Steamboat Mountain School Global Immersion Studies Blog

Steamboat Mountain School GIS Tanzania 5/2

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 2, 2016 4:50:06 PM
Maddie '17, Tanzania, 4/30/2016
Today we woke up near the base of Oldonyo Lengai, a striking volcano in the midst of rolling hills of Tanzania dotted with farms and Masai villages. We woke up early and had a breakfast of hot tea, crepes and eggs around six. Our campsite was in the middle of nowhere, and all we could see for miles was the vibrant green landscape interspersed with volcanic ash and rock from the most recent eruption in 2007. That morning, we prepared for what we thought was going to be a full day. We started our hike and soon found it to be way easier than originally expected. We wound through the foothills of the volcano, took in the breathtaking scenery and watched out for good footing in the crumbly volcanic rock. By the time we made it down and out of the foothills and found ourselves directly next the to volcano, we only had a short walk until our guide, who calls himself Teacher, told us that our walk was over. We stopped at the jeep road where our safari cars would pick us up around eleven and ate our lunch. This was a surprise to all of us, and many of us were confused when he said that we had made it to our destination, as we thought the hike was going to be long and grueling. After lunch, we got picked up by our safari cars and we made it to the next camp around  noon . This camp was located right next to a Masai village, and as soon as we stepped out of the car, swarms of women and children surrounded us, trying to sell us jewelry.

As we approached our campsite, it became apparent that this was definitely the nicest campsite we had been to. The showers were clean and for the most part weren't covered in insects. There was a large kitchen for the cooks, a clothes lines, a covered eating area and a place to buy soda. After a quick change of clothes and a snack, we decided to hike up to the nearby waterfall. The hike wasn't far, but it was beautiful and involved many river crossings. We were pretty much soaked by the time we made it to the waterfall itself. After not having showers for almost a week, swimming in the river made me feel like a new person. By the time we made it back to our campsite, it was only about  two thirty  in the afternoon, which left a lot of time for showers and much needed rest.

This being my second time in Tanzania within the past year, I came into this trip thinking I already had an understanding of the country and its dynamic culture. I should have guessed that this trip was going to wildly shift my understanding of Tanzania and its culture. Traveling with my school and on a GIS trip always gives me a different perspective of any place I have gone before. The connections that I have made with the people we have met along the way have deeply impacted me. Even though this is my fourth foreign trip, I am still always learning things about traveling. Every experience that I have while traveling is so valuable and something that I can take with me when I come back home, and I am so lucky to spend my last GIS trip in Tanzania.

Alia '17, Tanzania, 4/20/2016
I feel like time here is non-existent, as if time weren't a part of the equation of the everyday life. I usually look ahead and plan my future, but this trip has made me live in the moment more often. We have experienced so many different environments, ranging from the sandy shores of Lake Victoria, to the lion-filled Savannah, to the beautifully verdant waterfalls. The views take my breath away. The most important lesson I have learned is to embrace inter-connectedness. It is crucial we respect the campsite,    respect the lions while we're looking at them so close, leave no trace, and be aware of whatever is surrounding us. Coming here and not being able to speak Swahili opened the opportunity to communicate, not through language but through love, which they understood. Our guides are some of the most caring, compassionate, and genuinely interesting men I have ever met. The stereotype that all there is in Africa is hungry children is broken within my eyes. I observed when the Hadzabe hunted birds. I was with Alex the caring and attentive Masai that lead a 7 mile journey. I was in front of Lake Natron, which seemed so close yet so far. I was present, just  watching everything; I stepped back and only stepped in when I needed to. (If you know me, you know that I'm always in!) I will take the ability to step back and observe with me everywhere I go. They say the world is a book, and if you don't travel you've only read a page. I have turned over to a new chapter.
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania, Safari

Steamboat Mountain School GIS Tanzania 4/28

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 28, 2016 4:07:25 PM
The GIS Tanzania group is now on safari and on a short trek, which means we will get blog posts from them after their trek. We've heard from the leaders each day via the DeLorme satellite device and the group is doing well and they love being on Safari. Steamboat Mountain School's Director of Experiential Education, Margi Missling-Root, has been on this trek and tread upon Africa's amazing landscape. She says, "it is an incredible experience to walk with the Maasai, and see the brilliant arid yet mountainous region near the Serengeti. Soon our student travelers will be walking amongst the Acadia and the giant succulent trees- the Candalebra."
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Topics: Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania, Safari

