Africa Expat Living Tanzania Travel

Two Months of Smiles and Broken Swahili

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March 9, 2015

So as my two month anniversary of moving to Tanzania rolls around, I wanted to reflect on some of the highlights. Of course every moment since I began working at JBFC has been a thrill, but some projects stand out a bit more and feel worth writing home about.

Considering my job title is “Executive Assistant,” my job duties can be pretty random at times. In addition to keeping up with emails and other administrative duties, I get paid to do some fun stuff too.

Since arriving, I’ve taken ownership of the Sponsor a child program, and our first project was making magnets for the girls donors. This was one of my favorite days, consisting of having the girls decorate a small fridge magnet with their favorite Swahili word and its’ English translation. Needless to say, there was glitter everywhere!

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I have participated in kobo training, which are educational tablets that can be used for researching through an intranet encyclopedia (designed for schools in developing countries without internet access).

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I helped out with Penpals, which is a great cultural exchange and letter-writing practice for our 4th-6th grade students. The most touching and humbling part so far was reading a letter from one of our students, in which the girl responded to her American Penpals question “What did you get for Christmas?” with “I got joy and happiness.”

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As a part of our school partner program, I got to photograph “Flat Jackmond” around campus and record his adventures. I also got to read a dinosaur book made by the 2nd grade class at Sarah Lawrence, and interview the Joseph and Mary 2nd graders to send short bios back with the African Safari Animal book they made in response. Finally, I took over the Creative writing club, which has been a blast and right up my alley. So far we have covered color poems, metaphors and similes.

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Last week we got the the good news that one of our JBFC girls, Zai and a Joseph and Mary boy, Danny received their passports and visas for the 2015 US Fundraising trip, hence Zanny was born.

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On another exciting note, I have successfully taught a handful of JBFC girls the lyrics to Adele’s- “Someone like you” and Taylor Swift’s- “Enchanted.”

Swahili Update: I still can’t speak it. But I can say good morning! Habari za asubuhi 🙂

So there you have it, I’m learning more everyday, and hopefully imparting some useful knowledge on the kids too. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here will bring!

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Anna French

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, her coffee black, and watching Friends re-runs. These days you can catch her in her natural habitats wandering through forest roads in her van or hiking to a waterfall.

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