Felix volunteered at Watoto Wetu in Kimara, Dar Es Salaam, for 3 months and arrived in Autumn 2016.
He is originally from Sweden and at the time he was a university student.
1. Why did you choose to volunteer?
At the time I was studying a course on peace and development issues at university, therefore it made sense for me to go to a developing country.
Another factor was that I always wanted to visit Africa, due to all the stories my parents told me about their time in Angola during the civil war.
2. What was your first impression when you arrived?
I was shocked by how open and happy people were despite not having much.
3. What was your hosting situation like?
I used to live with a host family, which was a great experience - they treated me like family.
4. What did your typical day look like?
My day at Watoto Wetu started at around 9 a.m., except Mondays, when I had class at 7 a.m. I taught Math to kids aged between 13 and 17; after that, I helped the children with their homework and played with the younger ones. Often, I would hang out at the project and talk to other volunteers.
I did not have a fixed schedule so my routine varied depending on which tasks I had to do.
5. What were you up to when you were not volunteering?
I used to go to the cinema, study at home to write my dissertation, watch movies and go to the beach and bars.
6. What was the most difficult thing about your experience?
Adapting to the different teaching style. In Sweden, we use “positive reinforcing” as a method of teaching, while in Tanzania, it is more about punishment - I struggled to accept it and to tolerate the fact that I could not do anything to change it.
7. What was the best thing about your experience?
My favourite thing was teaching the kids because they were always so eager to learn.
8. What did you learn or gain from your volunteer placement?
How to teach and be a teacher, how to have an open mind and accept different points of view, even if I don’t agree with them. An example is religion - I am not a religious person while most people in Tanzania are.