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers Tanzania 4/27

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 27, 2016 10:59:03 AM
Siena '16, Tanzania, 4/26/2016
Since we are leaving  tomorrow, Paula, our coordinator,  gave us a sheet to fill out as a volunteer debrief. One of the questions was 'What was your most memorable experience at JBFC?' I have been sitting here looking out to Lake Victoria and listening to the girls play soccer and the sheep stroll by while trying to decide what to write about. It's hard to choose just one moment because there have been so many different kinds of experiences here. There have been times when I have realized how connected we all are to one another and challenges, such as when I learned how to stay awake during afternoon reading buddies.  

One memory from the past two weeks that really stands out is the first prayer time we experienced here. We had just arrived in our sweaty travel clothes.  I was watching every step I took like a hawk, imagining accidentally stepping on a snake. (Now that I have been here for two weeks and seen no snakes, I have taken steps less cautiously.)  I walked into the girls' dining room and found a seat on a couch in the back of the room. I was expecting to sit there and gather my own thoughts while the girls said some prayers in Swahili, but once everyone was in the room, a girl with a beautiful, strong voice started singing. I looked around the room trying to see who was singing. Before I could spot the singer all the other girls joined in and started clapping and drumming the tables. It seemed like within seconds the room was full of strong rhythms and song.  There was no time to think about my own thoughts of the previous days. I was too distracted by the togetherness of this whole scene and immediately wanted to learn the songs and join in on it. I started by just simply clapping, and it made me feel a part of the community already. 

Tonight we had our last prayer time.  Nikki and I helped lead it. We sat on a wooden bench in the front of the room and looked out to all the girls with shom we have spent the last two weeks. For the last time, we gathered together and sang songs.  Our group expressed our gratitude for JBFC by each of us standing up and saying what we were thankful for from our time here at JBFC. We said we were thankful for the relationships formed, the songs,  and the kind and welcoming hearts.  I called on my reading buddy, Dotto, to sing the last worship song.  She sang this beautiful song I haven't heard this whole time. Then the rest of the room chimed in and the voices rung. I looked out to the girls sitting in front of me and felt a huge feeling of happiness that we were able to meet them but also sad that we have to leave and that I am uncertain if we will see them in the future. 

Tomorrow morning we are getting up at 6:15 to go and watch the sunrise on Lake Victoria. Then we are leaving for our next Tanzanian adventure in the Serengeti.  I am excited to see more wildlife and spend time with new people whom we will meet along the way. We will do our best to keep you updated!

 

Noah '16, Tanzania, 4/25/2016
So far we have spent a week and a half at JBFC and, as impossible as it may sound, each day seems hotter than the last. Although the weather is difficult to put into words, it is something like taking a hot shower in a sauna on the sun.    Throughout the week, we have been learning about the incredible permaculture system that JBFC has implemented on their campus so that we can assist in providing the same resource for a local church. John, the pastor at the church, worked with JBFC to start the project after attending one of their permaculture seminars. Given the heat, I was moderately concerned when I was told that we would be digging the crop beds for the upcoming permaculture project.    Up to this point, our service projects had involved cooking meals and reading buddies with the girls.    This being my fourth GIS trip, however, I am aware that physical labor is often part of the cultural experience.    Today seemed to be the day that they would put our able bodied group to work.    We started bright and early and, accompanied by a few JBFC students as well as multiple members of the church, we embarked on the short journey to the designated plot of land, picked up our hoes, and got to work.    Sylvester, a promising young student, shared his wisdom of permaculture with us as he taught us how to use an A frame, the appropriate spacing for the beds, and proper digging technique. A couple hours into the digging, the blistering sun was still there to match the blisters on my hands, but I pushed through as I considered the incredible difference that our group was making in the lives of both the church members as well as the entire village of Kitongo.    Shortly after my realization, I looked to my side and noticed a girl half my age digging twice as fast as me.    Though the feeling of accomplishment remained the same, my pride in my digging abilities took a major blow.    Soon we were finished, but, like every day so far, tired and eager for a meal.  
 
