ever. He is considered a great motivator and known to inspire many people locally and internationally.
On the second week of the trip, the group did a variety of cultural tours, which included visiting two indigenous groups, the Hadza people who are the last hunters and gatherers of the region and the Dagoda people, who still live very traditional lives. The Hadza people demonstrated their skills to the students, especially how to hunt, gather wild fruits and retrieve honey from inside baobab trees and how to dance traditionally. The Datoga people who are black smiths demonstrated their skills in making jewelry and weapons and welcomed them to their traditional homesteads. A major highlight of trips to Tanzania is going on safaris to the amazing sprawling game reserves. This year, the group visited Tarangire National Park, which is famous for its large elephant population but also for its rich diversity of animals big and small. Our students witnessed an elephant cow and her twin calves, a rare phenomenon which happens only once in twenty years!
Before the project members left for Tanzania, they were invited to visit Tchibo, an international coffee producing company here in Hamburg city. There they got an understanding of how coffee beans are processed into retail products. In Tanzania, the students visited Machare Coffee Farm near the town of Moshi and saw how coffee is grown, selected, dried and finally packed and auctioned for export, coming full circle. Also nearby, they visited Usa River Rehabilitation Centre where handicapped people are taught life skills for self-reliance.
In the words of ISH students who traveled to Tanzania - it was a fantastic, once in a lifetime trip!
Tanzania project members can be commended for their participation in fundraising, volunteering for events, appreciation and understanding of a different world around them and remaining true to their commitment. A big thanks to the ISH community for the support in this venture and to students and staff of Heilotu Primary School, Chief Sarwatt Secondary School who hosted them well and they look forward to further future collaborations.