First thing's first, always expect the unexpected - karibuni Tanzania! Before arivining in Tanzania for this semester, I had never left the United States, let alone stayed with a host family, so I truly had no idea what I would be getting myself into this month. Throughout the semester I always knew November 3rd would eventually come, but it always remained just an afterthought. I guess I was too busy eating Mama Iringa's and having unforgettable memories in Zanzibar. Then, the night before we'd be moving in with our host families, all I found myself thinking was "this is really about to happen!"
From November 3rd to December 1st I will be living in Tanzania's Kidete village of the Mufindi district. I have made it through my first week, and I have been pleasantly surprised with life here. Everyday is a different experience with new life lessons. These are a few of the things I have learned so far:
Go With the Flow: Village life can be kind of slow at times - in the most positive way possible, though. For me, being a college student in Washington D.C. means life is always moving fast. I am always on "go." So, living in the village has forced me to slow down. I have so much time to read for fun now! As I said earlier, everyday in the village is different. There's no telling whether you'll spend your evenings dancing with a dozen village children or walking 30 minutes just to see a friend, so just go with the flow!
Don't Hold on to Fear: More than anything else, being in the village has truly shown how much my classmates and I are here for each other. The biggest fear I had coming to the village was that waking up to my new family would be so awkward, but that first morning there was my classmates who are also staying in Kidete - aka the "Village Squad" - already checking on each other. With a great support system amongst classmates and all the pleasant surprises village life holds, there is no room for fear!
Embrace Your Time in the Village: As one of my favorite Tanzanian proffessors this semester loves to say, "life is too short!" That being said, I am learning to truly be present. One of my favorite pastimes here, so far, has been just sitting outside on Kidete's main road and just taking in all of the beautiful nature. I don't know if/when I will have another experience like I'm having here in the village, so embracing my time here is a must.