Reflecting on my time in Arusha

By: Shireen Ahad

arusha landscape

I have been working in Arusha, Tanzania for five weeks and sadly my time has come to an end. I worked at The Umoja Centre, an educational facility for disadvantaged youth aged 14 – 24 years. I facilitated a unit on Business Studies to two groups of students. There was limited time to prepare but I worked within the given curriculum framework and developed some useful teaching resources and strategies. The students are amazing and I was able to quickly develop a positive, open and friendly relationship, which allowed me to have helpful discussions with them.

I also assisted with organizing Umoja’s UN Day celebrations. It ran over several days and was a mix of learning and fun activities. It was well received by students and teachers. As a co-curricular activity for the students, I directed the Debate Club.  Students were given topics such as “Access to education is the most important MDG in Tanzania” and “Life in prison without parole is better than death sentence.” Students were very engaged and had some interesting discussions.

My experience in Arusha allowed me to work with a variety of people and show resilience and flexibly in what is sometimes a challenging work place. My favourite part of work was when I spent time with the students. They are fun, very eager to learn and motivated to be successful in life!

My homestay family in Arusha was absolutely amazing and took really good care of me. They were pretty well off, and it was not the typical modest living condition that I had been prepared for. Mama Mary spoke very good English, has two cars, a maid, a main house and a guest house. The maid cooked delicious fresh food every meal and was very helpful whenever I needed something. This was Mama Mary’s first time hosting volunteers and the family was very excited to have me as I was very excited for my first homestay experience. We all engaged in many stories about the Canadian and Tanzanian culture, food, language and politics. I was truly blessed to be part of their family in Arusha and I will miss them a lot.

Shireen Ahad worked as a Youth Ambassador in Arusha, Tanzania in 2014. To learn more about YCI’s Youth Ambassador programs, click here.


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