2016 Work-Study Trip


Trip Overview & Objectives

The goals of the work-study program are to

—Work side-by-side with teachers in the Bukwaya area schools to improve their ability to access teaching materials via the internet in their subject areas, with an ultimate goal of improving the learning outcomes of their students.
—Experience Tanzanian culture and way of life from the perspective of its people; and
—Understand the challenges and rewards of NGOs working in a developing country.
—Raise $1000 from friends and family to help pay for books the LCRC will be supplied with. TDS will support your efforts with a personal donation web page, and all donations are tax-deductible. We ask you make a starting donation of $100 towards your goal.

Who can go?LCRC Workday DA (82)

Volunteers from all occupations and locations are welcomed. The program is open to individuals in good health who are 18 years or older. Minors at least 13 years old may participate if accompanied by a parent or permanent guardian. This program will appeal in particular to individuals who are interested in development, NGOs, education, African affairs, poverty issues, communications, anthropology, sociology, economics, business, women’s studies, and Black studies. Maximum enrollment is 15 volunteers. Space is limited and qualified applicants will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

To secure a spot with the program 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.
  3. Make a 10% deposit payment of $200 by May 1. (The final payment in due May 15.)


When is it?

The program will officially begin on Saturday, June 11, 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania. Volunteers MUST depart the US by June 9th in order to arrive in Tanzania by June 10th. The program will end on June 25, 2016 with departure from Musoma to Mwanza airport, and arrival back in the US (or other destination) on Sunday, June 26, 2016.

What will we do?

Volunteers witness two elephants crossing the path on their safari.

Volunteers will spend the first few days in Arusha, exploring and visiting local NGO’s before making the journey across Northern Tanzania to Musoma. Travelers will be driven through Ngorongoro Crater and stop for lunch in Olduvai Gorge, before arriving at the entrance gates to the Serengeti, where they’ll safari and camp overnight in the park.

Once volunteers have arrived in Musoma, they’ll be matched with 3-4 high school teachers in a given subject area, e.g., physics. Your goal is to teach them how to surf the internet to find relevant materials to improve how they teach their courses. So if you have the physics teachers, perhaps you will guide them to the Hubble Space Telescope page and help them bookmark and print a picture or two to pass around their classrooms when they teach astronomy.

Travelers will have some free time to explore the local markets, interact with the locals and go on a boating excursion to Rukuba Island in Lake Victoria. This portion of the trip also includes an invitation to attend the grand opening of the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. This ceremony to reveal the culmination of Tanzania Development Support’s 5 year project is sure to be a grand celebration!

The trip will close with a farewell dinner with the various Tanzanian teachers and community partner’s volunteers will have had the pleasure of working with during their stay in Musoma. The following morning travelers will depart for their final destination, spending one night in Mwanza before flying back across Tanzania to Dar es Salaam, where flights will depart back to the U.S..

How much will it cost?

Epheta Retreat Center
Epheta, volunteer accomodations for the trip.

Trip Cost $2000 + airfare + optional add-ons*
Price includes:

  • Two weeks accommodations, incountry transportation and most meals while abroad
  • Visa to enter country
  • Safari and camping in Serengeti National Park
  • Rukuba Island excursion


*Optional add-ons: intensive Kiswahili language training May 28 and June 4 in Naperville, IL ($25) and/or an extra week visiting Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar ($475)


TDS Travel Program Director Kurt Thurmaier

PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Kurt Thurmaier is President of Tanzania Development Support, a US 501c3 NGO that raises funds to support development projects in the Mara Region of Tanzania. He and his wife Jeanine founded TDS in 2008 after returning from a trip to Tanzania. He co-led the first work-study trip with Jeanine. The 2016 program is the 5th TDS work-study program and we will continue construction of a library and community resource center in Nyegina Village, Tanzania.

Contact Kurt about the trip program at kthur@tdsnfp.org


General questions about TDS may be directed to info@tdsnfp.org.

Latest Travel Updates

Last Day, TZ18: Zanzibar Spice Farm and Beach

How hot WAS that pepper hanging on the plant? Jasmine found out in a hurry!

The last day of our 2018 Tanzania Study Abroad still had an educational component. The morning activity was touring a spice farm, a heritage from the days of the Sultan of Oman who ruled Zanzibar for many years because he created vast plantations of spices on the Zanzibar islands. The tour is in a cooperative farm that provides samples of the different spices that were brought to Zanzibar for cultivation, including cloves, cinnamon cardamon, pepper, vanilla, cacao and more. The guide offers samples of each plant and challenges guests to guess which spice it is. Jasmine Carey found out how hot that little green pepper (pilipili) really was…in a really big hurry…OOOweeeEE!

We finished the day at Mwembe Beach swimming in the Indian Ocean, then farewell dinner at the Africa House at seaside in Stonetown. Thursday the students fly back to the US, exhausted, elated, and eager to share their experiences. Family and friends…get ready!

