Tanzania has touched all the cadets in many different ways. Lt. Col. Kenric Smith asked us to keep a journal and write about specific events that have stood out while at the schools or around the community. Here’s what some of us have written:
Devin Borland: “At the schools I really had to be persistent with many of the kids. It is hard to come into class with a lot of energy and try to be interesting to have the students be unresponsive until you put in a lot of persistence and effort and wouldn’t give up on them. This got tiring after a while because in some cases it would be the same story everyday and was hard to deal with because I wanted to move past it so we could all have a great time. Eventually I had to learn that you can’t save them all and in essence had to put the focus more on the whole rather than the individual to ensure everyone else was getting the education they desired.”
Phil Pointkowski: “Some of the students are skeptical of us being here. They sometimes use out-of-context historical examples to make the U.S look bad, and claim we are brainwashing them. In response, I have tried to explain that we are here only to help, and to actually learn from them, too. I also bring up commonalities between the U.S and Tanzania, which I have found really helps in connecting with the students.
Chris Lamoureux wrote: “We have been teaching at the schools for two weeks now. I thought the city people were great, but now I know the students are great too! All of them are so interested in learning. They are hard working and motivated in their endeavors to learn. Sometimes it’s hard to make connections between Americans and Tanzanians because the two countries are different. However, with the help of my partners we make the most of it and the students love it! Already in the classes I am starting to see a change in the way the students behave. They are becoming more confident and comfortable speaking with us teaching. Cant wait to see what next week has in store for us.”
Kevin Mills wrote: “ On one of the days under the trees we saw some of the kids at Jitegemee playing what looked like checkers. We went over and watched for a little bit and then they asked if we wanted to play. The rules were a little different, and I lost, but it was still an incredible experience, it showed how even if you don’t speak the language, you can communicate through other means, like games. In one of the classes we taught, the kids asked Olivia and I to sing the national anthem. We sang the first portion, sounding like tone-deaf terrible singers. After that we then asked the girl to sing the Tanzanian National Anthem. She sang a few verses, and after that then more and more kids joined in until eventually, the entire class was singing to us. It was such an amazing experience because it was almost like something out of a movie. It is also a prime example of the national pride that so many people have here.”
That is only a peak at some of the occurrences and lessons that the cadets here in Tanzania have experienced. The students at each school have touched our lives, and we will forever remember our CULP deployment to this beautiful country.
One Team, One Mission, Cadets of Team Six
Davila, Pointkowski, Spieker, Webster, Caudill, Mangen, Borland, Lamoureux, Mills, Daigle and Wood