Ninth Grade Four Point: Tanzania!
Day 6 Update
March 22, 2018
The Big Five
Day 5 Update
March 21, 2018
We experienced a full day in the Serengeti today starting with an early morning game drive where we saw four of the “Big Five”. We hope to see a rhino tomorrow to complete the set.
We returned to our campsite for lunch, a brief rest, journaling, and an energizing game of Mass Paranoia before heading out on the evening game drive where we saw 6 newborn lion cubs and a giraffe that towered over the safari vehicle.
The evening consisted of a campfire, a fun check in question and a book discussion of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind followed by some “s’mores”.
Tomorrow we head through Ngorongoro Crater and finish back in Karatu to prepare for homestays that begin Friday.
Day 4 Update
March 20, 2018
Day 3 Update
March 19, 2018
Day 2 Update!
March 18, 2018
Tanzania Trip 2!
March 17, 2018 | Images from Day 1
How do you help your child to share more about the trip?
March 16, 2018
By the time you read this, you will be home with your child looking at pictures and hearing the stories of their time in Tanzania. Sometimes it is hard to even imagine what to ask to learn more about this experience. As trip leaders, we’ve created a question prompts for each part of the trip. We hope these help you learn more about your child’s time in Tanzania and what makes Gould a unique place.
Encourage looking at pictures and prompting your child to look at their journal to remember the trip.
Phase 1: Transition and Anticipation
How was checking in bags in Boston? What did you learn about carrying supplies over for the schools?
Tell me about Mama Simba. I saw her name on the blog. Who is she and what did you learn from her?
What was driving through Arusha like? What did the streets look like? the bikes? the people walking around? Can you compare it to anything I’ve seen?
How did you adapt to the food? the bathrooms? the water?
Phase 2: Community Design Project + Tumaini Secondary School
I heard you designed a name tag for your host. What did it look like? What did yours look like?
I do not really understand the project in that village but I saw a few pictures. Can you explain it to me?
What did your group design?
What was sleeping in the dorm like? Was there a dining hall? Did you go to a class?
Phase 3: Safari
Can we look at the safari pictures? Which one do you wish I could see myself?
Did the TSS students like camping?
How was food cooked? And, how did it get to the Serengeti campsite?
Were there many other safari cars? Other school trips? The Serengeti is a travel destination and I wonder if Tanzanian’s get to go there often.
Phase 4: Homestay in Karatu and Tumaini Primary School
Can you describe what you did from where dinner was being cooked to when you went to bed?
What do you wish you knew before homestay?
Do you think I would like to do a homestay in Karatu?
How does our house feel to you after the homestay?
Phase 5: Transition and Reflection
I heard you went to a place that employed disabled Tanzanians. What did you learn there?
Did you learn anything about the teachers who traveled with you?
When you were in the airport on the way home did it feel different because you were coming from a developing country to developed countries?
What do you know now that you wish you knew going into the trip?
Alec Newell and I want to thank you for supporting Gould’s Four Point program and trusting us to travel internationally with your child. As we debriefed each day, it was clear students were stretching their concept of the world and growing a sense of their capacity to be in a world larger than Gould. Shyness abated, confidence rose, open-mindedness grew, and a sense of team formed. As alums of the class of 1988, and veterans of the Four Point program ourselves, we felt the strength and commitment of Gould’s idea of learning by doing.
When you are welcomed into a home…
Sunday, March 11, 2018
The comfort food of the TEC volunteer house is homefries (15 potatoes) and French toast (10 eggs, 1 quart of milk, 1 sleeve of bread), so we were up early preparing to comfort all as they prepared for a homestay. As we drove around dropping off each student, it was clear how nervous our students were and how quickly the nerves abated as mothers and fathers welcomed the Gould student into their homes. Each were greeted with smiles of affection. Check back for pictures (to be uploaded soon) for each homestay drop off.
The home stays are an unbelievable opportunity to live inside the Tanzania culture–it is hard to understand as a 15 year old how special this chance is, but many people come to East Africa and never leave the safari car. The Gould students are fully accepted into homes, cared for as sons and daughters, and walk around with a student guide, free to ask questions, to meet new people, and to have a native Tanzanian of their age translate.
During homestay, we will visit each student each evening and spend the day at Tumaini Junior School working in the library.
Check back tomorrow, for an update on how the homestay is going!
Why a game drive?
Friday, March 9, 2018
It is a good question. Game drives, or safaris, ramble a car of travelers down two tracks surrounded by miles and miles of grassland dotted with various types of acacia trees. And in the hyper-connected world of teenagers, a game drive might be wasted on eyes more use to scrolling than gazing. But today, our game drive re-enforced how important it is spending time with people in nature, allowing conversations to ebb and flow, and letting the mind gaze and wander.
