Tuesday, May 16th


Jambo rafiki!
It has been another busy, but rewarding day here in Arusha. Our team split up again this morning with Jamie, Alissa, and Ryan riding along with the hospice team and Taylor, Matt, Kaylin, and I heading for a local primary school to perform HIV teaching. The school that we visited today was a huge contrast from yesterday’s as it was government run as opposed to private. Suye was the name of the school with more than 250 students. We performed our skit and answered questions for the 5th and 6th graders who welcomed us with a song. The difference between the students that we saw today and yesterday was obvious as these students grabbed for our pamphlets, fought each other for pencil prizes, and did not follow our directions to sit and listen. It was frustrating to experience as we did not feel respected or appreciated, but we talked later about how these kids don’t know anything better. Their home and school life is not structured enough, and they honestly don’t realize that how they treated us today was wrong. It broke our hearts at how desperate these boys and girls were for something as small as a pencil. The stark contrast between government and privately run schools was a shock to each of us.
The hospice team came back to the group with stories of HIV positive women and children who are living in conditions that are unimaginable to us. The single-room mud huts that house a widow and several children are commonly seen on these visits. In just our week here we have realized how much we have in America. We don’t have to think about where our next meal is coming from, who will care for our children when we die of HIV, and the quality of the education that we or our children are receiving. But once again, through all the poverty, poor health, and tragedy that is present in this country, we have seen the joy, hospitality, laughter, and love that Tanzanians exude each and every day. There is so much we have learned from the people here and we are excited to see what is yet to come.

-Kelsey De Jong