Ziva Jaksic - 2014 Program Participant
The amazing Ngorongoro crater
What attracted you to teaching abroad?
Because I am studying to be a teacher and teaching abroad is a phenomenal way of getting experience. I also love to travel and to see new cultures, try new things. This program offered me both!
Why did you choose African Impact?
I heard from a family friend about African Impact and about how great it is. I decided to google it up, and the Moshi project, where I went, was the first thing I saw. That was it, that is what I want! It offered all I ever wanted and more! The location and the possibilities are amazing as well as the teaching and community support!
What was your favorite part about Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro! It is an amazing site to witness every day! Also, it’s very close to a lot of lakes and national parks (Ngorongoro, Tarangeti, Serengeti), where you can go on safaris.
High school students performing a play about having stigma when infected with HIV
What made your program stand out?
It offers a wide range of teaching experience, from one to three years old all the way to adults. My favourite part, and also my favourite class, was the Maasai; they are just amazing, kind, and welcoming! You get a lot of support and help from the project coordinator Gill (the most amazing and energetic woman). So to conclude, this project is unique because of the people working there and the people living in Moshi.
When you arrived, what surprised you most?
The friendly people!
How supported did you feel by the local staff throughout your program?
They were amazing! The first week we just absorbed all the information, we got to feel the rhythm of the project. They helped us in any way they could. Also, they supported us during prep time for next week. We got a tour of the village Msaranga, where we lived and the town called Moshi. Also the Kiswahili lessons were amazing and we got all the information concerning the culture and what is acceptable and what not! I have never met such friendly and dedicated people.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Stayed for much longer! I stayed there for only a month! Yes only! If you are thinking of applying please do me a favour and stay for at least a month, if possible more! Because the first week you are just absorbing all the new information, and then it is nice to have a few weeks to actually work and get to know the people!
Describe what a typical day was like for you in Tanzania.
Classes start at 9:00 a.m. in the morning, so we wake up, eat breakfast, and then go to the school (it is really close to the house we sleep in). You teach for three hours (two classes) and then we go back to the house to have lunch. It is mostly local food cooked by our local cook. In the afternoon, you have some free time to read or take a nap or walk. Then we split up again, some to teach to high schools or colleges, some help on another project (painting the school). In the evening, we have dinner and we watch movies, play games.
The traditional Maasai jumping ceremony
What was your favorite part of volunteering in Tanzania aside from the normal day-to-day schedule of your program?
The two-day safari we took over the weekend was amazing! First, we went to Tarangeti National Park and the next day to Ngorongoro. Also going to Moshi, having a mango milkshake and looking at Kili!
What was your accommodation like?
I slept in a room with four beds, the beds are really wide and comfortable. The cleaner makes your bed every day and it's really like living in a hotel! I loved the common room, it's so colourful and full of comfortable sofas, where you can read.
How much has volunteering in Tanzania impacted your life at home?
Greatly! I am in love with Africa. Definitely got a different perspective on life here, where I come from. It makes you humble, and makes you realise that if the Maasai guards are guarding all night, with no sleep, and then they come to class at 9:00 a.m. in the morning tired but so motivated, we have nothing to complain about!
How will you use your experience as a volunteer in Africa in your career?
As a special education teacher, I benefited greatly. I think, as a teacher, you must grow and learn, to be better as a teacher and as a person, and this experience allowed me to grow.
How important do you think volunteering abroad is?
Very!!!! You get to learn and work in another culture, which is amazing!
Panorama of Tarangeti national park