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!


Friday, 7 June 2019

Tanzanian Festivals and Food

This week was the end of Ramadan and the Eid holiday. Although not every Tanzanian is Muslim, Eid is a two-day national holiday celebrated by all. Prayer calls from mosques continued all day and through the night. Many people wore traditional robes and hats, and more food was out in the streets. We had half days of work to enjoy the holiday with the Tanzanian team. Barbecues, ice cream and many walks to town were involved. 

On the topic of food, Tanzania has two main staples; rice and ugali. Ugali is a cornmeal dough that is used as a spoon to pick up other smaller dishes. Beans are a common protein we eat in the house. Chicken is served once a week by our mama but many barbecues serve pork or beef, as chicken is more expensive. Beware for many bones and pieces of fat. Many tropical fruits like mangoes, passion fruit, guava, papaya and avocados can be found. This week our mama pressed fresh mango/avocado/passion fruit juice that was absolutely delicious. We were also able to try fresh coconuts from our tree. Our watchman climbed to the top of palm tree to pick them up! For vegetables we usually have kachumbari (a tomato salad), peas or spinach. Some authentic dishes we love are sweet chapatis, sambusas and chips mayai (a combination of french fries and fried eggs)! 

Coconut from our tree                                       BBQ pork   


Monday, 3 June 2019


Every weekend holds a new surprise in this internship. On Saturday's we work half days and we have the whole day off on Sunday. Our first weekend we attended our mama's daughter's birthday, and had the best chocolate cake ever! On our second weekend, we had a fun dance party in our backyard. Our lot this year has a ton of room for activities and we were lucky to have big speakers from one of the Tanzanian team members. Although we danced it out in pouring rain, it was definitely a night to remember! On that Sunday we were also very fortunate to be invited to one of the Tanzanian member's relatives house for dinner. We finished off the day with classic milkshakes from a Western restaurant, called Suzy's. The third weekend was filled with outings. We had a team social with the Tanzanian team at a barbecue restaurant that had an adjacent dance floor. Since we only get meat once a week, the team all enjoyed having soft chicken skewers that were doused in a delicious sauce. As Sunday's are mama's day off, we decided to make our own guacamole. Our backyard has tons of fruit trees. I was surprised to find out we had a mandarin tree when I went to go pick out what I thought was limes for the guac. For dinner some of the team went out for an Indian dinner (that was worth the wait) and others went swimming at the beautiful Nashera hotel pool and had a barbecued kilo of pork! 

One thing that can't be missed, are the continuous gorgeous walks we go on!


Friday, 31 May 2019

Living in Tanzania

This year our house is situated a 15-20 minute walk from the town of Morogoro. We are on flat land so getting to town is absolutely no problem and beautiful views exist in all directions. In addition, small food stands are only a couple minutes away. Our house is very spacious with a living room and three bathrooms! The showers are cold and we do our laundry by hand (we have makeshift clothing lines inside the house to dry our clothes when it rains.) The kettle is our only electronic appliance for the kitchen. We also live in the same compound as some of the Tanzanian team. Breakfast and dinner are cooked by our mama. Some common foods we eat are rice and beans. Friday's are definitely one to look forward to because we get chicken for dinner! We prepare lunches by ourselves and because of the convenience of the markets we eat fruits (lots of mangoes), PB&J sandwiches and even instant noodles. One thing to watch out for is using clean water. Everyone this summer drinks bottled water and we wash our dishes in boiled water.

- Palehswan