Monday, January 30, 2012

40 years in Tanzania

Peace Corps has been working in Tanzania for 40 years (1961 – 2011). That is
 50 years total, but Peace Corps left Tanzania for 10 years and then were re-invited back.  During our conference in November/December, we had a very interesting guest speaker come. 
We met one of the first volunteers to work in Tanzania through Peace Corps.  In fact, he was one of the first Peace Corps volunteers ever.  He showed us a video clip of what training & the Peace Corps used to be like.  It was interesting to see that Peace Corps was very much designed after many of the armed forces.  Volunteers had government-issued uniforms, prior to service, the volunteers endured physical training including ropes courses and endurance tests, and they were taught about Tanzanian culture and Swahili language by colonialists.  During the first year of Peace Corps Tanzania, they had 36 volunteers, now there are about 150.  The man we met was working on the Tanzania roads program with an engineering background as his project.  The first program in Tanzania is very different from what they are today.  The volunteers all had a background in either engineering, geology, or surveying to teach Tanzanians on how to continue building roads when the British colonialists left.  Now, the volunteers here work in Education (teaching sciences, mathematics, English, or ICT), health (focusing mostly on HIV/AIDS and Malaria), or environmental concerns (such as safe drinking water).  It was very interesting to hear his story and promising to hear that he feels 50 years later that his time here did make a bit of a difference.  He is still involved in helping Tanzania and you can see more about how you can help through .

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