Zanzibar Spice! - June 28th, 2015

NIU Study Abroad 2015 Tanzania concluded with a spice farm tour and afternoon on a beautiful Zanzibar beach. Watch our farewell post here!

 

 

Empowering Women in Zanzibar - June 26th, 2015

 

Mrs. Ume Kufum (center) was the guest speaker for the Wednesday morning seminar. Dr. Thurmaier (left) and Fr. Leo Kazeri (right) guided the conversation with the students.

Mrs. Ume Kufum (center) was the guest speaker for the Wednesday morning seminar. Dr. Thurmaier (left) and Fr. Leo Kazeri (right) guided the conversation with the students.

Our penultimate NGO seminar in the 2015 NIU Study Abroad and TDS Work-Study Program was a discussion with Mrs. Ume Kufum, the secretary at Catalyst for Women Empowerment in Zanzibar (COWPZ), who spoke with NIU students on Wednesday. The students were very appreciative of her time, and her personal story was inspiring to all of us. It is a testament to the power of lifting women into positions of self-direction, raising their level of self-confidence, and watching their lives transformed.

Days in Dar End with Delightful Dinner - June 22nd, 2015

The NIU students and TDS board member Cynthia Nelson spent Sunday visiting Bagamoyo, the port for the East African Slave Trade, and today (Monday) we visited Haki Elimu (Tanzania’s premier education policy NGO) and the national library. We concluded our days in Dar with a delightful dinner hosted by Judge Steven Bwana and his family. Tomorrow we sail by ferry to Zanzibar!

In the beginning….then today! - June 18th, 2015

TZ15picsKT_044 The 2015 Tanzania Study Abroad class at NIU has come a long way since we first landed in Tanzania in May. This pic of Tiffany Powell introducing herself in Kiswahili language at Parents Day for Nyegina Secondary School on June 6 doesn’t convey the stress the students felt standing in front of over 500 parents and students to describe their families and studies at Northern Illinois University. On her left, Emily Stevens and Cody Sheriff are relieved they are done with this “examination” while on her right, Dillon Domke is intently trying to mentally recite his words since he is next.

Today is the last day in Musoma, and students are spending the day in final meetings with NGO stakeholders to finish their service projects and prepare to present their findings and options to various NGOs in Musoma and Mara Region at the Farewell Dinner tonight. That is their last course exam here, and they are busily working to make sure they pass with flying colors. The ambitious plans of eager students have been tempered by the realities of development work in real time, in the field. Their understanding of the role of NGOs in developing countries has deepened, and they have quickly realized how hard development work is, and why it takes dedication and commitment to find success.

We were blessed with a delicious dinner of Indian food cooked by Liz Mach, RN, who has dedicated her life to development in Tanzania, and who focuses on healthcare for women and children, fighting FGM, early marriages of girls, and other health problems. She is a role model for all of us, and with nearly 40 years of experience, she has taught us much in a short time. Thank you, Liz, for your hard work and dedication and service to humanity.

Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti - June 2nd, 2015

As the Northern Illinois Study Abroad students made their way to Musoma on Sunday afternoon, part of the 13-hour journey took them through Serengeti National Park. Because of the late rains in Tanzania this year, students witnessed the great migration of wildebeest heading north towards Kenya. Nearly 1.5 million wildebeest and about 400,000 zebras migrate annually following the rains in search of green vegetation and fresh water. The two cars of students, Dr. Thurmaier and Fa. Leo Kazeri were stopped by the migration just long enough to take a couple photos and videos.

NIU Study Abroad Arrives at Musoma via Old Dupai and Serengeti…13 hours. - June 1st, 2015

NIU@OldDupaiGorge1The 11 Tanzania Study Abroad students from Northern Illinois University landed in Arusha on Friday, May 29. They spent Saturday in Arusha at East Africa Ceramics (which is assisting TDS with a similar initiative for a women-owned business in Mugango), and at the Mwangaza Center for Teaching in Stop at Old Dupai Gorge for lunch was well worth it. Students liked the tour and the site. The picture shows the guide on far left and Fr. Leo Kazeri, our UMABU host and study abroad partner, on far right. Professor Thurmaier is taking the picture at the site where (in 1959) Mary Leakey discovered remains of the robust australopithecine Zinjanthropus boisei (now known as Paranthropus boisei). The specimen’s age of 1.75 million years radically altered the accepted ideas about the time scale of human evolution.

Had some thrills going through Serengeti National Park. First, we had to push our way through the great wildebeest and zebra migration….very cool; then 6 lions in a tree near the road, with a lioness crossing the road and walking next to the car before turning to go to the tree. Stop at Issenye with Fr. Kennedy Garusya was great food break. Finally arrived at Epheta Retreat Hostel about 9:15PM (13 hour trip). Students loved it, and are eager to start language training.