 
Maddie celebrates her birthday in Tanzania! Happy Birthday, Maddie!
Steamboat Mountain School Students with their reading buddies at JBFC
 
 
Coco '16, Tanzania, 4/15/2015
 
Following a gruesome 48 hours of draining travel, I expected to arrive at JBFC and want to do nothing other than rest, but upon leaving the airport in Mwanza, I understood that this certainly would not be the case. Initially, I was captivated by the beauty belonging to the alien landscapes, but it didn't take long for me to realize that Tanzania's true beauty is elsewhere. In the people, I saw an unparalleled embrace for all kinds, stranger and acquaintance alike. As we drove past them on the streets, we received welcoming gestures from all who noticed us. In fact, I was so entranced by the amicable pedestrians that I felt disappointed to reach a stretch of road where no one walked. Among all, I was most impressed with the vibrant positivity which radiated throughout the town plazas. Given the circumstances in which locals were living, it was hard not to notice. The water was not clean. The homes were not intact. The clothes they wore were tattered. Yet the smiles unchanging on their faces gave me reason to believe they were some of the happiest people I had ever encountered. This observation held true, and was reinforced upon meeting the girls at JBFC. The girls were quick to make us feel at home and their enthusiasm was so strong that it was close to overwhelming. Here, too, I saw signs of previous hardship, but all of that was irrelevant to them. The bonds which held them together were cemented steadfast by true love and appreciation. All that the girls do shows us something more about who they really were and who they aspire to be. I was blown away by their ability to memorize things about us, while I stood lost, forgetful, and uncertain. They liked to laugh, learn, sing (which they did wonderfully), socialize, and mess with our minds by telling us playful lies. Bit by bit, I am memorizing the many names and faces, but hopefully for now they can forgive me for my sluggishness! My time at JBFC has been short, but it has been more than enough too keep me excited for the days to come, and I'm sure the others would agree!
 
Nicole '17, Tanzania, 4/15/2016
 
We've only been at JBFC for a week and I can already tell leaving the girls will be very difficult. The relationships that I've made in only four days are incredible. Every day the people here continue to surprise me with their high spirits, laughter, and compassion for each of us. I came to Tanzania expecting to fall in love with the girls at JBFC, but I didn't expect to also fall in love with the villagers, workers, and other students. The people here are genuinely kind and happy to show us their culture and provide a glimpse inside their lives.    Since my previous GIS trips have been to Spanish speaking countries, I have never been on a trip where I couldn't communicate with people I meet. I'm having a blast while figuring out ways to communicate and bond while using little to no words. I love making the local people laugh as I try to tell a story with massive hand gestures and the three Swahili words I know. Today while working in the kitchen I tried talking with the chefs. I introduced myself in Swahili to a woman named Deborah and I guess because of that she thought I knew much more than I did. She started going on and on in Swahili about who knows what. My eyes bugged out of my head as I tried to say, "hapana sijui Swahili" (no I don't know Swahili). She laughed and slowed down her words and used hand gestures. I could understand what she was saying by the tone of her voice and the way her face lifted with something happy and fell with something sad. She may not understand me, I know I don't fully understand her, but we are still connecting and sharing an experience. I can tell talking to her and other people means something to them as well as me since they give me long goodbye hugs when I leave to go to bed. The people here give those nice long hugs as if you are saying goodbye forever and need to share all the love in the moment, even though in reality you are going to see them again the next day. Out of all the hugs I have received while here, not one has been a shabby American side hug. I know going back home will be very different since I'm getting used to the affectionate ways of Tanzania and back home we don't show affection as much, but I hope to return and continue spreading the love like they do here in order to keep these happy emotions inside of me alive.
 
Icebreaker photo: More icebreakers with the girls of JBFC
 
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Topics: Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers Tanzania 4/26

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 26, 2016 11:06:01 AM
Noah '16, Tanzania, 4/25/2016
So far we have spent a week and a half at JBFC and, as impossible as it may sound, each day seems hotter than the last. Although the weather is difficult to put into words, it is something like taking a hot shower in a sauna on the sun.    Throughout the week, we have been learning about the incredible permaculture system that JBFC has implemented on their campus so that we can assist in providing the same resource for a local church. John, the pastor at the church, worked with JBFC to start the project after attending one of their permaculture seminars. Given the heat, I was moderately concerned when I was told that we would be digging the crop beds for the upcoming permaculture project.    Up to this point, our service projects had involved cooking meals and reading buddies with the girls.    This being my fourth GIS trip, however, I am aware that physical labor is often part of the cultural experience.    Today seemed to be the day that they would put our able bodied group to work.    We started bright and early and, accompanied by a few JBFC students as well as multiple members of the church, we embarked on the short journey to the designated plot of land, picked up our hoes, and got to work.    Sylvester, a promising young student, shared his wisdom of permaculture with us as he taught us how to use an A frame, the appropriate spacing for the beds, and proper digging technique. A couple hours into the digging, the blistering sun was still there to match the blisters on my hands, but I pushed through as I considered the incredible difference that our group was making in the lives of both the church members as well as the entire village of Kitongo.    Shortly after my realization, I looked to my side and noticed a girl half my age digging twice as fast as me.    Though the feeling of accomplishment remained the same, my pride in my digging abilities took a major blow.    Soon we were finished, but, like every day so far, tired and eager for a meal.  
 
