Travel Programs

Volunteer Trip

We are now accepting applications for the 2016 Summer Work-Study Trip. Visit the trip description page to learn more and fill out an application.


TDS Work-Study Program

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A “work-study” trip is an experience for travelers to volunteer in the communities they are traveling to and enhance their cultural understanding of the region by attending culture-related seminars. This type of travel experience allows the traveler to explore as part of the community.

This year’s two-week trip is set to begin on Saturday, June 11, 2016. TDS’s Work-Study Program combines a traveler’s desire to visit a foreign place and also give back in the community while they are there. This year will include working alongside teachers as they develop their computer skills, learning from locals about Tanzanian culture and a safari and camping in the Serengeti.

Learn more about the 2016 Work-Study Trip.

NIU Study Abroad Program


This study abroad course offered through Northern Illinois University explores the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the development of poor countries, with Tanzania as a case study framework. The primary instruction will be meetings and interactions with officers and clients from a variety of NGOs in Tanzania, operating at the local and national levels. Students will ground their observations and interactions in-country with assigned reading and discussion. A major aspect of the course is the experience of working with local teachers as they improve their computer literacy skills.

Learn more about the 2016 NIU Study Abroad.

Kili ClimbIMG_0028

Tanzania Development Support led a fundraiser to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the second time in January 2016. The purpose of the 2016 Kili Climb was to launch the second phase, the addition of two computer labs to the Library and Community Resource Center. The trip began with the climbing of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a 7 day experience. The second week included an overnight camping trip to Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and a drive across the Serengeti to deliver the money raised from the Kili Climb. Thanks to the dedicated volunteers, the 2016 fundraiser raised over $56,000 and construction of the computers labs was able to begin in late March.


Latest Travel Updates

Register for the 2018 Kili Climb

Join Tanzania Development Support as the organization hosts the 2018 Kili Climb on Feb. 2 to 14 in Tanzania to support children from the Bukwaya region while trekking the highest mountain in Africa.

The purpose of the climb is to raise $75,000 to buy about 15,000 books to fill the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC) and provide textbooks for many of the classrooms in local primary and secondary schools. The LCRC facility serves about 10,000 children and 100 primary and secondary teachers in the Bukwaya region.

The money raised from this climb will change their lives forever, helping them out of poverty and into healthier, longer, more satisfying lives.


The deadline to sign up for the Kili Climb is Saturday, Nov. 18. To register, you will need to:

  1. Submit an application form.
  2. Submit a signed liability waiver and code of conduct acknowledging personal risks of traveling in a developing country. (You will need to sign another waiver for Trek2Kili in Moshi.)
  3. Provide proof of travel insurance with minimum $10,000 evacuation coverage. (That should be purchased within 10 days of your first trip payment to maximize insurance benefits.)
  4. Make a deposit payment of $350 by Nov. 18, 2017, to Tanzania Development Support, 201 Thornbrook Road, DeKalb, Illinois 60115. Of the payment, $100 will be donated and published on your unique fundraising page.


The 2018 TDS Kili Climb volunteers will depart their US cities on Friday, Feb. 2, for Tanzania (probably through Amsterdam). On Saturday, Feb. 3, volunteers will rendezvous in the Amsterdam airport for the flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and arrive at about 9 p.m. in Tanzania, where our Trek2Kili guide, Azizi Msuya, will take us to the Bristol Cottage Hotel in Moshi. On Sunday, we will check last minute equipment needs, get a briefing on the climb, and rest.

Following an early breakfast on Monday, Feb. 4, we will head to the Kilimanjaro Park Gate to begin our adventure to 19,341 feet at Uhuru (Freedom) Peak! We will summit the highest peak in Africa on Saturday morning, Feb. 10. Click here for details on each day of the climb.

