Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Interns Turned Story Writers


After a few weeks of more bonding, WASH planning, Swahili lessons and informative feedback, the team has been busy. Our favourite, Madame Jane, brought out the creativity in us.  The interns -now turned story writers- have come up with engaging & intriguing scenarios for our WASH evaluation. Other than the regular shmegular (but very important) student questionnaires, the scenarios give the students a fun way to portray their WASH curriculum retention. Just as we were in 7th grade, the attention span of preteens don’t have the best track record, which is why a storytime scenario situation will be perfect for engagement. With the WASH evaluation well on its way, we will shift our focus to our new menstrual hygiene project! The team helped Anastasia’s brilliant idea of making a dedicated infographic instagram post for world menstrual health day, which enabled us to gather some background knowledge useful for our upcoming project.

In other news, the current SIHA interns have been exploring executive positions for the upcoming year with help from the current execs. To say that we are excitedly inspired would be an understatement. In hopes to achieve our goals, the team has been hopping into various different fundraising ideas such as a bottle drive, makeup master class, cooking with me’s, and of course, the silent auction. 

The drive (not the google drive, but it’s okay because we’re fixing that!) within the team is still going at an upwards trajectory, and we are more than excited to be beginning our new project :)

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

SIHA: A Pandemic Perspective

In spite of the fact that we are in 2021 as of now, the Year 2020 (which would make for an incredible movie or documentary) continues to haunt us. Giving off total he who shall not be named vibes. The unprecedented turn of events resulted in SIHA going fully virtual. From all the SIHA 101’s, group bonding sessions, and now the actual internship (rip our 2021 Tanzania trip), Google Meet has been our saviour. Unfortunately, time zones and wifi connections have been somewhat villainous. Despite that, the game and wine nights make up for it!  Though we all have yet to meet in person, the team this year have become a tight-knit group - all from behind a screen! 

Anthony, our Project Manager, and supposed up and becoming artist, keeps us on track and gives us some laughs. Our charming and hilarious In-Country Representatives consist of Charles, MK, Pilly and Pastone (aka the Skinny Legend, or mwembamba in Swahili). They are the joy in all our meetings. Sunny and Jenna are the lead interns, or as Anthony likes to say “pseudo-interns or whatever”. They always keep the conversation fun and interesting by giving us great stories and advice based on their life experiences (LOL) all while directing us amateur interns on how to go about... basically everything. Now, us “amateurs” are a passionate group of five women (the new famous five 👀 ??) consisting of Akanksha, Anastasia, Ellen, Samina and myself, Sadika. Though we are new to all this, we work great together and are crazy excited to be on the team.  

Our goals as the International Team are primarily focused on two things. Firstly, we wish to continue the WASH Program, which provides children in Tanzania with education regarding water, sanitation and hygiene based on a curriculum we have developed. Our second goal is to initiate and implement a Menstrual Hygiene Program, which would involve also developing a curriculum catered towards the children. This program aims to not only spread awareness regarding menstrual hygiene, but to also disengage from the taboo regarding menstruation. 

We are also working on things aside from these projects such as organizing our google drive, revamping our social media platforms and most importantly, bringing a joke of the day to the meetings (thanks for the pressure Charles!).

Friday, 19 July 2019

2019 Favorite Moments and Memories

The 2019 International Travel Team has reached the end of their 9 week internship in Morogoro, Tanzania. As a closing to the 2019 blogs, here are each of the team members favourite moments and memories!

"One of my favourite moments during the internship is going on walks and exploring the streets of Morogoro after work, whether that be walking to town for ice cream or getting chips mayai at the market. Another highlight of the internship was the team retreat to Zanzibar! The seafood was to die for 😍😍😍 But beware of the sea urchins, very ouch!" - Janina

"I really enjoyed interacting with the Tanzanian staff, falling in love with Swahili hits and eating lots of chipsi. A highlight of the internship was meeting with different NGOs and other stakeholders where I learned a lot about culture differences and reasons underlying many health-related issues in Tanzania. Out of the office I loved all of the socials we had from many card games, to dance nights.😂" - Palehswan

"So grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Tanzania. We were welcomed with open arms and made to feel like we were part of a family. I'll never forget the generosity and compassion of URDI and the people of Morogoro. I can't wait to return next year as a PM for the 2020 ITT! Kwaheri Bitch!" - Anthony

"Everyone in Tanzania has made us feel so welcome here throughout the summer. Morogoro is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and I feel so privileged to have had this opportunity. One of the things I won't forget will be the beautiful (but long) hikes up the mountains. It was definitely weird being around mountains that weren't covered in snow, but there was such amazing scenery and views. I'm so happy I made the decision to intern with SIHA and I couldn't imagine a better way to have spent my summer!" - Kyle

