How the girl from the German countryside came to Tanzania

My whole life I dreamt about traveling the world, getting to know other cultures, new people and this beautiful planet we live on. So after I graduated this January I took this opportunity and started looking for Volunteer-Projects all over the world.
Born to Learn was then introduced to me through a family friend. I went to their website and quickly decided that I wanted to become a part of this amazing project. So I booked a flight and more or less four weeks later I stepped out of the airplane at Kilimanjaro International Airport. This was the exact moment I knew that I was going to fall in love with this country, its people, culture and beautiful nature. You could just feel it in the air. Not only because of the 25 degree Celsius difference in temperature.
Our trusted driver Aloyce picked me up from the airport and immediately made me feel very welcome. He made sure I had enough water and even wifi so I could contact my family.

I arrived on a friday night, which I recommend for anyone thinking about coming here, so I had the weekend to get to know the other volunteers and get accustomed to the school ground before school started on monday.
From there on I got to know the great team of coordinators, workers and teachers that make Born to learn – Born to learn. The gardner Solanos who will teach you a lot of Kiswahili and how to plant tango (cucumber), Christina the amazing woman that takes care of us volunteers most of the time, Frank the music teacher with his enthusiastic lessons, Eli and Jorge the coordinators who will always have an ear for you or a laughter, whichever you prefer, the kids of course, the big ones and the small ones, with their curiosity, their smiles, hugs and jolly phonic songs (I mean it – you’ll sing them in no time – all the time), the other volunteers and so many more, they will all find a way into your heart and make your time very worthwhile. And of course Mama Sam, the woman who made all this possible.
In the five week I stayed, I learned soo much. I learned some Swahili words and sentences. I learned that Makande and Pilau taste really good. I learned that the word “Pole” can be used in so many different ways and I love it. I learned that the people here are very welcoming. I learned that I am like a proud mama when I tell the other volunteers about “my” five-year-olds, the class I stayed the most with. I learned that Tanzanian music is very energetic and makes you want to dance. I learned that every insect here is bigger and more colorful than in Germany. I learned that Baobab-trees are beautiful and their fruits taste sweet and very good in smoothies. I learned that elephants are actually very quiet animals. I learned that I don’t need as much as I think, I mostly want and that I am going to reduce that “wanting”. I learned that a ride on a DalaDala (a small bus with way too many people) can be very funny. I learned that trafic can look like total chaos but somehow work. I learned how coffee grows and that I should probably go to the gym more often (those mountains are no joke). I learned to be more patient. And I even learned a bit of Spanish.

But most of all I learned that this planet with all its people and cultures, animals and nature really is beautiful.
So a big thank you to everyone that made this experience so special.

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