After the climb, we will celebrate at the exit gate and then celebrate again with our guides at the Masailand Lodge in Arusha. The next morning, Monday, Feb. 12, we will depart after an early breakfast for the Serengeti National Park, and stop at the world-famous Old Duvai Gorge where Mary Leakey made her famous discovery of ancient human settlements that revolutionized ideas of our human origins. On our way through the Serengeti, we will watch for lions and cheetahs, as well as giraffe, elephants, and the famous gnu (wildebeest) and zebra migrations. We will camp overnight in the park, and wake early on Tuesday, Feb. 13, for a sunrise game drive, followed by 10 a.m. breakfast and a slow drive to Fort Ikomo Gate, where we will leave the park and head to Musoma for our hostel.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, we will take a short ride at the end of our very long journey to Nyegina Village, where we will deliver the funds we have raised to the Bukwaya communities. It will be a joyous celebration you will never forget. As one of the 2012 TDS Kili Climb volunteers remarked afterwards, “Now I know why I climbed that mountain.”

Accommodations and transport from the Fort Ikomo gate and to Mwanza airport are local (Tanzanian) matching contributions for the Kili Climb fundraiser. Trek2Kili is also generously donating a free climb and safari for two students at Nyegina Secondary and a teacher; we are grateful for their support.

During our days on the mountain, Father Leo Kazeri will guide partners who do not wish to climb but want to be nearby for support and to go on the safari.


The total estimated cost for climbers is about $4,275. This includes the climbing package ($2,415 for everything associated with the 7-day climb, such as porter tips, lodging, and meals); the add-on package* ($495 for everything associated with the safari in the Serengeti, such as park fees and meals); and airfare ($1,365).

The total estimated cost for volunteers who do not wish to climb is about $2,680. This includes visits to various NGOs and other interesting sites in the Moshi-Arusha area ($820 for hotel, meals, transport, etc.); the add-on package* ($495 for everything associated with the safari in the Serengeti, such as park fees and meals); and airfare ($1,365).

* The add-on package is the only component of the trip the IRS will not treat as a charitable expense.


The current estimated airfare, round trip, from Chicago, Ill., to Tanzania and back is about $1,365, flying KLM through Amsterdam to Tanzania (and return). The price from other destinations in the U.S. will vary.

Everyone needs to land Saturday night, Feb. 3, at the Kilimanjaro airport (JRO). The hotel is about 45 minutes away and pre-arranged transport is essential. We prefer everyone join up in Amsterdam and fly the KLM leg (AMS-JRO) together. We have successfully used the services of Andy Sharma (USAVE TRAVEL) for the June 2016 work study trip, and we highly recommend using Andy so that flights can be coordinated for pickups and departures.


The most important goal of the 2018 Kili Climb is raising at least $75,000 to buy all those books!

To do that, we will create a fundraising page for each climber and partner. You will provide a brief blip explaining why you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the books, and your public plea for donations. Raise money by asking friends, family, and colleagues to donate to your climb. Set your fundraising target with a minimum goal of $1,000, to which you will contribute the first $100 (taken from your initial deposit). (It can be adjusted higher as you become more successful at raising funds!) Partners are also be asked to try to raise at least $1,000 for the books.


Discuss any health concerns about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with your physician. A yellow fever vaccine is required before you depart for Tanzania. In Illinois, the vaccine is only available at a county health department.


Email with questions and your intentions (even if tentative) as soon as possible.

We look forward to congratulating you on Uhuru Peak at the top of Africa on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018!

October newsletter: 2018 Kili Climb

October newsletter: 2018 Kili Climb

With a goal to buy 15,000 books for primary and secondary students, Tanzania Development Support is hosting the 2018 Kili Climb fundraiser. This is your chance to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s tallest mountain and help to raise $75,000 for books.

Now is the time to sign up for Dr. Thurmaier’s 3rd climb to the top of Kili on February 2nd. Following ascension from the 19,341-foot Uhuru (Freedom) Peak, climbers will deliver the donations to the Nyegina community and meet the people TDS strives to assist. The community will choose the literature for the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. The facility serves about 10,000 children and 100 primary and secondary teachers in the Bukwaya region.

During the trip, participants also will camp at the Serengeti National Park and tour the world-famous Old Duvai Gorge, where Mary Leakey discovered ancient human settlements that revolutionized ideas of our human origins.

We have overwhelming evidence that reading is fundamental to lifelong learning. The establishment of the library and resource center in 2016 that included computers and Internet has offered many new opportunities and up-to-date information for Nyegina girls and boys and their families. However, the library needs to be filled with textbooks that students can use in class and leisure books that families can check out and bring home with them. The money raised from the 2018 Kili Climb will change their lives forever by helping them out of poverty and creating a path for healthier and longer lives.