 
Maddie celebrates her birthday in Tanzania! Happy Birthday, Maddie!
Steamboat Mountain School Students with their reading buddies at JBFC
 
 
Coco '16, Tanzania, 4/15/2015
 
Following a gruesome 48 hours of draining travel, I expected to arrive at JBFC and want to do nothing other than rest, but upon leaving the airport in Mwanza, I understood that this certainly would not be the case. Initially, I was captivated by the beauty belonging to the alien landscapes, but it didn't take long for me to realize that Tanzania's true beauty is elsewhere. In the people, I saw an unparalleled embrace for all kinds, stranger and acquaintance alike. As we drove past them on the streets, we received welcoming gestures from all who noticed us. In fact, I was so entranced by the amicable pedestrians that I felt disappointed to reach a stretch of road where no one walked. Among all, I was most impressed with the vibrant positivity which radiated throughout the town plazas. Given the circumstances in which locals were living, it was hard not to notice. The water was not clean. The homes were not intact. The clothes they wore were tattered. Yet the smiles unchanging on their faces gave me reason to believe they were some of the happiest people I had ever encountered. This observation held true, and was reinforced upon meeting the girls at JBFC. The girls were quick to make us feel at home and their enthusiasm was so strong that it was close to overwhelming. Here, too, I saw signs of previous hardship, but all of that was irrelevant to them. The bonds which held them together were cemented steadfast by true love and appreciation. All that the girls do shows us something more about who they really were and who they aspire to be. I was blown away by their ability to memorize things about us, while I stood lost, forgetful, and uncertain. They liked to laugh, learn, sing (which they did wonderfully), socialize, and mess with our minds by telling us playful lies. Bit by bit, I am memorizing the many names and faces, but hopefully for now they can forgive me for my sluggishness! My time at JBFC has been short, but it has been more than enough too keep me excited for the days to come, and I'm sure the others would agree!
 
Nicole '17, Tanzania, 4/15/2016
 
We've only been at JBFC for a week and I can already tell leaving the girls will be very difficult. The relationships that I've made in only four days are incredible. Every day the people here continue to surprise me with their high spirits, laughter, and compassion for each of us. I came to Tanzania expecting to fall in love with the girls at JBFC, but I didn't expect to also fall in love with the villagers, workers, and other students. The people here are genuinely kind and happy to show us their culture and provide a glimpse inside their lives.    Since my previous GIS trips have been to Spanish speaking countries, I have never been on a trip where I couldn't communicate with people I meet. I'm having a blast while figuring out ways to communicate and bond while using little to no words. I love making the local people laugh as I try to tell a story with massive hand gestures and the three Swahili words I know. Today while working in the kitchen I tried talking with the chefs. I introduced myself in Swahili to a woman named Deborah and I guess because of that she thought I knew much more than I did. She started going on and on in Swahili about who knows what. My eyes bugged out of my head as I tried to say, "hapana sijui Swahili" (no I don't know Swahili). She laughed and slowed down her words and used hand gestures. I could understand what she was saying by the tone of her voice and the way her face lifted with something happy and fell with something sad. She may not understand me, I know I don't fully understand her, but we are still connecting and sharing an experience. I can tell talking to her and other people means something to them as well as me since they give me long goodbye hugs when I leave to go to bed. The people here give those nice long hugs as if you are saying goodbye forever and need to share all the love in the moment, even though in reality you are going to see them again the next day. Out of all the hugs I have received while here, not one has been a shabby American side hug. I know going back home will be very different since I'm getting used to the affectionate ways of Tanzania and back home we don't show affection as much, but I hope to return and continue spreading the love like they do here in order to keep these happy emotions inside of me alive.
 
