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Tanzania | The Tanzania ECS Begins

February 29, 2016

On the first day of ECS, we discussed the plans for the journey to Tanzania. We conversed about how to address, communicate, and learn from the locals. It is important that we remember we are the foreigners in their country, and we need to be respectful, open-minded, and kind. Mr. Benson also shared with us certain norms that we might experience. For example, holding hands is a very common custom in Africa. Then we shared our hopes, fears, and expectations for the trip, and we talked about how as a group we need to behave. After the conversation, we all felt very confident about interacting with our homestay families.

We were also fortunate to have CSS alumnus and former study-abroad-in-Tanzania-college student Amaya Firestone teach us important phrases in Swahili. We learned how to greet people and how to ask important questions. Boy, do we have to practice! She also shared a few memories and experiences she had while studying in Tanzania.

Mr. Benson then led us in a discussion about the incorrect stereotypes associated with Africa. We shared how we need to clear our minds of these stereotypes in order to fully embrace the true culture of Tanzania.

To finish off the day, we watched a movie about the global water crisis. The movie discussed how the crisis involves both the sanitation of water and the shortage of water. As a world we are quickly using the last resources of water. 70% of our water usage is used in agriculture, 20% in industry, and 10% for personal use. The point from the movie that most affected our group was the debate over whether we should charge people for water. Water shortage, corruption in private sector, and clean water are issues every country has to face. The supply and cleanliness of water is a server issue in developing worlds. In developing countries, people (often usually women and children) have to walk many kilometers, taking hours just to collect daily water. Most of the time, the water they collect is contaminated and causes disease, which can lead to death, especially among children. We need to work together as a world to solve the many issues regarding water supply and cleanliness. This movie definitely put our service project we will complete in Tanzania into perspective. Hopefully, we will make a difference for the children who spend time collecting water rather than going to school.