A wise man once proclaimed, “Some travel to see the difference, others travel to be the difference”. Though I agree with both aspects of the quote I must say studying abroad in Tanzania gave me both. I was able to draw sharp contrasts and interesting parallels while fully immersing myself in the culture through various channels. Our trip primarily focused on healthcare delivery in the two most prominent hospitals in the country’s capital - Dodoma. While Makole was a much calmer setting and filled with primarily pregnant women and HIV patients, General Hospital was a hub for intense treatment. I learned an immense amount of information by shadowing the midwifery students, doctors and nurses. They provided us with insight on the great health disparities that exist in their country and how the efforts to adapt to working with limited resources. Abroad we also visited the Village of Hope, sat in on some lectures at the University of Dodoma and also did a community assessment. Getting this opportunity to not only study but be immersed in the culture taught me the value of the quality of life I often take for granted in the United States.
At first, I was hesitant to apply for the trip because of lack of funds, but after I got a scholarship to study abroad anywhere in the world I knew it had to be somewhere that I not only studied, but also gave back in some form. I have wanted to see a different part of Africa for so long and I am so glad I got to do so while earning credits toward my major and minor. Before heading out to Tanzania I led a huge project with BlueFootPrintProject and through that I was able to raise over $500 and over 300 school supplies to donate to the Village of Hope. Knowing I was also help in doing my part was amazing because the children live in such dire conditions and often the government is in no shape to even care for their most vulnerable population - the children. For especially these kids because they lack their mothers and fathers and are also infected with HIV. Going to the orphanage was actually the highlight of my trip being able to play with the kids arouse a new part of me and I felt very warm inside. There were 2 children that stood out to me the most and ironically they were the 2 who would not leave my side - there laughs and the feeling of their little hands in mine is one that I will never forget.
I also enjoyed many thrills while abroad in Tanzania. First was my compatibility with my student counterpart - Siame who I will never forget. He was so eager to know everything about the states and just so hungry for knowledge. I’m happy I got a chance to meet him and we are still in contact now even in the states. Second, experiencing two live births for the first time was a breathtaking experience I will never forget. Just being able to witness a human physically birth another human in real life was surreal and amazing. Third, was everything about the culture, though it was different, it was enjoyable because we got to see how minimalist the people live, yet how much happier they actually are as a result. Fourth, were all the amazing students and faculty since everyone had their own interesting personality that contributed to the fun of the trip. Some members of the cohort will definitely be lifelong friends of mine. Finally, the Safari days were an experience that I think of very often. Everything from the scenery, to the animals, to just the basic beauty of nature was breathtaking and truly amusing. I saw some animals for the first time too! I saw elephants, flamingos and lions all for the first time in the Ngorongoro Conservative site.