The co-leaders of the 2018 Kili Climb are Mr. Madaraka Nyerere – the son of Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere who was an avid reader known for emphasizing the importance of education – and Professor Kurt Thurmaier. The duo led the successful 2012 Kili Climb that raised more than $33,000 to start building the Library and Community Resource Center in Nyegina.

TDS doubled its collection to $60,000 in the 2016 climb that funded the construction of the computer lab wing to the resource center. The 2012 climb was Madaraka’s eighth climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for educational projects in Tanzania. In honor of his efforts and continuing support for the children and families in the Bukwaya region around Nyegina, the resource center has been named the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center.

The climbing package cost is $2415, which includes everything associated with the climb, including porter tips, lodging, and all meals. The total package cost for the 11 days in Tanzania is approximately $2910. That includes the $495 cost of an overnight camping safari in the Serengeti on the way to Nyegina from Kilimanjaro.

To get more information and to sign up for the climb, contact Dr. Kurt Thurmaier at The deadline to register is Nov. 18.

Final Days of 2016 NIU Study Abroad/TDS Work Study (June 30-July 1)

Thursday was a fun day for the group, tho not without some educational gains. Our morning was spent touring a Zanzibar spice farm, sniffing pieces of bark, berries, crushed leaves, and such to guess what kind of spice it would become. spiceFarmZanz1Jake Swick, Bernadette Chatman, and Alyssa Rodriguez are guessing the bark will become ________ (hint: used in lots of US baking, some sprinkle on their coffee, good to sprinkle on cereal to lower blood pressure)…Yes! Cinnamon!

The spice tour ended with lunch of spiced rice (pilau), fish, and fruits.

Then off to the Kwenda Beach for an afternoon of swimming in the Indian Ocean. LOTS of fun and sun (no sun burns). It was Leah Nicolini’s birthday, so she chose an excellent Ethiopian restaurant in Stonetown for our farewell meal.

ZanzKazeriFinalWords16aFriday morning’s seminar after breakfast addressed the enduring questions of the study abroad to Tanzania: how do you manage the tension between respecting cultural differences and embracing modernity, esp regarding cultural practices that subjugate girls and women (such as FGM)?
What do you think about the status of women and girls in Tanzania and how does it affect the country’s development? What ought to be the role of NGOs (domestic and international) in the development of Tanzania, accounting for the answers in the first 2 questions?

As is often the case, Fr.Leo Kazeri had the last word at this seminar, thanking the students for their participation in tutoring the teachers on how to access the internet for their teaching, challenging them to continue educating their friends and families about what they had seen and experienced, so people know what is developing in Tanzania. Next stop is the airport for flights home this afternoon to Chicago via Doha!! They are looking forward to the destination, tho not really the 24 hours they are traveling to get home…It’s part of the Tanzania Study Abroad/TDS Work Study experience.


Bagamoyo Slave Port Museum (25June)

Sunday was a leisurely drive north of Dar es Salaam to Bagamoyo, the slave port for the East African slave trade, the home of the first Christian church in Tanzania, and the administrative capital of the German colonial occupation. The Catholic Church Museum in Bagamoyo is really excellent, and the students spent a good hour working through the exhibits on the slave trade, the work of missionaries to abolish it, and the rise and fall of Bagamoyo as a town.

BeachVolbalBago1Lunch at the nearby Stella Maris resort took 2 hours to get our food, which was offset by walks at low tide out into the Indian Ocean for shells and to watch a group of fishermen hauling in their net, by hand, standing in the waters.
There was also time to get in a game of beach volleyball with some others at the resort. In the picture, NIU student Lisa Holland prepares to serve as Jake Swick, Bernadette Chatman, Leah Nicolini and U of Dar guest student Sillas (hand raised) prepares for her serve. Great fun!

Travel to Dar and UofDar Student Mixer (25 June)

We had a slow but uneventful check-in at the Mwanza airport, with the extra bags all working as planned on Fastjet. Smooth flight left an hour after Precision Air and landed in Dar before PA did; we were getting our last bags from baggage claim as PA passengers arrived…DSC03687

and it was half the cost (even after paying for checked bags).

