Back in November 2015, I have made a decision now I see is a life changing one: coming to Tanzania for a three-month internship. To be honest, before I came, I didn’t have a single idea about how Tanzania is like and how life would be in Tanzania, and I was a bit worried about cultural shock. But then it turns out that I adapt here very well for all the people are so welcoming and friendly and I have met many other volunteers and interns whom I could share things with. Only one thing which took me some times to get used to is the ‘pole pole’ culture here; no rush, no hurry. It is normal to wait for things to happen in Tanzania, which is very different from Hong Kong (where I come from), while that is a place which is always busy and fast. I was quite struggled with this, especially while working that you have to put more efforts to make things happen. But now, I have already got used to this culture, while life back in Hong Kong is already that busy, why not slowing down myself a bit and embracing the difference here. Just to be ‘Hakuna Matata’ (worries free), it is not only a song that sung in movie Lion King, but in fact it is the mentality here, enjoy your life and keep no worries!
My main work in Art in Tanzania was mainly on marketing the Asian markets, managing the tourism documents and trip writing. Because of my work area, I even had chances to visit Zanzibar, join different tours and go on safaris; all these experiences have become the highlights of my time in Tanzania and made my stay here more incredible.
In Art in Tanzania, I had a lot of freedom on how to manage my work, in which had given me flexibility on my working scopes and hours. That’s why sometimes I decided to do my work later that day and go to visit the nursery and schools. I am glad that I did that as those visits have really opened my eyes and allowed me to know more about this country, especially in the education aspect. It also allowed me to get away from the office for a while to get some fresh air.
The living condition in the volunteer compound is very basic, with only dry toilet and bucket water for daily use and washing. Although it sounds quite inconvenient with facilities like these, this volunteer compound is the pilot project to promote ecological building and living and share the environmental messages among the neighbourhood and I can be more environmentally responsible to this area during my study. Apart from the volunteers who are working here, there are some local people helping to manage the compound, Mama Neema the kitchen lady, John the gardener, John and George the bartenders, it was nice meeting them all and they were one important factor that has made me fall in love in this place.
While weekdays were all about work, weekends were the time that we could relax ourselves from work. Beaches are our favourite option to cool ourselves down from the heat here. We also had special activities, such as football games, movies, day-trips, house party, birthday party and many more. Now I am on my last day here in Tanzania, three-month is not a long time, but it has definitely changed my perspective to this lovely country. A lot has happened and my eyes are widely opened. There were so much unknown before I came here, and now I have no regrets of spending my time here. Don’t let uncertainty and worry hold yourself back, make a move and you will find that you can achieve way more than you thought!