Tanzania #7: Village Night

Addie Seegilson (’20) describes teaching an arts class to kindergarteners,  followed by sharing a meal with a family during Village Night as she adjusts to Tanzanian customs. 

The young kindergarteners squealed and smiled as we entered the room. Michael, Ellia, Mason, Christina, and I were given the job of teaching arts and crafts to the hyper youth of JBFC. I knew we had our work cut out for us when multiple girls began to grab at my arms and hands, getting in fights to be the center of my attention at a given moment. We collected flowers, leaves, and wood chips, and when the children began making their masks, another competition emerged: who could make the mask that impressed us most? I judged every mask in the room, repeating “so beautiful!” after each one was presented to me. Although we were all so tired by the end of the class, we had successfully handled the kindergarten students and taught them how to make masks.

The day continued and after an informative assembly and exciting basketball game, it was time for dinner. Since it was village night, the group prepared to walk to the homes of villagers to receive dinner and learn more about life here in Tanzania. We walked with our reading buddies, laughing and chatting as we made the journey to an experience that we would never forget. We were welcomed into the home of a carpenter, and he and his wife were delighted to have us there. I introduced myself in broken Swahili, the best that I could manage after our one lesson the day before. The woman smiled and sat us down for a feast. The meal began in a very different way then it does back home: the first course was donuts. Donut after donut was piled on to my plate, and since it is rude to decline food in the Tanzanian culture, I prepared for the demise of my stomach before the meal had even started. The next round began, and mounds of rice, beans, vegetables, chicken, fried chicken, and beef were served to me as I sat in my seat, already in a food coma from the donuts. By the end of the night, I could barely move. We trekked back to the guest house, dropping off our reading buddies at their dorms on the way back. All the girls swarmed and wrapped their arms around us, a loving end to another fulfilling day in Tanzania.

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