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Humanitarian trip to Tanzania

September 20, 2013

This summer we went to Arusha, Tanzania for two special weeks : we were about to live our first experience as volunteers.

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Our mission consisted in working in an orphanage in the countryside.  From 9am to 1pm, it was time for construction, we were building a big chicken coup by ourselves. We split into two different groups : some of us could go and play with the kids whereas the others kept building. During the afternoon, we could attend workshops about local way of life and culture.

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Tanzania … how to describe such a wonderful place? It’s a combination of varied landscapes, peaceful and welcoming inhabitants and surprising traditions. Within a short distance we have the feeling that we move from one world to another. We discovered it by doing a day safari or climbing the Mont Meru and passing through the jungle; but also by meeting a whole Maasaï village in the middle of nowhere.  Moreover we learned a few words in Kiswahili, the local language. It was funny to realize that our grammar is so different from theirs and that we already knew some words from the Lion King (for example “Hakuna Matata” means “everything is alright” and “simba” means “lion”). Furthermore, we found out that Tanzanian people attach a lot of importance to family and friendship. Plus in this country, time isn’t considered as a source of stress but more like a gift that we have to enjoy every day. As they always say, we must live “Pole pole” (calmly, serenely) because it’s Tanzanian time !

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It was rewarding to create links with children but also with the fourteen other volunteers from all around the world. Despite the fact that we were very far from home in such a different country, we didn’t feel homesick at all. It’s important to be aware that there is a huge gap between Europe and Africa so we need to leave our country with open-mindedness and keenness.

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Manon and Ornella

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