Family life in rural Tanzania

Homestay Family

Family life in rural Tanzania

Written by Danielle Haas, 2o14 East Africa Youth in Action

DSCN0346While volunteering and staying in the village Ngongongare,  Tanzania, we had the opportunity to stay with three generous families who shared their homes and welcomed us with open arms for three nights. Yasmin and myself had a great experience with our family, even though the first night was awkward because of the language barrier, but after learning the uncle knows decent English, we went for a walk and he taught us some words in Kiswahili, we got comfortable and was a great experience. We also got a tour of the area, met some neighbours and got to know the family members. The kids were shy, but sweet, Bibi (the Grandmother) was ninety years old, also very sweet and very welcoming. Every night and every morning we would greet Bibi, and she always had a smile for us! The next two nights we got to help out with preparing supper, cutting up the freshest chicken we have tasted, and the veggies. While waiting for supper, which we always ate after nine o’clock at night, we played cards with the family, they taught us the one game they knew, which was basically Uno, but with regular playing cards.

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Even though my own family is half way around the world, in Manitoba, Canada, and I live and experienced two totally different cultures, I can see similar family dynamics between my temporary Tanzanian family and my own. The mother was the loving and caring one, the Uncle (father in my case) was the one who helped with supper and was very talkative with the guests and the younger siblings (cousins in my case) were shy but interested in the new house guests. The Saturday morning, we had to say good-bye to the family and took many pictures with everyone in the household. Before we left, they surprised us with kangas as a gift from the whole family, which shows how kind they all were.

The experience of the homestays gave us a taste of what it was like living in a different culture in a developing country. I personally think that others and myself take things back home for granted and I have a new perspective of what is the really important stuff in life. The homestay helped me grow as a person and I know, we all will be thankful for the amazing experience we had at the homestays and the rest of the trip in general.

I know I have grown so much over these past five weeks I have become more confident in my own skin and I believe in myself more. This trip has been once in a lifetime experience and I will always be thankful for the experience.