Klara volunteered at Grace Primary School in Sinza, Dar Es Salaam, for 1 month and arrived in Autumn 2016.
She is originally from Sweden and at the time she was working as a train conductor.
1. Why did you choose to volunteer?
My aim was to experience a different way of travelling. I wanted something more authentic, and didn't want to feel I was a tourist. Volunteering was the perfect way for me to do exactly that.
2. What was your first impression when you arrived?
I found incredible how hot it was in Tanzania, but I soon forgot about it and was left impressed by how welcoming and friendly people were. I felt at home very quickly.
3. What was your hosting situation like?
I lived in a host family with host mum, host dad, host brother, a friend who was travelling with and whom I was sharing the room with and three other volunteers.
Our big family was amazing and I was satisfied with the arrangement; they helped us out a lot and our host mom used to cook amazing food.
4. What did your typical day look like?
A typical day started at 5:30 a.m., when we had to get up to get ready for work.
We left the house at 6 a.m. and walked to the bus station; the bus ride used to take us around 10 minutes. It was hard to all fit in the bus because there were so many people in the morning, hence why we had to start the journey so early.
School started at 7 a.m. and at 9 a.m. we had breakfast. Lunch was at 12 p.m. and lessons ended at 3 p.m.
My role was to assist the teacher in grade one, although my schedule was very flexible. I could decide if I wanted to hold a lesson or help the teachers with the assignments. Most of the times I held the Math and English classes and sometimes I played, sang and danced with the kids.
5. What were you up to when you were not volunteering?
After work we would go to the mall to buy candies and have Wi-Fi-time. Otherwise, we would go to the beach or we would just go back home. In the evenings, we had dinner with our host family and watched a movie.
On weekends, we would spend time with our friends, go to the beach or other places where we would hang out. In the evenings, we used to have dinner at a bar and then go dancing at different clubs. It was so much fun!
6. What was the most difficult thing about your experience?
The most difficult thing was adapting to the different teaching method they use. In Tanzania, teachers often hit the kids that misbehave with a stick. It was a tough thing for me to witness and I struggled to accept that I could not do anything to change that.
7. What was the best thing about your experience?
I can’t say just one thing, there were too many! All the new friends we made, our host family, the kids at school, the beaches, the clubs, the project.. all of this contributed to an amazing experience.
8. What did you learn or gain from your volunteer placement?
I learned some Swahili and some teaching methods - not the stick part though.
I didn't expect that, but I probably learned more from the kids than they did from me.