As I write to you, we are on a mid-afternoon break, waiting for the hight of day to pass. Students are showering off after playing safari baseball with Mr. Newell, some are catching up on journals, and others are waking up from a short nap. Our morning safari started early. Headlamps emerged from tents at 5:45 am and we were in safari cars at 6:30. And it was worth it!
Within two hours, we had seen lions rewarded for their hard work of an elephant kill, hippos running, a cheetah sunning, giraffes sauntering, lions rolling around sunning (23 total!!), and impalas fighting. I will not share pictures right now—check back later.
I will share that the conversations that happen in the safari cars are some of the richest I have ever heard in a classroom. Here, students practice asking their own questions and discovering how to answer them without the distractions of wi-fi. They work together to explore, explain, translate, confirm and wonder about their lives in Tanzania, in the USA, and in China and Japan.
We head off now for an evening hippo drive!
Sara and Alec
Off to the Serengeti!
Thursday, March 8, 2018
(From Ms. Shifrin and Mr. Newell)
As we write this post, we are in tents in the middle of the Serengeti.
All the students are tucked in, and headlamps are seen swinging from
the apex as they settle into new learning about their new tent mates.
The drive into the Serengeti campsite is an all-day journey where you
stop roadside to see giraffes, elephants, wildebeests, gazelles,
hippos, and lions. We had a very lucky day! And we saw where the first
footprints of humankind were found 3.2 million years ago!
Tomorrow we wake at 5:30 am for breakfast and a game drive to try and
find cats—lions, leopards, and cheetahs. As lucky as we all feel
to be here, we are also learning that we can do things that we did not
think we could—not being picky about food, tolerating bugs, setting
up tents quickly, taking time to walk through a museum. And, we are
learning to try and be connectors and be open to new relationships.
Good night from the Serengeti, where there is the noise of evening
birds, frogs, and animals in the distance.
-Sara and Alec
What’s Been Happening in Tanzania!
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
(From Ms. Shifrin)
Greetings to you all!
Tanzanians offer the warmest welcomes and we are finding out quickly
that as we try more to leaning into a new culture through food,
language, and sharing we are feeling more and more comfortable.
Our first greeting is from a lodge run by a powerful Tanzania educator
named Mama Simba. She ate breakfast with us and shared many important
parts of the Tanzanian culture, allowing students to ask questions and
be guided into a place that looks and feels very different than what
they are use to, but is filled with warmth and welcomes.
At TSS, the secondary school, we met out hosts and learned more about
them through designing a nametag based on learning more about each
other. By the end, we not only had a solid knowledge of names, but
also we had a sense of what people cared about, dreamed of, and wanted
others to know about them. At this point, we were tired, and happy to
be guests for the TSS talent show! It was a fun way to hear the
Tanzania music and see the Tanzanian dancers.
In the evening, we all settled into a large dorm hall and fell asleep
reflecting on how our lives are suddenly feeling easy. I believe we
all grew a gear of appreciation for what we have and recognizing that
‘stuff’ is sometimes clutter and gets in the way of who we are and who
we are striving to become.
The following day was busy! If the photos come through (the internet
has difficulty processing images) you will see we were out in a
community learning to interview residents and discovering what they
care about, what concerns them, and what they hope for in the future.
It was an amazing moment to realize that many, many things can
separate people, but when you ask with respect people will open up and
share stories. After we discussed our interviews, groups designed and
fabricated symbolic gifts for a person they interviewed. In many ways,
this experienced modeled the book they read, “The Boy Who Harnessed
the Wind” as they tried out the role of being community innovators.
In the evening, all the Tumaini students (33!) who have participated
in a meeting sharing what they have learned from the exchange. It was
a powerful testament to all the relationships built over the years.
And then, it was time for a dance party! And yes, we *all* danced and
it was awesome!
Today, we visited the Junior school and learned from an ex-pat
co-ordinator about how her work in high school / college and in
college athletics helped to prepare her for a job as a non-profit
co-ordinator in East Africa. These moments are powerful for young
students as they begin to imagine who they may become in this world.
The afternoon was spent walking through Karatu town, selecting fabric,
visiting a tailor for custom shirts and dresses, walking through the
monthly market and then settling in for a great western inspired
Tomorrow we head on safari with our new friends!
I will post as the internet allows. All is well and safe!
Pre-Trip: Are You Ready?! | Tuesday, February 27, 2018
In a few days, we’ll have ninth graders all over the world in China, Ecuador, and Tanzania as they take part in their first Gould Four Point experience. 16 students will be in Tanzania throughout the month learning about the country, staying with local families, visiting schools, and immersing themselves in the culture there. Students have been working on various topics related to their destinations in their History and English classes. They have also been preparing their journals, packing their bags, and thinking about all of the things they might learn on through this experience. Our older students who have already completed a Ninth Grade Four Point trip look back on their experience and say, “I learned more than I ever thought I would!”
We can’t wait to hear what this year’s students have to say about their experience.
Keep up to date with their trip by following this blog. Trip leaders will do their best to post updates regularly.