Adapting To Life In Zanzibar

By: Jacqualine Sommerfeld

Jacqualine photo 2

Arriving in Tanzania after a very long plane ride from Canada was surreal. A wave of heat hit me in the face as soon as I stepped outside. It is hot and it is beautiful. Zanzibar is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean. It is the place I will call home for the next 5 weeks.

Living in a small village has been a major adjustment. I think I am still going through a bit of culture shock. The biggest difference is living in a Muslim community. I have had to learn a lot about what is culturally acceptable, and I have put forth an effort to be respectable. My homestay family is great. I was actually surprised that a lot of them speak English. Although, I am trying to learn Kiswahili, it is always nice to be able to communicate with them in English if there is something important I need to get across.

Jacqualine photo 1

I started teaching classes at Labayka last week. One challenge I have faced is the fact that the project I am working on is very open-ended. Initially, I didn’t know exactly what I should teach or what had been taught already. Because of this, I was stressed out when starting to plan my lessons, as I had never taught a class before, let alone plan a lesson! Over time, I realized that I need to focus on the skills and expertise that I have, and use them to the best of my ability. I have also learned that it is best to go with the flow.

The students are really awesome and when I am stressed out about all of the problems that I have to face I try to think about them, and how important my time here is. So, basically I am making it work. I am here to do a job and make a difference, so that is what I am going to try and do.

Jacqualine is a YCI Youth Ambassador currently working in Tanzania. Check out our upcoming Ambassador projects in Ghana and Tanzania in our program calendar!


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