"This time in Tanzania has been so enriching. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to come, interact with a new culture and find new friends that became family. This country is gorgeous and has so much to offer. I have loved working with our Tanzanian team in Morogoro. They work so hard and are the most genuine people! Also, they taught us Swahili things. So that's fresh kichizi kama ndizi. Everything considered (including cold showers and strange insects), would 10/10 recommend!" - Rachel

"While Tanzania had so many amazing things to offer, from beautiful mountains and beaches to fresh seafood and a completely different cultural experience, it was definitely the Tanzanian team and the other local Tanzanians we met along the way who made the trip for me. The kindness and generosity of Tanzanian people is unlike anything I have encountered before. We all felt so well-cared for by our Tanzanian family, and had so much fun with them for the nine weeks we were here. Asante sana URDI team!!" - Sarah

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Hiking and Volunteering!

This Saturday, two of our international members, Sarah and Rachel, represented SIHA in a volunteer trip with Tengeneza Generation (TEG.) They hiked to Morningside, an old German Colonial house, then to Choma Falls where they helped to plant trees. After they camped the night! They had a lot of fun interacting with locals and networking with members of TEG.

On Sunday, Kyle, Anthony and Palehswan, did a 10 hour hike to Bondwa peak. Although they had hiked on the cloudiest day in Morogoro, it was still a worthwhile experience to be able to hike through the clouds and different African vegetation.

In the office we are preparing SIHA 101's for next year's team and writing the final report of the summer!

Outside of the office, some of the teams' hobbies throughout the summer have been going on walks (we love to explore all the streets of Morogoro), reading (the SIHA office has a small book exchange), and spending time with the Tanzanian team. Occasionally we will walk to town to fulfill ice cream cravings and if we have extra data left we will have movie nights!

- Palehswan

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Tanzanian Weddings and Insight into our Community Work!

This past weekend the International Team was fortunate to be able to attend our In-country Representative, Charles', wedding! It was amazing to experience the culture of Tanzanian weddings where lots of dancing and singing took place in both the church and the reception. 

In the week we were able to get out of the office with two big meetings with an international and a local non-governmental organization. We met with Save the Children, the lead organization of a nutrition project by USAID, to discuss forming a partnership and Tengeneza Generation organization to increase our community volunteering through their tree-planting projects. 

We have also began taking on tasks of our future executive roles and planning our recruitment to welcome new interns for next year!

 In this picture, the skirts are made out of a special Tanzania fabric, Kitenga, and were hand-tailored. 


Friday, 28 June 2019

Team Retreat to Zanzibar!

After half of our summer internship, we decided to head to Zanzibar, an island off of Tanzania, for a team bonding week-long retreat! We took many forms of transportation (buses, ferries, etc.) to reach Zanzibar and it was all worth the trip.

We spent the first half of our time in Stone Town, a beautiful area with white buildings, lots of shopping and good food. In Stone Town, we took a boat to smaller islands like Prison Island, where we visited a tortoise sanctuary, Bawe Island, where we went snorkeling, and Nakupenda beach, where an accidental sea urchin incident occurred. As Zanzibar was very touristy, we were able to satisfy many cravings for Western food and we got to experience unique seafood at night markets! At Emerson Spice House restaurant we had an amazing rooftop five course seafood dinner, while watching the sunset. We went on a spice tour the following day; smelling and tasting many spices and fruits, eating a local lunch, and hanging out on the beach.

Our next half of our Zanzibar vacation took place on the East Coast in Paje. We roomed in cute huts with sand all around and enjoyed relaxing on hammocks out on the beach, tanning, having fresh fruit drinks and swimming in the vast ocean. We also had amazing fresh seafood from the local catch of the day!

In addition, throughout our trip we had some interesting encounters with locals. The locals absolutely loved it when we spoke Swahili, as not many tourists there did. There were also a lot of locals that tried to sell us things so we had to learn to steer away from scammers and bargain when we can.

Overall, Zanzibar was a wonderful trip to have some time away from the office and get to know each other even better!


Friday, 14 June 2019

Hike to Choma Falls and Swahili Progress!

This past Sunday was definitely the best by far of the internship. The International Team hiked to Choma Falls with our in-country representative, Charles! It was a great team bonding experience. The views kept improving as we hiked farther up and although it was hot, the team was able to cool off in the waterfalls at the top. We finished the day off at a restaurant called Red Chili where we had pizza very similar from back home!

This week, we also had a Swahili test! 2-3 times a week, our in-country volunteer, Pastone, has been teaching us Swahili. Being able to live in a country where Swahili is the primary language has benefited our learning all around as we are able to use Swahili to have basic conversations with locals and buy things at the market.

As we have hit the mid-summer point, in the office we have been working on our mid-summer report for the Board of Governors. We also visited government officials to kick start a malnutrition project!