Tanzania – a Volunteer Adventure

Jambo! Hello from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city and a major commercial port on its Eastern coast. I arrived here late last night, after roughly 24 hours of travel, but I have no time to explore Dar. Today I will board another plane for a short flight to the Iringa region of Tanzania, followed by a bumpy two hour drive to the village of Ipalamwa where I will work with Global Volunteers (GV). There is no wifi in the village, so my efforts at communication will be severely limited. I have purchased a SIM card for my phone, but cell service is expected to be intermittent and not entirely reliable in this remote area of Tanzania. So I will share now what I have learned in advance about the village and the project, and hope I will be able to share more with you over the coming weeks.

Tanzania is the 13th largest country in Africa and is located on the eastern coast, along the Indian Ocean. It also incorporates several offshore islands, including Zanzibar. The country is the site of Africa’s highest and lowest points: Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,341 feet above sea level, and the floor of Lake Tanganyika, at 1,155 feet below sea level, respectively. Swahili is the prevalent language, but English is also spoken by some.

The village of Ipalamwa is located south of the capital of the Iringa region, which happens to be southeast of the Ruaha National Park. We will spend our weekends off on safari in Ruaha.

Global Volunteers has had a presence in Tanzania since 1987, but the Ipalamwa project is relatively new. Ipalamwa is rural and economically impoverished, but spiritually and culturally rich. While I will be staying in Ipalamwa, I will actually be working in Mkalanga, an even smaller and more remote village. It is so small that there is no information or pictures than I can share with you just yet.

Just as there are many reasons that children may not reach their potential, there are many aspects to GV’s Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) program. High rates of childhood stunting and mortality are often the result of the lack of good nutrition, hygiene, stimulation, and education. GV volunteers work with and under the direction of local people on a wide range of service projects*:

• Demonstrating proper hand washing with soap and water
• Teaching breast feeding, prenatal nutrition and fitness during pregnancy
• Engaging preschool children in learning activities and teaching classroom subjects to primary and secondary school students
• Providing baby stimulation and psychosocial support at caregiver home visits
• Teaching health education, hygiene and disease prevention to families
• Helping local tradesmen with light labor and construction
• Building hand-washing stations
• And more, depending upon monthly needs

I am beyond excited to meet the people of Ipalamwa and Mkalanga and I look forward to sharing their stories soon.


Kwaheri kwa Sasa
(Goodbye for now)

*Many of the photos of Ipalamwa and much of the information presented here is courtesy of Global Volunteers website. I hope to have my own to share with you shortly.


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