Category Archives: Trip Updates

TDS Board Member to discuss technology with Tanzanian teachers

TDS Board Member to discuss technology with Tanzanian teachers

Jason Michnick, Tanzania Development Support Board Member and Economic Development Planner at the City of DeKalb, will be traveling to Tanzania in early June to meet with the teachers that participated in the 2016 TDS/NIU training and discuss how the training has impacted their efforts in the classroom. Continue Reading

TDS Trip Alumni Gather to Celebrate Fr. Kazeri

For the first time since Tanzania Development Support led the first Volunteer Work-Study and NIU Study Abroad in 2009, over 50 trip alumni gathered all together to celebrate with Fr. Leo Kazeri. Fr. Leo, a leader in the Nyegina community and long-time partner with TDS is visiting the Northern Illinois/ Southern Wisconsin area to celebrate… Continue Reading

Mixer of NIU and Saint Augustine Students (24 June)

Our stay in Mwanza was short yet very satisfying. Arriving after noon, we dropped bags at St. Dominic’s hostel on the lake before finding lunch. Then we headed to St. Augustine University in Mwanza where we met with a group of students from economics, sociology, and public relations/marketing. We had a lively and engaging discussion… Continue Reading

Thursday (23 June): Grand Opening of LCRC

It is hard to capture in words the emotion of stepping into the new Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center in Nyegina at the grand opening after the ribbon was cut and the doors opened. The shelves stocked with books, the children rushing to the children’s room to look at the books, the excitement… Continue Reading

Tuesday (21 June): Connecting Teachers to the Internet and Beyond

We had a terrific 2nd day of NIU students and TDS volunteers training area high school teachers on internet access and other computer skills. Most teachers from the Thursday session were back for further lessons today, and spent time learning EXCEL skills for tracking and computing grades, and Powerpoint for making presentations.        … Continue Reading

Monday (20 June): HIV and Vulnerable Children and Environmental Education

Monday was focused on vulnerable children and those with HIV. Community Alive has been serving these children for many years, and since children are on school vacation, we were able to mix with them (Bernadette Chatman is pictured).  We also visited Global Alliance-Musoma, on which Madaraka Nyerere serves as a board member, and is acting… Continue Reading

New Levels of Poverty: Lake Victoria Islands of Irigia and Rukuba

Yesterday we toured the Lake Victoria islands of Irigia and Rukuba. The welcome we received from the core communities on both islands was very warm. They don’t receive many visitors, especially Americans, and they were eager to show their progress. In fact, there are now some permanent structures on Irigia (a few shops and a… Continue Reading

First Teacher Training at LCRC

We had an absolutely fabulous “beyond expectations” day of NIU students and TDS volunteers training Bukwaya area high school teachers on how to use the Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC) computers to access the internet to improve student learning in their classrooms. We had designed a syllabus for gaining skills over 2 days of… Continue Reading

First Days in Musoma

Tuesday (14 June) was a very enriching day. We had a profitable morning discussion of the proposed governance and operations policies for the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC). Students raised very good questions about access, cost of services, and sustainability. After lunch in Nyegina, we had a chance for first time booting… Continue Reading

Getting Ready with Swahili Lessons

The 2016 TDS Work-Study/NIU Study Abroad to Tanzania got started this year with 2 Saturdays filled with Swahili language and culture lessons with Dr. Selena Mushi, from Northeastern Illinois University. Focus has been on gathering vocabulary and grammar so that each volunteer and student can introduce themselves in Swahili at the grand opening ceremony of… Continue Reading

Kili Climb 2016 Reflections by Baba Anna/Dr. Kurt

[These remarks were given by Dr. Thurmaier as part of the ceremony presenting the Nyegina community with the funds raised by the 2016 Kilimanjaro Climb.] There are few privileges that are above watching the sun rise from the top of the world’s highest free-standing mountain and Africa’s highest peak. This group of volunteers experienced this… Continue Reading

February 2nd: Safari through Serengeti via Old Dupai Gorge

The sunrise at the Ngorongoro Crater’s rim was beautiful, ending a peaceful night of camping in a nice campground looking into the crater. The sounds of lions “talking” in the night were far enough away, and the warm “pies” left as calling cards between tents in the campground confirmed that several animals had been through… Continue Reading

Ngorongoro Crater Safari is first reward after successful Kili Climb!

The 1st of February brought us into the Ngorongoro Crater (a World Heritage Site) for a wonderful tour of this ecosystem. The high point of  seeing 4 rhinoceros had stiff competition with lions, elephants, zebra and many other animal sightings. We camped on the crater’s rim at a nice campground, and the Trek2Kili chefs outdid… Continue Reading

Day 4 of Climbing

Everyone is still doing well. Today after breakfast our climbers successfully climbed the Barranco Wall. They went up 1000 feet using their hands to crawl through and over rocks. Surprise! There were 2 more steep hikes up other walls in the same 5 hours. Madonna noted “These details were not in the publicity!” The camp… Continue Reading

The Climb Begins

Our climbers were packed and out the hotel door by about 8:30 AM on Monday morning with all their gear and a little apprehension. First stop was a rendezvous with the porters who loaded and strapped an abundance of equipment and supplies onto the roof of the bus. There are 3 porters to every 1… Continue Reading

Kili Volunteers Learn about Mwangaza Center Programs

TDS Kili Climb volunteers (R-L) Mark Biernacki, Natalie Hoffman, and Tricia DeBoo, listen as one of the Mwangaza Center managers, Salome, explains programming to improve teacher education. John Kavishe, also a center manager, listens (left). The Mwangaza Center in Arusha is pioneering continuing education for Tanzanian teachers. TDS and UMABU are working with Mwangaza to… Continue Reading

