DAVID

David volunteered at Grace Primary School in Sinza, Dar Es Salaam, for 5 weeks and arrived in Autumn 2014.
He is from Austria and at the time he was working as an air traffic controller.

1. Why did you choose to come volunteer?

Becoming a volunteer allowed me to combine two of my dreams: participating in a social project abroad and travelling to East Africa.

2. What was your first impression when you arrived?

As soon as I arrived, I realised how completely different Tanzania is to my 'western' home country - the way from the airport to my host family was like driving through another world.
The first words that come to mind when thinking about my first impression are density and chaos! There were so many people and the air was hot and humid.

3. What was your hosting situation like?

I stayed with a host family in the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam, composed of host dad, host mum and a little child.
I was happy to have my own room and bathroom. The family would give me breakfast and dinner every day, but I wouldn't join them for lunch as I was at school all day.
My host parents were quite friendly and welcoming - they gave me a key for the house, so I could come and go whenever I wanted.

4. What did your typical day look like?

On a typical day I would wake up at around 6 a.m. - it's incredible how already at that time the weather is hot and sunny! After breakfast I would go to school by bajaji (the Tanzanian version of a tuk tuk), bus or by family car.
As soon as I arrived at school, I had my first class of the day, before enjoying a second small breakfast. Classes were held between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and I would teach for about 3 to 4 hours.

5. What were you up to during your spare time?

One weekend I travelled to Arusha to explore the national parks of Northern Tanzania. On another weekend I visited Zanzibar instead.
In my spare time, I enjoyed the Tanzanian way of life: went shopping, spent time with my friends Rama & Severin or played with my host brother at home.

6. What was the most difficult thing about your experience?

I think the most difficult thing about this experience was accepting the cultural difference between my host father and I. He was very loving and caring, so much that he would get really worried about me when I used to go out in the evening or travel around the country - I believed that, although it came from a good place, it was eccessive at times.

7. What was the best thing about your experience?

I would definitely say that the best thing was experiencing first-hand such a different culture and lifestyle compared to Central Europe.
I was extremely pleased to have been placed alone with a host family, because this allowed me to integrate into the local life and become a member of the family after so little time.

8. What did you learn or gain from your volunteer placement?

I learned something very important: that we do not need much to be happy.
One day I saw a group of at least 40 children playing football with only one ball in a big football pitch - even though not all the kids could get close to the ball, I could see that everyone was having so much fun.


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