Had to say goodbye to Mama Anna (Jeanine Thurmaier) and Mama Dustin (Mary Lenz) as the sisters continued from Dar to their flights home to Chicago on Sunday (via Doha). They promised to let us know how the hotel thing works in Doha when you have 4 hours to sleep…

Student group and remaining volunteers dropped our bags at the Landmark Hotel on Mandela Road (after 1 hour journey through traffic to get there from airport) and headed to U of Dar es Salaam for a mixer with NIU and UDar students, including a brief lecture by Political Science Associate Professor Ernest Mallya on the changes made by Tanzania’s new President Magufuli. The discussion among the students was frank and respectful, covering many aspects of educational systems in both countries, as well as energy policy and other policy topics while enjoying bites and drinks. Long day, and fulfilling…

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. DSC03664Then 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 comparing US and Tanzanian educational systems, and the implications of each for economic development. We learned much from each other, and students exchanged email and Facebook addresses to remain in contact. We had our farewell dinner with Padri Misana, Jeanine Thurmaier, and Mary Lenz at the lakeside Tilapia Restaurant. We were pleased to be joined by recent NIU graduate Mary Okeyo (M in Ed) and her husband John Ouma. The breeze kept mosquitoes away and the candles were bright enough to light our faces and dinners!

Wednesday (22 June)

Wednesday morning was freed to have a theory and practice seminar on the assigned readings for the NIU course, serendipitous because the Musoma local government canceled the scheduled seminar at the last minute. One has a sense they don’t like people asking them questions about lack of services or how the Tanzanian government is going to contribute to the library and teacher resource project…. In any case, the student discussion was rich and helped us all process what we have been reading from scholarly literature with what we have been seeing in the field here in rural Tanzania.

After lunch at Rehema Cafe (Anglican Church outreach) we visited the Lake Victoria Disability Center and students and volunteers were amazed at the fast progress that Dennis Maina and his staff have been making at their new campus (after leaving Musoma town center for more space). The number and scope of disabled Tanzanians being served by LVDC continues to expand, and the new dormitories they are building will be another catalyst for growth.

NewTZclothesGroupGiftsPleasant surprise coming back to Epheta was delivery of gifts from our Nyegina hosts: suits and dresses for each member of our group. We are able to wear these to the Grand Opening Ceremony of the library tomorrow in Nyegina.


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 director at the moment. Global Alliance focuses on vulnerable children and also the environment in which they live. In addition to supporting children with books, clothes, etc., they also drill wells, plant trees and promote intercropping to improve soils and increase land productivity.









Sunday (19 June): Singing and History Lessons

Sunday morning was an enriching experience, as we attended one of two church services officiated by Fr. Kazeri, an 8am at his home parish in Nyegina (with lots of high school students) and anther at 10:15 at Etaro. Many members had never attended a Roman Catholic service, but even those who were Roman Catholic had not experienced a service so full of beautiful, lively and participatory music and dance. There was so much energy in each service. Students and volunteers introduced themselves to the congregations at the end of each service as part of community announcements.

After lunch at Fr. Kazeri’s house, we headed to Butiama, ancestral and retirement home of Mw. President Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania. One of his sons, Madaraka, climbed Kilimanjaro with Kurt and Jeanine Thurmaier in 2012 to raise the first funds that started building the library and community resource center that is opening on Thursday (June 24, 2016). After visiting the President Nyerere Museum, we walked up the hill to have a guided tour by Madaraka of the former president’s home, which is beautifully built into the side of the mountain, with boulders integrated into the walls and floors, including a sitting room with petroglyphs as part of the ceiling/wall. It was a wonderful day, capped with a stop at a brand new Musoma supermarket that sold ice cream!

Jake Swick speaking with Madaraka in the president’s personal library.
NIU Student Lisa Holland cilmbs the millet bin for inspection as Madaraka Nyerere watches.


Breakfast with Swahili Lessons

Friday morning: we had our last Swahili language lesson with teacher Joyce Masso. Pictured is NIU student Lisa Holland responding to Masso’s request (in Swahili) to please pass the bread (makati). Students and volunteers made rapid progress with daily lessons at breakfast with Mw. Joyce.