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Tanzania


Julian Garcia

Organization: Episcopal Relief and Development
Dates: 6/13/2016 - 8/8/2016
Web link: http://www.episcopalrelief.org/

In Julian's own words

How I contributed:  I developed and administered a food security survey, which was distributed to three villages in the Dodoma region. Through the conduction of this survey, we investigated rural households' current grain and seed storage techniques, food diet diversity, and consumption restraints using various measures and scales. I also assisted with the teaching of grain storage workshops in several surrounding villages. Lastly, I established an affiliation for future Cornell students to choose internships with ERD and the Diocese of Central Tanganyika.

What I felt most challenged by:  The greatest difficulty during my internship involved the language barrier with a majority of people who I encountered on a daily basis. Furthermore, almost no individuals in the villages where I worked and lived spoke any English. Nonetheless, I tried to learn Swahili as actively as possible and never hesitated to ask questions. Secondly, religiosity was a major component of most people's daily life in Dodoma. Because religion was so integral to the culture, it created an isolating feeling for me sometimes, as I am not a particularly religious person. I still took up invites to attend mass with friends, which was a great way to meet other people and form more relationships in the community.

What I enjoyed most:  The most enjoyable aspect of my time in Tanzania was the unfamiliarity and newness of most of my daily encounters. Everything from the language, food, holidays, work culture, and so on were foreign, but interesting for me, making everyday an adventure. There is also an unbelievable amount of things to do in your free time in Tanzania from Zanzibar to the numerous national parks and reserves. There were certainly opportunities while I was there to work hard and play hard.

Would I recommend this experience: Absolutely. I could not have asked for anything more in my first international work experience. The people who I worked and lived with were always accommodating and willing to help me with any issues that I had. The professional and personal relationships that I made during my time in Tanzania were all extremely welcoming and influential, which made Dodoma feel like a home despite being thousands of miles away from home.

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Mallory Shipe

Organization: The Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children
Dates: 6/1/2016 - 7/11/2016
Web link: jbfc.com

In Mallory's own words

How I contributed:  I worked daily at the permaculture farm that provided food to the girl's home, school, and restaurant.

What I felt most challenged by:  Value differences between myself and the administration and the complicated relations that resulted from difficulties and difference in perspective.

What I enjoyed most:  Experiencing Tanzania and integrating into a beautiful community. 

Would I recommend this experience: Absolutely not - there are plenty of other opportunities in Tanzania, but JBFC is not an organization I would suggest that Cornell continues to participate with.

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Gelila Alemayehu

Organization: The Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children
Dates: 5/28/2016 - 8/10/2016
Web link: jbfc.com

In Gelila's own words

How I contributed:  I created a curriculum for three high school levels for the organization which has a school for local children on campus.  I created an adaptable curriculum for the student to use and the teachers to use as a guide.  I also tutored a few of the girls that lived on the campus refuge and developed a relationship with many of the girls.

What I felt most challenged by:  I was most challenged by the physical exhaustion caused by the data in the region and the consistent heat.  It affected my work and health.  The diet is mostly based on rice, beans, ugali, and limited greens.

What I enjoyed most:  I enjoyed the culture and the diversity in perceptions that I got to explore through conversations and other interactions with local Maasai tribesmen, the young girls, and the city dwellers. 

Would I recommend this experience: I would definitely recommend experiencing the real Tanzania and working closely with abused children as it provides valuable time for those young girls and can be a learning experience as a person working in development. 

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Lavannya Pulluveetil Barrera

Organization: The Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children
Dates: 6/1/2016 - 7/11/2016
Web link: jbfc.com

In Lavannya's own words

How I contributed:  I organized community projects for the local school children that would ultimately engage community members.

What I felt most challenged by:  The community was very welcoming but feeling like I could make genuine connections across cultural divides in a short amount of time was difficult.

What I enjoyed most:  Spending time with the JBFC girls and getting to know each of them personally.

Would I recommend this experience: I would not recommend this experience just based on where this organization is right now. It does not seem as though they have an established program for interns and need more organization to ensure that both parties benefit to the fullest extent.