Days in Dar End with Delightful Dinner

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.… Continue Reading

The Stratifications and Competition in Microfinance

Wednesday, June 10, focused on the stratifications and competition in microfinance for small business development in the Musoma area. We visited three microfinance lenders in the morning: FINCA (a pioneering international nonprofit), Tujijenge (recent for-profit microfinance lender partnered with KIVA.org), and Musoma SACCOS (a Tanzanian credit union with offices nationwide). We were able to compare… Continue Reading

Project Day for NIU Students

Tuesday, June 9, the NIU students scattered to work on different service projects. Three students are working with Jipe Moyo to help them evaluate their programming for street children who now have shelters, 4 students are working with the Musoma Chamber of Commerce to improve its efficacy and promote economic development, 3 are working with… Continue Reading

UMABU and Nyegina Secondary School Boards meet with NIU Students and TDS Volunteers

  Monday, June 8,  NIU students and TDS Board members and volunteers engaged in conversations with the UMABU Board and Nyegina Secondary School Board, discussing issues of sustainability and mission drift. The students enjoyed having the opportunity to gain perspective and insight into development and the education system in Musoma. The day ended with the… Continue Reading

Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti

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… Continue Reading

NIU Study Abroad Arrives at Musoma via Old Dupai and Serengeti…13 hours.

The 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… Continue Reading

Tanzania in Retrospect-Mark Biernacki’s Journey to Tanzania, Part I

Journey to Tanzania – Friday/Saturday, July 5/6, 2013 A seven hour flight to Amsterdam along with a five hour layover kicked things off. From there, a jammed packed plane took us to Nairobi for yet another seven hour flight. The international flavor was all around me as I sat squeezed in the plane’s coach section.… Continue Reading

Tanzania in Retrospect- Brandi

Tanzania, in retrospect: Part I June 26th, the day before we left for Tanzania. For the previous two weeks, I had been finishing last-minute tasks as the management intern for TDS. Working with our Tanzanian partner UMABU to confirm the hostel accommodations, travel arrangements, and the schedule changes had proved to be an exhausting, yet… Continue Reading

30th Wedding Anniversary

Sunday was for celebrating the 30th wedding anniversary of Kurt and Jeanine/Baba na Mama Anna. There was the 2 hour special Mass (9-11am) presided by Bishop Michael, followed by gift giving, choir performance, and lunch. Gifts to the happy couple included 2 live hens, which Jeanine graciously held for the couple. (They were donated to… Continue Reading

Work Day and Volunteer Island Visit

Today’s project work was a half day. We spent about an hour helping to construct the sign announcing the project (financing, contractor, etc) with each student pounding some nails, then erecting the sign. Later we were passing more sand with students, UMABU board members moving rocks, and NIU students Nelisha Gray and Lindsay Schoeder practicing… Continue Reading

Burgers in Musoma

The cross cultural training sometimes goes from US to Tanzania! We discovered the wonderful cafe behind the Anglican Church that actually serves hamburgers…on a bun….and they taste great! They have food for all kinds of other tasty food too (we have 3 vegetarians in our group). Burude Ndago, our principal logistics manager, had never tasted… Continue Reading

Microfinance around Musoma

The 2nd seminar day was focused on microfinance as a development tool. We visited three microfinance NGOs in the morning: FINCA, AFREDA, and SACCOS Musoma. We learned how they work and who are their clientele. In the afternoon, we met with 19 women from various microfinance groups that work with AFREDA and UMABU to develop… Continue Reading

Volunteers Arrived and Islands Visit

Good News! The TDS volunteer group arrived at Epheta in Musoma this evening, about 6pm. All their baggage came with them! They are tired but in good spirits. The student group spent the day on Lake Victoria, visiting two islands with fishing villages. There are many problems on these islands. One is supposed to be… Continue Reading

Last Language Class

Our last language class ended with students perfecting their introductory paragraphs and learning about the challenges of the Tanzanian education system. Standing next to me is Fr. Ed Gorczaty, director of Makoko Language School. In front of me are teachers Dismas, Daniel, and Sylvester. Left foreground is lead teacher Mw. Magdelena. The midterm exam for… Continue Reading

The Countdown Begins!

The countdown for the 2013 Tanzania Work-Study Program is racing ahead. The NIU and UW-Lacrosse students will leave for Tanzania with Prof. Thurmaier on Thursday, June 27. The students are busy writing their first papers and reflection letters. The clock is ticking down but the fundraising by the Work-Study volunteers (and a few students!) is… Continue Reading

Last day in Tanzania

Yesterday we had a shopping day at the market and the AIDS/HIV NGO. Evening was a big birthday bash for Anna and Nadia, with a huge cake and Nyegina School Choir original songs of celebration of their birthdays. Bishop Michael attended as well, and gave warm thanks for all of our work and our special… Continue Reading

They’re back!

We just returned from picking up the climbers. All arrived at the gate in relatively good shape and most were able to help the local economy by purchasing T-Shirts and art works from the vendors who congregate at the gate. They’re anxious to shower and celebrate. They had amazing success in reaching the summit by… Continue Reading

From the adventures of Leroy and Georgette

Not all of our volunteers are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Two, Georgette (who you’ve heard from in previous posts) and Leroy are travelling to sites throughout northern Tanzania. If you’ve joined us for past volunteer and study trips, you’ll be familiar with some of these places already. No calls from the climbers today, Wednesday June 6,… Continue Reading

Unforgettable Smiles

My trip to Tanzania was an unforgettable experience of contrasts and differences. The people we met were so welcoming that I felt a connection with them almost immediately. The children have an insatiable appetite for learning and are very knowledgeable despite the fact that they don’t own textbooks for school. The local government officials (with… Continue Reading