Hugh in Tanzania

Hugh spent six months volunteering  in Tanzania. This is the story from one of those months.

February has been a month for settling; for becoming accustomed to the way of living that we have to continue for the next four months. It is a way of life that I find more and more appealing in spite of some of the things which I do find myself missing about the United Kingdom.

At the end of February with two months behind me I feel much more confident in all that I do here, from teaching in school to interacting with Tanzanians when I go to choir or go shopping. I believe the work at school is going well and I feel that I am making good progress with my History class as well as my English class. We are on schedule regarding the topics they must cover in the time we have and although I have had to be firm with my History group regarding the work that they need to do for me, I feel that they are now working hard and will be able to progress together. As well as teaching I am also preparing a lot of the exams for the students in the areas that I teach when they have their end of month and other tests. This has proved very useful for seeing the children’s progress and helping me in changing the way I teach to help them understand and develop further.

As well as the teaching itself I am pleased to report that Filip and I have become more involved in the musical side of things for school also. For the mass which the children have at the end of every month we were able to take some time with standards III, IV and V to teach them all a new English Hymn. This went well and we sang it twice in the mass and have been asked by the teacher who coordinates the music for such events if we could do this every month for the pupils. I am very glad that we have had this opportunity and hope to be able to continue this for the rest of our stay.

Living in community with the other Jesuit Volunteers from around the globe also continues to be a pleasure for me. Not only do we learn of their experiences here, which is much greater than ours as they have been here so much longer, but we are all becoming firm friends and often share comments about films or books that we have read and seen and also enjoy playing board games together, as well as the weekly community nights that we spend together.

February has helped me realise my gratitude, not only for what people are doing for me here but also for what people are doing and have done for me at home. In being in a completely new environment and being able to look upon what I have received at home from a distance, I am very grateful for the great efforts of many here to make us feel welcome and for the continuing friendships and support that I am receiving from home. I am also grateful for the little things that make living in the UK just that little bit easier; there being no need to sort a mosquito net every night, there being no need to continually swat insects that pester one in the damper evenings, the easy availability of food and the continual supply of hot water that is found in nearly every building in the British isles. None of what I am writing is in complaint, I am not moaning because of the above factors, far from it. It is because of them that I will not take anything for granted in the future and I think become a better person for it.

The weeks seems to pass more and more quickly now and a routine of life here has been firmly established. All seems to be going well and I am becoming more comfortable in my work and more relaxed in my rest too.

Posted on 14th December 2014