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Emily Ambrose

Organization: AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center Eastern and Southern Africa
Dates: 6/21/2015 to 8/16/2015
Web page: http://avrdc.org/about-avrdc/new-locations/eastern-southern-africa/

In Emily's own words

How I contributed:  I was able to work with the Home Garden project to apply some of my previous experience with home gardens and vegetables to the work of AVRDC in their Home Garden Vegetable Seed Kit program. I was able to conduct research that would directly impact the project by structuring training and seed kits that would reflect the needs and challenges of the farmers.

What I felt most challenged by:  I felt that it was sometimes difficult for me to arrange time for me to go and do somethings or get to the office if I wasn't getting a ride with my other coworkers but this was only a few times as there was usually adequate transportation.

What I enjoyed most:  Getting to practice my Swahili was the greatest part of my trip.

Would I recommend this experience: II would definitely recommend AVRDC; there is a lot of opportunity for research at the world vegetable center and the staff is more than accommodating and very fun!! I would definitely send a more independent student that doesn't need everything structured but someone that can also be okay in taking director and working together with other researchers and staff in different projects related to vegetable crops and horticulture; there would probably be room for student who want to study markets also.

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Leanna Kelly

Organization: CIEE Tanzania Community Development, Language, and Culture
Dates: 1/9/2015 - 5/18/2015

In Leanna's own words

How I contributed:  The CIEE program involves three pieces, initially my group and I studied at a Tanzanian University working on our specific research projects and learning Swahili, then we traveled to the rural village of Mufindi to conduct our research projects, and finally we worked at the Igoda Children Village through the Mufindi Orphans NGO.  All of these things together helped me to contribure to the goal of CIEE, to conduct research, as well as to give back and contribute to the local people whom I was working with.  I conducted my research in a small village then translated my research paper into Swahili so it was available to the local people, and because my research was livestock based, several publications on keeping livestock in rural villages were also translated to Swahili and kept at the town offices for use by the community.  At the Igoda Children's Village we also worked to reorganize the preschool that the children from the orphanage as well as the surrounding communities attend.

What I felt most challenged by:  The language barrier in Tanzania was the most challenging.  I had studied Swalhili here at Cornell for two years prior to leaving but it still in no way prepared me to travel to a region where English is rarely, if ever, spoken.  It was difficult to begin to understand a culture that is so difficult to begin to understand a culture that is so different, but to not have the ability to get this culture explained to me in a language I could understand made it all the more challenging.

What I enjoyed most:  I really enjoyed the time I spent in my homestay.  For the month that I was out in the field Conducting my research I stayed with a family in the rural Village of Mufindi.  In my homestay I learned how to cook Tanzanian food, how to harvest crops, and became an expert in childcare.  During this time I became more proficient in Swahili and also started to learn the tribal language of Kihehe from my family.  I became close with the people of my village while I was at my homestay which gave me greater insight for my research project and connected me with many resources for my research.  My homestay family truly became like my second family, and my experience would not have been half of what it was without them. 

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend this program to anyone traveling to the developing world for the first time.  My experience would have been very overwhelming and nearly impossible had I tried to do it alone, the services CIEE provided me with gave me a sense of security, helped me with my Swahili and my research proposal and gave me the opportunity to travel throughout all of Tanzania with a group of my peers.  My time I spent with CIEE in Tanzania has empowered me to now feel safe traveling the developing world with on my own with my own agenda, but this program definitely helped to shape my view.  I can reflect and see now CIEE was a necessary first step to my experience in community development.

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Ashley Jernigan

Organization:  SIT Study Abroad Tanzania program
Dates: 1/22/2015 - 5/8/2015

In Ashley's own words

How I contributed:  I believe that my research findings were beneficial to Zanzibar's Ministry of Agriculture for their farmer field school program.

What I felt most challenged by: The research experience.  There were some communication issues involved.

What I enjoyed most:   Living in a new culture and gaining a deeper perspective on life.

Would I recommend this experience:  Definitely, it was a very fun well rounded program.  It taught me as much about life as it did academia.

