Global Education

Clubs at South open doors to students to experience Africa

By Denebola
Published: November 2008

By Annie Orenstein

Started in 2006 by history teacher Andrew Thompson, the Newton Tanzania Collaborative (NTC) has been educating South students of all grades about Tanzania and its strong cultural history.

This year, the club hopes to make its first trip to Tanzania with 15 South students. The goal of the project is to “create a connection with Tanzania and make cultural connections between the two societies, sophomore Lena Warnke said.

The trip was organized by a volunteer agency called United Planet whose goal is to “understand, help, and respect people and communities beyond our physical borders, President and Co-founder David Santulli says in the mission statement. Since the organization was launched in 1989, United Planet volunteers have served from one week to one year in 50 countries and provided over 250,000 hours of international community service work in healthcare, education, women’s empowerment, orphan/street children care, construction, environmental conservation, teaching, disabled care and elderly care. NTC in collaboration with United Planet hopes to run a safe and enjoyable program for the kids.

Leaving this April vacation, Thompson, club coordinator Ross Lohr, and NTC hope to combine the leisure of touring Tanzania with volunteer work in a small village outside the Tanzanian capital of Dar Es Salaam. The group will be teaching English in a secondary school, comprised of 13-17 year olds.

“The fact that they are the same age as us makes the project much more exciting because we can easily relate to them, Warnke said.

The South students will also be teaching the villagers some popular sports in America, as well as learning about local sports. “I’m excited to teach them how to play games like football and play some of the sports that are popular in their village, freshman Dan Fitzpatrick said.

The consensus of the group is that they are most excited to learn and interact with kids of different cultures and to stay in touch with them even when they project is complete.

In fact, the group will soon be in contact with the Tanzanian students through various forms of technology.

“The fact that we will be able to talk to the kids before we go through things like texting and letters will make our meeting a lot more personal, Warnke said.

NTC hopes to combine their newfound knowledge of the Tanzanian culture with their volunteer efforts, in order to come away with new understanding of themselves as well as the world and communities around them.

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