Amizade Spring Semester in Tanzania Two weeks ago, we – a group of 8 students from universities across the United States—arrived in Kampala, Uganda. Each of us carrieda different story of how we found ourselves half-way across the world. As we have moved to our new home in rural Tanzania, our stories have begun to weave together, and we continue to braid in the new strands of all the people we meet.

From February until May this year, we will be living and learning in Karagwe, Tanzania as part of an Amizade Global Service-Learning course. We will be splitting our time here in Kayanga town between volunteering at our respective field placements, learning and speaking Kiswahili, eating three different kinds of bananas at every meal, and immersing ourselves in the community around us. In the first few weeks, we’ve already begun to independently learn and explore different aspects of life here, and sharing and reflecting on those experiences is a huge part of each day. Because of this, we decided as a group that we wanted to return to the practice of sharing and spreading information, messages, and lessons through the art of storytelling.

Too often a very singular story of Africa is told—the blazing sun, vast expanses of breathtakingly harsh land, struggling people, and The Lion King. We want to challenge this stereotypical image of Africa through the stories we collect and create here in Karagwe. Explaining the essence of an experience in a captivating fashion is a skill that we hope to cultivate throughout our semester here.

Just as Kiswahili was intended as part of Nyrere’s plan of Ujamaa to unite Tanzania through a common language and culture, we hope to connect with the people in Karagwe through the mutual sharing of stories. Just as important, we also want to be able to bring these stories to our communities back home in hopes of greater cross-cultural understanding.

Meet the Authors:

Juan Escudero

Sophomore
Duquesne University
Philosophy and Psychology
Field Placement: Mavuno

Joyce Keeley

Junior
Seattle Univeristy
International Studies
Field Placement: KVDPA/Kayanga Secondary School

Lane Kurkjian

Junior
Carnegie Mellon University
Civil Engineering
Field Placement: Womeda

Danny “SharoBaro” Plain

Senior
Colorado State University
Social Work
Field Placement: Kayanga Secondary School

Katie Wozniak

Sophomore
Duquesne University
Biochemistry
Field Placement: Hospital

Caroline Bailey

Junior
West Virginia University
Political Science and International Studies
Field Placement: Mavuno

John Borrelli

Sophomore
Duquesne University
Political Science
Field Placement: Fadeco

Kara Naseef

Junior
American University
International Studies
Field Placement: Womeda