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Abigail Augarten

Organization: Global Service Corps
Dates: 4-Jun-12 - 5-Aug-12

In Abigail's own words

How I contributed: Part of GSC's mission is to strengthen a cultural connection and understanding between the U.S. and Tanzania. Since I was able to speak some Swahili, this cultural exchange was very easy with my family, the staff, and the participants in our seminars. I also found that since I was able to form this connection with the students, I think they got more out of the seminars and will positively benefit from the program. Additionally, I was able to offer some suggestions to strengthen GSC's programs.

What I felt most challenged by: One personal challenge was working in the rural villages and doing hands on agricultural work, since I come from a suburban background and most of my farm experience has just been through classes. I felt a bit foolish teaching when I couldn't even identify the plants we were working with. As a result I relied on my Tanzanian coworkers and asked them a lot of questions so that I could learn from the experience, rather than feel defeated.

What I enjoyed most: I loved getting to know my homestay family and my Tanzanian coworkers. Becoming so close with them provided such an amazing cultural exchange and made my overall experience in Tanzania really fun and meaningful.

Would I recommend this experience: Although I had a great experience in Tanzania, there are probably organizations that have designed more effective programs.

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Gabriella DiGiovanni

Organization: Global Service Corps
Dates: 1-Jun-12 - 6-Aug-12

In Gabriella's own words

How I contributed: I think the best way that I contributed was through social interactions with both the staff, locals who we were training, and the people of Tanzania in general. I feel that making connections with people and sharing information about our respective cultures was the best way to gain awareness and make a difference in people's lives rather than the actual program itself. The friends I made and the conversations I had with people were the most life changing for me, and I feel that they had the most impact on others.

What I felt most challenged by: A personal challenge I faced was getting through culture shock. In the beginning I felt very nervous because I was unaware of my surroundings and everything was different, but once I became more comfortable with the city and with the staff I worked with, I soon felt right at home.

What I enjoyed most: I enjoyed getting to know all the people that were around me. The staff became some of my closest friends, and since we got to spend so much time together I got to learn so much about the Tanzanian culture. I loved camping in the villages because I felt so welcomed and safe, and could get to know the people at a deeper level.

Would I recommend this experience: I would absolutely recommend people to visit Tanzania, but would not recommend Global Service Corps as a program. It does not seem to have the best interest of the locals at heart, and also takes advantage of the volunteers.

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Samuel Ritholtz

Organization: Cornell Global Health Department
Dates: 20-May-12 - 20-Jul-12

In Samuel's own words

How I contributed: During my first four weeks in Tanzania, I was writing a case study with one other Cornell student and two Tanzanian medical students from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. Our case study was on the "Risky Sexual Behavior of Informally-Employed, Out of School Adolescents." We researched literature online and then conducted research in our communities. After those four weeks, I worked at a local NGO called Building a Caring Community (BCC) for another four weeks. BCC helps mothers with children with special needs, by running day care centers for their children and employing them to work there. They also run cooperatives that make goods to sell to tourists. At BCC, I taught the mothers behavior management skills for children with special needs, as I have had years of experience working with this population in the United States.

What I felt most challenged by: At times, it was difficult to accept and realize that we were here for such a short amount of time that there was only so little we could do. To better explain, for an organization to be self-sufficient it shouldn't need or rely on any temporary guest or intern. I wanted to desperately to become an integrated part of the time, but I realized the ethical boundaries that I had to follow.

What I enjoyed most: I really enjoyed working with the mothers and working with the adolescents. I loved getting to know them and hearing their stories and I like to believe that they enjoyed working with me. Whenever I talk about my time in the country, I find myself going back to stories or experiences that I shared with my Tanzanian peers.

Would I recommend this experience: Absolutely. The Cornell Global Health Program is an incredible program that is truly so well run. The first half research component and second half internship components gives you such strong perspectives and experiences in the field of international development. I learned so much about the field and so much about myself through the program. I was beyond prepared by the time I stepped foot in Moshi and I left a changed person. I could not recommend this summer experience enough to future IARD students.

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