Kayla King (course grad assistant) and Maalkik Phipps (TDS intern) toast the end of the 2018 course with fresh coconut milk.

A to Z with NGOs in Tanzania: Arusha to Zanzibar

Our final stop in our month long safari to learn about the role of NGOs in developing countries is exotic Zanzibar. An early morning (7am!) ferry to Stonetown on Monday (25th June) ended with a docking in pouring rain, walking the 2 blocks to the Zenji Hotel in the rain…then taking naps until lunch time! Then a walking tour with excellent history by our favorite guide, Daud; he gives in-depth and inciteful background on culture and politics as well as history as we walk the winding alleys of Stonetown. Finishing the day wandering and sampling fresh seafood and Zanzibar pancakes in the night market was a fun adventure.

At Chako, a social enterprise workshop in Zanzibar, women cut glass with an etch and candles. Very cool to watch.

Tuesday (26th June) has been the last class day for the course, We visited Chako (Swahili for “yours”) is a recycling social enterprise that reuses all kinds of glass bottles and employs women and youth to turn them into glasses, lamp shades, candle holders and more.

NIU students Jasmine and Jacob, and Chako executive director Christine, discuss Jasmine’s suggestion to use some fresh lemon juice to help remove labels from the recycled bottles.

They are the first business in Zanzibar to be registered as a World Fair Trade organization (in 2017). 



A short walk away is eQuipHub, a Canadian funded NGO that teaches youth (20-25) social entrepreneurship skills. There are so many possibilities for collaborations, and we shared our experiences working on the Career Pathways/4H project in Musoma.

NIU 2018 Tanzania study abroad students finish their last NGO seminar with Christine at eQuipHub, a Canadian funded NGO teaching social entrepreneurship skills to Zanzibar’s youth.



Final event for the day is an iftar dinner at the home of one of Mani’s aunts, which she hosted during Ramadan for the 2016 NIU students. Then the last pub administration seminar for 2018 at the rooftop bar of the Chavda House in Stonetown….big questions to ponder as students finish a month in East Africa. Projects, NGOs, social enterprises, the Serengeti…heads are full to the brim.

Good thing that are long hours of plane rides home for processing…and sleep….


Sunday (24 June 2018) we toured the East African slave port of Bagamoyo, also the administrative capitol of Tanganyika under German colonization before WWI. The Catholic museum on the slave trade is really well done, and worth the 2 hour drive north from Dar. We were also treated to the vibrant singing of the congregation during a Mass in the church. After that visit we headed to the nearby resort for a beach side lunch of kingfish, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. Why sit inside when you can eat delicious food at the seawall and enjoy the breeze and the view?

Ann Buchanan and Dr. T enjoy kingfish lunch at the beach wall in Bagamoyo.

Dar es Salaam NGOs and UDar Student Mixer

23 June 2018 Dar es Salaam

NIU students with Demere Kitunga at Soma Cafe.

We visited 2 NGOs on Saturday. The first is the Soma Book Café, a combo book store and NGO that promotes a reading culture, especially among children. We had an inspiring talk with the executive director, Demere Kitunga. Her struggles to succeed once again reveal the power of books as the key to reading; reading as the key to learning, and education as the key to escaping poverty. She will be a great asset in helping TDS purchase the best variety of books in Swahili and English for the Madaraka Nyerere Library in Nyegina.




We also had a chance to meet Consolata Lihepa, executive director of Turn Trash Into Art, an NGO dedicated to increasing reuse and recycling in Tanzania to deal with the overwhelming solid waste problems in the country, including burning trash in yards and along roadsides, and even burning tires to get rid of them…..bad stuff for the environment and the people nearby. Our juggled schedule meant that we ended up with her giving a talk on our tour bus. It was an inspiring and engaging conversation nevertheless, especially for our environmental studies students.

Consolata Lihepa, executive director of Turn Trash Into Art, discusses her project with NIU students on the touring bus in Dar.



We finished the day with a bites and drinks mixer at the University of Dar es Salaam. Hosted by Dr. Ernest Mallya, Department of Political Science, NIU students spent 2 lively hours engaged with graduate students in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Research in Public Policy (MRPP) programs. It could have gone on much longer, but U Dar students are taking exams and needed to get back to their studies.

NIUI students Jasmine Carey (MS ETRA) and Kayla King (MPA) chat with U of Dar students Faith and Rome at the student mixer on Saturday afternoon.

Project Summaries

NIU MPA student Kayla King developed a PPT show for the farewell dinner in Musoma. It has a quick summary of the work of each student group on the TDS projects underway. The link is to the file on Google Drive.

TZ18 Projects Summaries PPT

I don’t know if this link will work, but Kayla also took a video of my microscopes presentations to the secondary schools. She rotated the phone camera so you may need to tilt your device 90 degrees to view the files.

Video A: Microscopes Video A

Video B: Microscopes Video B


Farewells and Reunions

Pooja and Candy get a farewell pic with very friendly Afrilux staff.