Icebreaker photo: More icebreakers with the girls of JBFC
 
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Topics: Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers report from Tanzania and JBFC

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 19, 2016 6:17:32 PM
Maddie, '16 celebrates her birthday in Tanzania! Happy Birthday, Maddie!
Steamboat Mountain School Students with their reading buddies at JBFC
 
 
Coco '16, Tanzania, 4/15/2015
 
Following a gruesome 48 hours of draining travel, I expected to arrive at JBFC and want to do nothing other than rest, but upon leaving the airport in Mwanza, I understood that this certainly would not be the case. Initially, I was captivated by the beauty belonging to the alien landscapes, but it didn't take long for me to realize that Tanzania's true beauty is elsewhere. In the people, I saw an unparalleled embrace for all kinds, stranger and acquaintance alike. As we drove past them on the streets, we received welcoming gestures from all who noticed us. In fact, I was so entranced by the amicable pedestrians that I felt disappointed to reach a stretch of road where no one walked. Among all, I was most impressed with the vibrant positivity which radiated throughout the town plazas. Given the circumstances in which locals were living, it was hard not to notice. The water was not clean. The homes were not intact. The clothes they wore were tattered. Yet the smiles unchanging on their faces gave me reason to believe they were some of the happiest people I had ever encountered. This observation held true, and was reinforced upon meeting the girls at JBFC. The girls were quick to make us feel at home and their enthusiasm was so strong that it was close to overwhelming. Here, too, I saw signs of previous hardship, but all of that was irrelevant to them. The bonds which held them together were cemented steadfast by true love and appreciation. All that the girls do shows us something more about who they really were and who they aspire to be. I was blown away by their ability to memorize things about us, while I stood lost, forgetful, and uncertain. They liked to laugh, learn, sing (which they did wonderfully), socialize, and mess with our minds by telling us playful lies. Bit by bit, I am memorizing the many names and faces, but hopefully for now they can forgive me for my sluggishness! My time at JBFC has been short, but it has been more than enough too keep me excited for the days to come, and I'm sure the others would agree!
 
Nicole '17, Tanzania, 4/15/2016
 
We've only been at JBFC for a week and I can already tell leaving the girls will be very difficult. The relationships that I've made in only four days are incredible. Every day the people here continue to surprise me with their high spirits, laughter, and compassion for each of us. I came to Tanzania expecting to fall in love with the girls at JBFC, but I didn't expect to also fall in love with the villagers, workers, and other students. The people here are genuinely kind and happy to show us their culture and provide a glimpse inside their lives.    Since my previous GIS trips have been to Spanish speaking countries, I have never been on a trip where I couldn't communicate with people I meet. I'm having a blast while figuring out ways to communicate and bond while using little to no words. I love making the local people laugh as I try to tell a story with massive hand gestures and the three Swahili words I know. Today while working in the kitchen I tried talking with the chefs. I introduced myself in Swahili to a woman named Deborah and I guess because of that she thought I knew much more than I did. She started going on and on in Swahili about who knows what. My eyes bugged out of my head as I tried to say, "hapana sijui Swahili" (no I don't know Swahili). She laughed and slowed down her words and used hand gestures. I could understand what she was saying by the tone of her voice and the way her face lifted with something happy and fell with something sad. She may not understand me, I know I don't fully understand her, but we are still connecting and sharing an experience. I can tell talking to her and other people means something to them as well as me since they give me long goodbye hugs when I leave to go to bed. The people here give those nice long hugs as if you are saying goodbye forever and need to share all the love in the moment, even though in reality you are going to see them again the next day. Out of all the hugs I have received while here, not one has been a shabby American side hug. I know going back home will be very different since I'm getting used to the affectionate ways of Tanzania and back home we don't show affection as much, but I hope to return and continue spreading the love like they do here in order to keep these happy emotions inside of me alive.
 
Icebreaker photo: More icebreakers with the girls of JBFC
 
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Topics: Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers report from Tanzania

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 16, 2016 11:45:50 PM
Tanzania, 4/15/2016
The folks at JBFC emailed some great photos of our students working in Tanzania. 
Photo captions:
Ice breaker games with the girls and Steamboat Mountain School faculty leader Charlie
Reading photo: Shahana and reading buddy
Photo of Hill: The first day working on the farm
Alex working with his reading buddy
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Topics: Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Tanzania