Blog Tanzania

Mambo from Jessica!



Mambo! Jessica here, a new intern at help2kids in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  I arrived just a couple weeks ago and will be assisting with management and volunteer coordination.  As stated in the Team Africa section of the website, I am coming by way of Florida in the U.S.  Having graduated with a degree in International Affairs, I have been interested in an experience such as this for while and am looking forward to getting further involved in the non-profit world and diving into the Dar es Salaam community.


Last week I went with Karina, the field manager, and some of the volunteers to our nursery school project in Kunduchi Beach, a high poverty area that is a much different feel than from where I am staying.  It’s a fishing village which is a little further away and there is a visible difference of lifestyle even from here in Mbezi Beach let alone home in the U.S.  The volunteers go there to teach, mostly English, but also sing songs and do other activities.  The kids are extremely excited when they see us come and shout, “Teacha, teacha!”  Even if they don’t know you they are more than happy to latch on and get some TLC (tender, loving care).  It’s a difficult environment because the education in the surrounding area is poor, but I feel that it is a rewarding challenge for those who are involved with that project because it is obviously needed.

I stayed after with the other volunteers to partake in the lunch that they arranged with the headmaster’s wife, Mama Futima, to cook special for us.  We stopped along the way so one of our volunteers, Jade, could make fresh chapatti (a food like naan or pita) on her last day here, per a previous request, and we also roamed the fish market as the tide rolled in to get fresh fish to add to our lunch.  It was interesting to watch the cooking process, especially because cookware and resources were limited, but she made it work and the food was delicious!  One of my favorite parts was staying for the “English Corner” which they hold every Tuesday and Wednesday in the school for fishermen who want to learn English.  There were quite a few who came and knew not very much English at all, so we had a bit of a rough start but ended pretty well with the help of a Swahili speaking afterschool teacher, and they seemed to be interested.  We also ended up playing bingo which they appeared to enjoy, as well as winning a baseball hat with “Switzerland” on it as a prize—now there’s another Swiss fan in Tanzania!

help2kids-07See what I mean? Personality 🙂 Our goofballs Baraka & Winstoni

It’s been really wonderful getting to spend so much time with the kids at the children’s home.  Although I have only been here a couple weeks now, I can see all of their little personalities, character traits, and talents.  I am really looking forward to seeing how they grow this upcoming year.  For instance, Dorie and Donaldi have been sponsored (yay!) and are now attending J.K. Nyere school, the private, English-speaking school a couple doors down.  I know that this will be very beneficial for the both of them, and I think they are proud of themselves—as they should be!  Also, our newest addition, Digna, has started to really warm up to the volunteers and is enjoying being the young, cute, sassy one; I feel like she’s blossomed even since my being here, so again it will be great to see that continue. I’m glad to see so much one-on-one tutoring with the volunteers, also.  For the longer term volunteers, this is a great program to directly impact a child’s education while also being afforded the opportunity to create a connection with the child. 

I have already seen the volunteers and the organization in action—uplifting Kunduchi, supporting the community, and continuing to enrich the children who call help2kids home.  I am excited for the adventures 2013 holds.

help2kids-08Beading with the volunteers–lots of fun 

Best wishes from Tanzania,

Jessica Isham
Intern at help2kids