Travel Day to Mwanza: after a delayed start and a very slow driver (1 hr longer than normal), we missed our tour of Bugango Hospital. So we spent a leisurely late afternoon and evening at the Tilapia Restaurant in Mwanza, famed for their fish dishes. The highlight, if one can call it that, was when a golden eagle swooped across the table and snatched the fish on Fr. Kazeri’s plate! Buzzed right past Thurmaier’s left ear and it happened in 2 seconds or less! It was quite the excitement. It kept coming back for more! The staff is apparently used to this and waved arms and then burned incense sticks on the railing to the lake, which helped for a while but not entirely.

A bonus was spending time with Mary Okeyo, former NIU Swahili teacher who obtained her MS. In Education from NIU in 2016. The best reunion was that one of her former students, Sierra Turner, is on the study abroad this year, and they were able to catch up after some long hugs!

Happy reunion of Sierra Turner and her NIU Swahili teacher, Mary Okeyo (MSED ’16) who is back in Mwanza with her family.

Also able to spend time with Mw. Boniface Luzangi, former headmaster of Nyegina Secondary, who is defending his master’s thesis today (21st June) about counseling and advising are better interventions for students who are struggling with mental health problems than the standard practice of treating them as discipline problems and using punishments.

Final Project Day of 2018 Trip

SWM President Peres and Secretary Anna pitch their new water filters for sale at the TZ18 farewell dinner (19Jun2018), with Frank Patrick (UMABU) translating.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018: This was the final project day for the 2018 TZ study abroad. Most students were in Nyegina for the meeting with the officers of UMABU, and then the presentation of the microscopes to the various secondary schools that had laboratories (but lack equipment). We provided at least 2 microscopes each to secondary schools in Tarime, Butiama, Nyakatende, Mugango, Etaro, Mkirira, and Nyegina.

Then the afternoon was spent finishing presentations for the farewell dinner, with about 25 invited guests, including partners that the students had been working with in their projects and others who have been supporting the projects and the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. Each student group made presentations, and the Safe Water Mugango Project included a sales pitch by the president and secretary of SWM (Peres and Anna). That was a big hit. They were very confident and clear about why each person in the audience should buy a filter. Also in the audience was the District Executive Director for Musoma Municipal Council, Flora Olongo. She was excited to see the women open their own business and promised to get them a booth in the Nane Nane Day exhibition, and another. Peres and Anna (and the NIU Students!) were very excited about this important marketing opportunity. It was a very good ending to the Musoma leg of the 2018 program.

Sunday was R&R

Sunday was an R&R day for the group. We have been going nonstop since landing in Nairobi. The day was relaxed and blessed with beautiful weather (75, mostly sunny skies, nice breeze, low humidity).

I spent the day supervising 2 technicians who came from Mwanza to repair the 6 microscopes damaged in transit to Musoma. The first 4 were quickly fixed, but the last 2 need more work. They are confident they can finish repairing them Monday morning.

Ended the day at Tembo Beach Hotel restaurant with discussion of final days in Musoma. Bonus was that Raymond Kisarula, the owner, was there and heard my voice. He came over to say hello. Raymond was instrumental in getting the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center finished, including the beautiful comfy chairs for reading newspapers (NOT the standard Musoma chair model that EVERYONE uses). He also got the computer labs building constructed in record time. I urged him to get out to Nyegina to see the kids coming into the library everyday to read books and study, especially the 4-6 year olds! Maybe on Tuesday….

Woman reads a magazine in the reading lounge at the M.Nyerere Library at Nyegina

Checking in the donated microscopes

The students each brought a 2nd checked bag filled with 2-5 microscopes for donation to area high schools with laboratories but no equipment. With 33 microscopes, we should be able to give 2-3 to several schools. The rough handling by the airlines resulted in about 5-6 needing some level of repair. We have found someone who can repair them (we hope). We will be inviting headmasters to the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center to receive their scopes next week. Many thanks to the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, volunteers at DeKalb High school who retrofitted them, and to the students for lugging them in airports, buses, and hotels!

Pictures of the presentation will be next week.

Kurt Thurmaier (aka Baba Anna) inspects a microscope brought by students as a 2nd checked bag.

Microfinance Groups Find the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center

Thursday was dedicated to learning about microfinance in Mara Region. We visited Tutejenge and FINCA offices in the morning, learning about how they lend money to borrowing groups and individuals (for FINCA). We also were able to sit in the beginning of a borrowing group’s weekly meeting with Tutejenge.

In the afternoon we met with borrowers at the M.Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center. About 45 borrowing groups from UMABU villages and members were represented and it was a fascinating experience. At the end of the session, the borrowers were invited into the library stacks area where they found the collection of books about business. As you can see from the picture, they were very interested in what was available to help them learn how to improve their businesses. They were eager to see what was there, and we invited them to please tell Moses, the librarian, what books they wanted to see added to the collection. TDS will do its best to meet those requests.

Nyerere LCRC librarian Moses Deogratius shows the UMABU borrowing group members the business collection.